Within hours of reading this issue of Profitable, you’re going to have all the tech needed to start your online course business:
- A hosted website
- An email marketing service
- A virtual store with payment processing
- And more
By making it ridiculously easy for you.
I’m going to eliminate — not add to — your analysis paralysis by giving you the absolute bare amount of info.
In a world where every article on Google and video on YouTube is dense and PACKED with information…
I’m going to give you the bare minimum.
The Paradox of Choice is Roundhouse Kicking Your Entrepreneurial Dreams in the Face
In a vacuum, having lots and lots of options sounds great.
But in reality?
It’s a momentum killer.
The more options, the more things to consider. The more pros and cons to weigh. The more reasons to put things off so you’ll have “more time to make an informed decision.”
And this is especially true with your “tech stack” — the tools and apps used to run an online business.
Which web host to use? There are literally hundreds of companies, each with several packages to choose from.
How about WordPress themes? There are thousands of those. Or email marketing services? Or lead generation tools? Or…?
This is why budding entrepreneurs get analysis paralysis and never take action. Too many choices.
So, there will be none of that here…
No giving you two (or more) options when one will do just fine.
No advanced tools you’ll need “someday” (but not today).
If you want to start an online business, whether it’s selling courses, memberships, physical products, or anything else…
These are the 5 tools (yes — you only need five) to grab for your starter tech stack:
1. Carrd: Your Website and a Place to Host it (All in One)
Don’t let the strange name fool you…
Carrd.co (aff) is a Swiss Army Knife. It bundles several tools you’ll need into one.
With it, you don’t have to worry about choosing between WordPress and another content management system.
You don’t have to choose a theme or page builder.
You don’t even have to pick a web hosting company.
Carrd handles all of it for you, and if you’re content with basic features, it can do it for free.
But if you want to upgrade (and you should if you’re serious about your online business), a “pro” account is only $19 per year.
Not $19 per month — $19 per year.
Unless you already have a website, sign up for a Carrd Pro account.
2. SendFox: A Simple Email Marketing Service to Get You Started
With SendFox (aff), a lifetime account (as in you pay it once and it’s yours forever) is only $49.
True, some big names like Mailchimp and ConvertKit offer free plans…
But if you want something as simple as an automated “welcome email” when someone subscribes to your email list, these free offerings will leave you wanting.
Plus, if you’ve never used an email marketing platform before, you’ll need a compass and a roadmap to find your way around.
SendFox is simpler.
And by the time you’ve outgrown it, you’ll be an email marketing guru ready to tackle the ConvertKits of the world.
If you don’t already have an email marketing service, sign up for a $49 SendFox account.
Bonus: SendFox plays nice with Carrd, so you can connect a SendFox form to your website and collect email leads without any extra tool or app.
3. Gumroad: A Virtual Storefront to Sell Things
If you have an online business, you have something to sell.
Since you’re a Profitable reader, most likely it’s an online course. But maybe it’s an eBook or membership subscription. Or maybe it’s coaching or consulting. It could even be a physical product of some kind.
Whatever it is, you need a way to sell it…
You need a way for people to click a link — either from your website or email — and BUY your thing.
Gumroad makes that possible.
And get this…
What they do is take a 10% cut of the sales you make.
Make a $100 sale? Gumroad gets $10 of it.
No sales? You don’t pay them a thing.
It’s the perfect arrangement when you’re getting started.
Create a free Gumroad account.
And, after you’ve added a product to it, follow these steps to connect Gumroad with Carrd.
(Need course ideas to sell? Jon broke down the process he uses in an earlier newsletter. You can read it here.)
4. Stripe: A Payment Processor That’ll Grow With You
If you want to be paid when someone buys your product on Gumroad, you need a payment processor.
Stripe is arguably the biggest player in the space.
It’s what we use.
Accounts are free, but Stripe takes a 2.9% (plus 30 cents) cut of every successful credit card charge.
So, if you sold a $100 product, Stripe would get $3.20 of it.
Are there payment processors out there with lower rates?
But do you want to trust a no-name with your payments? A potential fly-by-night company that might go the way of the dodo at some point?
Don’t overthink it. Sign up for Stripe.
Then you can follow these instructions to connect Stripe to your Gumroad account.
5. X/Twitter: The One Social Media Platform to Focus On
This one’s a bit of a cheat…
Do you need to be on X/Twitter or any other social platform in order to start your online business?
No, of course not — not unless social media IS your business.
But I’m including it for a reason…
And it’s to tell you this:
Pick one platform. Just one.
Don’t think you have to “be everywhere” on social media — not when you’re getting started.
Because you know what will happen?
Yep, you’ll be overwhelmed with choices.
If you think you have to be on Instagram and X/Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook and Pinterest and…
…you won’t bother with any of them.
Wouldn’t you rather be really freaking good at one social platform than utterly mediocre at several (because your attention is divided)?
If you know your ideal customer uses a particular platform, let it be your one.
If you don’t know where your customers live, go with X/Twitter.
It’s the easiest to use and easiest to learn.
When you’re starting out, focus on ONE social media platform.
If your audience lives on a particular platform, focus on it. If they don’t, or if you’re not sure, focus on X/Twitter.
Clarity… Isn’t it Nice?
Sometimes, you just need a little nudge…
A helpful hand from people who’ve been in the game for a while, who know which tools are needed, and which ones aren’t.
In this newsletter, we haven’t shared anything that’s magical or profound.
All we’ve really done is eliminate options for you…
But that’s the trick…
By eliminating them, we’ve given you a clear path.
You now know what to do.
You know which tools you need to grab and — more importantly — you know which tools you can ignore (at least for now).
Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
The Best Links:
- The Ultimate Facebook Ads Targeting Tutorial in 2023
- How to make your first $10,000 from a newsletter (even if you’ve never made a penny online before)
- 4 Minutes to Better Followers (and customers)
- How to Get Rich [Full Interview with Dave Ramsey]
- How To Be More Productive Than 99% Of People & How To Get Out Of A Rut
Your Next Steps:
This newsletter’s aim was to provide clarity so you can take a BIG step forward, but if you’re still struggling, it would actually be a wise investment to pay someone to look over everything for you. If you’d like to do that, book a consulting call with Jon here.
Otherwise, I have a favor to ask:
If you got value from this, and you know anyone who is interested in starting an online business, please let them know about it by using the “share” buttons to the right (if you’re on desktop) or below (if you’re on mobile).
The more referrals we get, the more awesome content we can publish.
On behalf of Jon,
Kevin J. Duncan