A curated list of the apps, services, and products I recommend to build a thriving creative business.
Expert bookkeeping and tax prep, all in one place.
If you're looking to hire a professional bookkeeper at a price you can afford, look no further. Bench also gives you powerful financial reporting with zero learning curve.
Everything you need to run your freelance business.
Bonsai is the swiss army knife of your business. From proposals to contracts to invoices, they've got you covered. Great for both small business and those looking to scale.
Keep life organized and work moving—all in one place.
Free for 2GB
Dropbox gives you secure access to all your files. Collaborate with friends, family, and coworkers from any device. Enough said.
Great writing, simplified.
I use Grammarly for everything, including writing my newsletter and blog posts. Their Chrome extension is great, too.
It's time for easier, modern payroll.
If you're a small business owner with a few employees, payroll can be hard. Gusto takes the hard work out of the process and makes it easy. They can even help with benefits.
Time tracking software for those who value insight.
Free for one seat
I've used Harvest for ages. They're a solid, one-off app to track your time. If you' aren't using something more integrated like Bonsai, I highly recommend you give Harvest a try.
The power of cloud computing with simplicity of shared hosting.
Since switching to Hosinger, I've experienced superior site performance built on top of Google Cloud. Without a doubt, this is the best price I've seen on a dedicated Google Cloud server.
Where distributed teams get work done.
Free for one seat
The online collaborative whiteboard platform that brings people together. Miro's great for jamming on quick ideas or sketching up quick wires with your distributed team.
Get secure and private access to the internet.
I've been a NordVPN customer for years. I use it on all of my devices — laptop, iPad, and iPhone. They're interface is intuitive and fits seamlessly into my Apple ecosystem.
A better way to communicate.
Limited free plan
Slack has been a staple of my day-to-day productivity for a long time now. And with the free plan, you can spin up new channels whenever you want and get great features out of the box.
By far my favorite email app.
Limited free plan
Spark is an elegant and robust email app for Mac. There are tons of cool features like gestures, templates, calendars, and more. Their iPhone app is great, too.
Finding the next big thing just got a lot easier.
I found Trends through the My First Millions podcast and recently joined. They have a ton of exclusive content, including a secret podcast. Shhhh!
Designed to earn you more.
0.25% on all AUM
I moved away from traditional financial advisors and moved my money to Wealthfront last year. Definitely one of the best financial decisions (besides Bitcoin) I've made.
Free for personal
I use Notion for everything — personal, professional, whatever. It's my go-to organization and planning tool, as well as a great place to bookmark interesting links when doing research for new articles and content.
Be focused and make things easier.
Limited free plan
I love working in a Pomodoro timing environment, and this app gives me the best of both worlds. I can capture my to-dos across devices and use the timer to allocate sessions. Worth the money.
A simiple color picker tool.
As a designer, I often need to grab a hex color from the screen and take it into code. ColorSnapper 2 makes that easy, plus you can organize and export precise color values of any pixel on the screen.
Capture your Mac's screen like a pro.
I started using Cleanshot X as an alternative to Cloud App. The interface is well designed and it's super easy to record your screen. The only downside is the links only last 30 days, but the developer says unlimited storage is coming soon.
Earn a living as a creator.
Free for 1,000 subscribers
ConvertKit's marketing software is great for creators who want to add automation and commerce to their newsletters. A lot of great features for the money — highly recommend.
Create professional and responsive email templates fast.
Free for one seat
I've been using Stripo for a while now, and I have to say, they really do make email building easy. Their editor is best-in-class and they integrate with all of the major email marketing software. 10/10.
An on-demand font service designed by creatives, for creatives.
Fonts vary in price
Whenever I'm looking for typography, Monotype is one of the first places I go. Their library is vast and their licensing is simple and straight-forward.
Create forms and surveys that people enjoy answering.
Limited free plan
I've been using Typeform for years. Whenever I need so spin up a questionairre for my audience, the first place I go is Typeform. Besides looking great, they have in-depth reporting that helps you make informed decisions with your data.
Design & Dev
Dozens of web development tools in one fully-native Mac app.
CodeKit has become my defactor app when I'm building sites. It takes out the hassle of grunting and gulping and leaves you with squeaky clean code that just works.
Figma helps teams create, test, and ship better designs from start to finish.
Free for two seats
There's simply no better collaborative design platform available right now. Figma let's you design in the browser or via native app — all while keeping your components well managed and up to date.
Focus on what matters instead of fighting with Git.
Github simplifies your development workflow by making versioning a breeze. It looks great and just works.
Local by Flywheel
A fuss-free way to develop WordPress locally.
Back in the day, I used MAMP to manage my local site environment. Since finding Local, I've never looked back. Installing a new WordPress instance is dead simple — and Local keeps all of your sites organized and neat so there's no confusion.
Create an ecommerce website backed by powerful tools.
I've recently started dipping my toe into building for Shopify and it's been eye opening. They have a lot of tools at your disposal and have really become the best way to get your store online fast.
Home & Office
Transform your WFH space.
I've been using the Autonomous SmartDesk 2 for a few years now — and I'll never go back to a traditional desk again. Having the option to stand to do my work has been a game changer for me, and I think you'll agree.
The small, yet powerful smart assistant.
I have several Amazon Echo products in my house (ok, fine — way too many). The one in my office is hooked up to my powered speakers which streams Spotify to keep me in the zone all day.
The brains of the operation.
The MacBook Pro has been my daily driver for years now. I love the power and portability, although most days I have it hooked up to my 27" LG UltraFine 4K Display.
LG 27" UltraFine 4K Display
Hands down the best monitor I've ever owned.
This display definitely lives up to the hype. It's beautiful, 27" screen makes my MacBook Pro's retina display look subpar. Definitely the best purchase of the year (so far) for productivity.
The perfect office companion.
I've really fallen in love with my iPad Pro. I use it to take notes, to draw, to write — it's really become a fun alternative to my laptop.
The standard for how digital writing should feel.
The Apple Pencil is one of those incredible devices you have to experience to appreciate. It makes drawing and note taking on my iPad an absolute joy.
Another magical device in the Apple ecosystem.
I use my Airpods all day. I'm constantly taking calls, having meetings on Zoom, and listening to podcasts — and they never seem to run out of charge.
Synology NAS DS281+
The hub for my digital entertainment.
I picked up the DS281+ in 2020 so I would have a place to store my media collection. It's been rock-solid, I can't recommend this 2-bay NAS enough.
P.F. Candle Co.
The perfect fragrances for creativity.
These candles fill my office with mild, but distinct scents — definitely helps me get into my creative zone. My current favorite is Teakwood and Tobacco.
A unique way to capture ideas.
I use my iPad a lot for sketching out ideas, but when I feel like getting my ideas out on paper, the Panobook Notebook is my go to. Also, the pages are dotted which makes it ideal for wireframing.
Stay hydrated in style.
I'm a stickler about hydration. This 20 oz. Yeti Tumbler keeps my water cold and keeps me from going to fill up every 5 minutes. A must have for your desk.
A peaceful way to start the day.
I've been meditating regularly since 2015. I've tried all the apps, but I started using Calm in 2020 and haven't looked back.
A simple podcast player.
I listen to podcasts every morning while I'm exercising. Overcast makes keeping up with my favorite shows easy with custom speeds, organization, and fast downloads.
This podcast tells the behind-the-scenes stories of some of your favorite startups and companies.
Hosted by four Silicon Valley heavyweights, All-In covers tech, politics, social, economics, and yes, even poker.
Hosted by Emily Thompson, Being Boss is an invaluable resource for creative entrepreneurs looking to build their businesses.
Kelly Vaughn and Rhian Beutler help navigate the e-commerce waters with tips and tricks for growing and scaling your online store.
Invest Like the Best
Patrick O'Shaughnessy talks to folks in the finance and startup spaces while exploring the ideas, methods, and stories that got them to where they are today.
The Kevin Rose Show
This podcast can be a bit sporadic, but it's always worth the wait. Kevin Rose is a startup OG who interviews a wide variety of people.
My First Million
Shaan Puri and Sam Parr spitball and scheme for an hour at a time — they even sometimes have guests on to rack their brains as well.
The Pomp Podcast
Another great podcast on business and investing, Anthony Pompliano always brings the goods.
The Prof G Show with Scott Galloway
Professor Scott Galloway encourages his listeners to "tune in for a no mercy, no malice take on how you can level up your game in the world of business."
Some of the items mentioned above are affiliate-based. That means that I might earn a a few pennies if you end up purchasing something from my list. But keep in mind, I wholeheartedly recommend, trust, and use or have used these apps, services, and products. I know you'll love them, too.