for Online Empires

A Sequence Of Online Tools

Every business needs tools to work. However, online businesses are created differently. I’ve gained a lot of insight from consulting online business owners for over a decade. The right sequence is crucial.

You don’t need a fancy website and marketing from the word go. You don’t need to sign up for your free trial of ClickFunnels today. (It’s going to just sit there while you are still trying to figure out what to build.) You also don’t need everything on this list. You’ll need to experiment and customize your selection of tools based on your business. Find where you are in the sequence. Ignore items not in the sequence you are in.

When businesses fail, it’s often because they lack the right kind of focus at the right time. The following is a proven sequence and the tools needed at each phase.

TL;DR? Check out my Top 3 Tools.

business sequence

1. Ideate

Opportunity research and market-generated ideas for solutions.

  • Forums – Facebook Groups, Quora, Reviews, Comments, etc.
  • Observations & F2F interviews – Connect with your target market via Zoom.
  • Keyword Research – Most searched keywords for niche
  • eCourse Sites – Udemy, SkillShare, Teachable, etc
  • Kindle Store (eBooks north of 150K in Amazon Best Sellers Rank)
  • Idea Testing Tool –  Value Proposition Canvas
  • 1st Phase Business Model Canvas (The Lean Canvas) + Ibis World

2. Validate

Tools to prove your business is in demand. Solution validation.

  • Offer Testing Tool – Flauntly, Card, QuickMVP,  Launchrock, etc.
  • Facebook Ads For Pre-Sales – Test offers and pricing. Get my Facebook Funnel.
  • Crowdsourcing Tools – Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, CrowdRise, RocketHub, CauseVox, etc.
  • Clickfunnels – The Industry leader for Landing Pages that easily converts a visitor to a prospect or buyer. Use to build email list and pre-sell programs.
  • Final Surveys – Google Forms, Typeform, etc.
  • FB Business Page – Do not make a website yet! Use FB instead to join groups, network, find pains, etc.
  • FB Ad Workflow – Are you a SMMA business? Download my entire workflow process.

3. Generate

Tools to innovate and create your products/services.

  • Outsourcing – Hire makers and your virtual staff from Upwork, Freelancer, etc.
  • Screenflow – The best Mac-only video editing software. Great for YouTube and eCourses.
  • Scrivener  – Great for writing eBooks, long posts, and eCourse curriculum.
  • NameCheap – Register a website URL/domain name.
  • WordPress – WordPress.Org (not .com) for free content management software. AKA, your website.
  • Dreamhost – Choose Shared Unlimited plan: pay the same price for hosting unlimited websites.
  • WP Engine – A robust WordPress-only host with impressive security, uptime, and maintenance features.
  • WordPress Plugins – Get my To 25 plugins I use on all my sites.
  • Teachable – Hosts your online courses and integrates payments.
  • WebinarJam – Webinar software to convert attendees to course upsells.
  • SignRequest – Digital document signature software (legal contracts and other forms).
  • Online Payment Processing – Stripe, PayPal, Square, etc.
  • Design Specialists (Upwork99Designs, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, etc)
  • IncFile – Create an LLC (business entity) in minutes and cheaply. Get your tax EIN free.

4. Circulate

Tools to promote, market, and deliver value.

  • Facebook Ads – Get My Go-To Facebook Funnel Free.
  • Digital Delivery Platforms – CMS’ like WordPress or Squarespace for 1st company website, Teachable or Thinkific for eCourses, Gumroad, Etsy, etc
  • Shopify – eCommerce the easy way.
  • Marketing Platforms – Facebook Ads, Email, Raffle Copter, etc
  • Webinar Software – WebinarJam
  • Freshbooks – An easy way to automate bookkeeping and invoicing.
  • Zoom – Best software for meetings and video coaching.

5. Automate

Tools to scale your business and improve operations.

  • GetResponse – Easy email auto-responder with the clearest user-interface.
  • MailerLite – Basic email auto-responder, but lacking in integration with other programs.
  • Social Media Automation (Buffer, HootSuite, GetZood, etc)
  • Billing Invoicing And Tracking – FreshbooksWave, etc
  • Appointment Setting – CalendlySimplyBookMe, etc
  • Business Manager Software – Dubasdo or 17Hats | All-In-One online business management software. Includes CRM, invoices, payments, time-tracking, contracts, workflow, etc.
  • Zapier – Helps you connect apps and automates workflow.
  • Miscellaneous used with the previous phase too: CoSchedule, IFTTT, Typeform, NordVPN

Time Management

  • Calendly – Easy and aesthetic appointment setter. Integrates with my calendar with automatic reminders. (Basic is free)
  • WorldTimeBuddy – The best way to align potential times for international meetings. (free)
  • CheckVist – Where I make all my lists, brainstorms, etc. I love the “om” function for writing. (free)
  • Trello – Visual online collaboration made easy and fun. I use this every day! (free)
  • Process.St – Brilliant workflow management and task sequencing tool.
  • Pipefy – Simple sales lead sourcing and follow-up tool.


  • Blue Yeti USB Mic – One of the best microphones out there for the money.
  • Softbox Lighting Kit – Versatile lighting kit for all your videos/vlogs/courses.
  • Selfie Stick – Great stick with a Bluetooth clicker.
  • Macbook (Gold, 12″) – My 2nd favorite Apple product. Great for travel. Discontinued?
  • iMac (21.5″) – Where all the course-creation and video editing magic happens.
  • External Hard Drive – Backup your entire computer. 2 terabytes.
  • Logitech Webcam – High definition webcam for videos and client conferencing.
  • AirPods – My favorite Apple product. Great for interviews, podcasts, etc.
  • iPhone – Mobile video shoots.