Where You’re Happy With Your Family Time and Your Bank Account
Are you looking for the freedom to spend your time how you want, with a thriving bank account and more time doing what matters most to you?
The resources on this page are tried-and-true tools.
Tools like these helped me:
- pay off nearly $60,000 in debt on two teacher incomes
- save to pay cash for our vehicles
- pay extra on our mortgage (our only debt)
- find work I enjoy so much it doesn’t feel like work
- become a stay-at-home mom
- earn a full-time income from home through freelancing, blogging & book sales
It’s my hope that some of these resources can help you reach your goals too!
Some links below are affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you make a purchase, but it costs you nothing extra. I only recommend things I recommend to my mom, sisters, and BFFs because they read this too!
FAVORITE TOOLS FOR WORKING FROM HOME
Making money from home as efficiently as you can allows you more time to do all those other things you love. These tools are great for:
- Virtual Assistants
- Freelance Writers, Designers, Editors, Etc.
- Remote Workers
Computer screens and phones emit blue lights that can harm your eyes, give you headaches, and prevent you from restful sleep at night. An easy and cheap fix is to wear blue light-blocking glasses. I personally use and recommend these glasses from Amazon. If you need prescription glasses, Zenni Optical is an affordable option, and you can get blue light-blocking prescription lenses. You can read my full Zenni Review to learn more.
Having an awesome website was one of the best things I did when I first started in order to stand out in the crowd of freelance editors. I use SiteGround to host The Common Cents Club (and several other websites) because it’s super easy to install WordPress, customer service is phenomenal, and it doesn’t break the bank. You can get started from $2.99/month.
NameCheap is my go-to place for buying domains that I want to reserve, but I am not ready to design or pay for hosting yet. Your name and your business names are domains you might consider claiming now, even if you’re not ready for a full-blown website yet, just to make sure no one else gets it first.
ConvertKit is a great email service provider if you want to build an email list but aren’t super tech-savvy. ConvertKit is easy to use and you can collect email addresses, deliver freebies, create autoresponders, segment your email list, and provide valuable newsletters to those interested in your subject. One of the top regrets of business owners is not building an email list sooner. Plus, ConvertKit is one of the most popular email providers used by bloggers, so if you’re looking to be a virtual assistant for bloggers, this is a great tool to get familiar with. You can try ConvertKit totally free for 14 days to see if it’s a good fit for you (no credit card required).
FreshBooks is what I use for bookkeeping and invoicing clients. When I first started freelancing I just kept track of my income and expenses in an excel spreadsheet. This was a huge mistake and I paid for it at tax time. After my first self-employed tax season, I started using FreshBooks and it’s been much easier to track everything. If you need basic online software that can automatically pull expenses from your bank account or credit card, and send invoices, check out FreshBooks. You can try it free for a month like I did to see if it’s helpful for you too.
LastPass is a way you can share passwords more securely with teammates and virtual assistants. It’s also a great tool for keeping track of your usernames and passwords for all your different accounts. Many business owners who want to share passwords with teammates without giving away their actual password will use LastPass.
Trello is a free organizational tool that I love. I couldn’t imagine keeping track of everything at work and home without it! From tracking clients you want to pitch to managing tasks to executing projects, Trello is an awesome and free resource. You can create boards for managing your own projects or collaborate with others. This is another common tool that virtual assistants use when they work with businesses.
BEST COURSES FOR VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS AND PROOFREADERS
SavvySystem – Best Course for Virtual Assistants
After personally taking 4 comprehensive courses that teach you how to become a virtual assistant and start your own freelance business online, this one is the best value for your money. It’s extremely comprehensive, easy to follow, and has templates galore to make each step of getting started much easier. It’s loaded with step-by-step video trainings, ongoing coaching calls, job leads, and a private Facebook community for support. Check out my Savvy System Review to learn more about this amazing course.
This is the most comprehensive course for learning how to become a virtual assistant. I've taken several, and I love how this one lays out everything you need to do to start or grow your own virtual assistant business. I highly recommend it.
Fully Booked Virtual Assistant – Cheaper Course for Virtual Assistants
Fully Booked VA is another course I’ve fully reviewed and recommended for those wanting to become virtual assistants. For a smaller investment, you can learn how to start working as a virtual assistant, where to find clients and earn your money back after landing just one client. See how this course compares to several other virtual assistant training courses.
General Proofreading Theory and Practice – Best Course for Proofreaders
Caitlin Pyle is the go-to lady who made it known that you can earn $40,000 or more per year proofreading from home. She shares all her proofreading tips and strategies for finding clients in this step-by-step course. If you want to make extra money from home and you have an eagle eye for typos, this is your go-to course for starting a proofreading business.
TOOLS FOR EDITING, PROOFREADING & WRITING
ProWritingAid is my favorite tool for creating better writing. Whether you plan to write ebooks, blog posts, website copy, course content, or lead magnets, I highly recommend putting your work important work through ProWritingAid. You will learn more than you imagined about your writing style and how to improve it with the in-depth reports from ProWritingAid.
While I use ProWritingAid to help edit longer content, I use Grammarly to proof shorter content. Emails, comments on social media, and even blog posts within WordPress can be proofed by the Grammarly Chrome extension. While it won’t catch all the errors, it’s saved me from a few embarrassing mistakes before so it’s another free tool that can help prevent typos and grammar errors.
BEST CASH BACK APPS FOR SAVING MONEY
Rakuten is my longtime favorite cashback app. You can earn 1-40% cash back for almost anything you buy online. I’ve received checks for over $300 and it is SO easy. I’m not a fan of jumping through a bunch of hoops to save 25¢, so believe me when I say this one is super simple. Check out my full Rakuten Review for everything you need to know to start saving more money. Plus, you can make an easy $10 when you sign up and make your first purchase.
Use the referral code: SBHIWHB to get a free $10 Welcome Bonus. Ibotta is another easy cashback app where you find rebates, snap a picture of your receipt, then earn cashback. You earn money back for buying groceries, toilet paper, diapers, cleaning supplies, sparkling water, beer, wine, and liquor. Make sure you’re getting the most out of Ibotta by reading my Ibotta Review and Hacks.
BEST BUDGETING APPS & TEMPLATES
My Personal Budget Template
Knowing where your money goes is crucial for using money to achieve your goals. Budgeting is the only way my husband and I were able to dig ourselves out of debt, pay cash for our vehicles, put extra toward our mortgage, save for retirement, and afford to be a stay-at-home mom. You can use my budgeting template too. It’s included in the Freebie Library.
If you’re looking for an app rather than a spreadsheet, the EveryDollar is an app to try. The free version is good, but the premium version allows for easier tracking because it connects to your bank account. You can try the Premium version for free for 15 days to see if it makes sticking to a budget easier for you.
BEST CUSTOM DEBT PLAN FOR PAYING OFF DEBT
If you have more student loans than you can handle, or you just want to be sure that you’re on the best path for paying off your student loans, my #1 recommended resource is Travis from Student Loan Planner. He is the only reason I changed my mind to understand why student loan forgiveness is the best choice for some and he knows how to make sure you’re on track to get it. If you have six-figure college debt and are wondering if student loan forgiveness or student loan refinancing is right for you, schedule a call and get a custom Student Loan Plan that suits your unique situation.
BEST DEBT CALCULATORS
When I design Custom Debt Repayment Plans, I use a loan repayment calculator. A calculator like this is how I figured out I could save over $30,000 on my student loans. When you put in your loan amount, interest rate, and length of the loan or monthly payment, you can see how much you will repay in total (principal + interest) as well as how many months it will take you to pay off that debt.
This is similar to a loan calculator in that you insert your debt principal, interest rate, and minimum payment. I like Unbury Me though because I’m a visual person and it gives you an awesome visual of when you will pay off your debt, how much interest you will pay, and how much you will repay in total. You can play with debt avalanche versus debt snowball methods as well as extra monthly payment amounts to see how that affects your debt payoff and find the best method for your situation.
BEST BOOKS TO GET OUT OF DEBT
This book shows how real people who earn modest incomes dig out of debt. I share my journey tackling college debt on a teacher’s salary, but the majority of the book focuses on the proven action steps you can take to tackle any debt–and the most common costly mistakes to avoid. If you like quick reads full of easy-to-understand information and inspiration, then you’ll love this book.
Here is Dave Ramsey’s book about getting financially fit. He went from bankrupt to millionaire and helps people dig out of debt and plan for the future every day through his books, financial classes, and podcasts (The Dave Ramsey Show). If you want a longer book from someone who has helped thousands of people clean up financial messes, then check out The Total Money Makeover from your local library or order it from Amazon.