Should you, somewhere deep in your heart, have a longing for a different life, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you see yourself in a fun new city or maybe you’re your own boss and building a business that makes a difference, we want this site to be a resource for you.
We’ve been there. And, in fact, this site is designed to be a digital trail of breadcrumbs.
Welcome to the resources page. While we’ll certainly dive deep into what makes Asheville so special to us and provide some guides for those interested in coming specifically to this city, we’ll also talk about the WHY and the HOW.
Over time, we’ll fill this page (and this site) with everything we’ve learned while trying to “make it” in Asheville, from resources for moving, to the apps, gadgets, and strategies we use to build our life and our business. And, because we love marketing and storytelling, we’ll also share our opinions universal business strategies and industry-specific best practices!
We hope that sharing our story of trying to make it in Asheville inspires you, dear reader, to take your own risk and follow your heart.
If that risk leads you to Asheville, wonderful. If it makes you feel happier living your life, even better.
Without further adieu, these are the exact tools we used to start our business, stand up this website, build a mailing list, and more (click the links to jump to each section).
- Forming a Business
- Making a Website or Blog
- Marketing and Social Media Tools
- Organization and Planning Tools
- Podcasting Tools
- Resources for Asheville Businesses
Check them out below,
*Please note: Where possible, we’ve used affiliate links. The links cost you nothing, but —should you buy something—we might be paid a small commission from the product’s creator.
Forming a Business
LLCUniversity.com — There are lots of ways to go from “I have an idea” to “I have a business.” We recommend stopping by LLC University before you make any of those moves (like deciding what type of legal entity to create and what state to create it in). The founder, Matt, does an incredible breaking down the process and providing crystal clear and incredibly valuable resources that shepherd you through the process.
Making a Business Website or Blog
Making a website to support your new business is almost essential. Consider it similar to a business card, though. You might invest a lot of time and energy into making it just right (subtle off-white coloring, the tasteful thickness), but at the end of the day, no one but you actually wants it.
A note for the non-technical, like us, (feel free to skip this if you would say that you “get how websites work”): there are three main steps to consider when you want to set up a website. Fear not, we know you can do this.
(1) Think of buying, or registering, a domain as buying a plot of ground… in Asheville except on the internet. When we bought makingitinasheville.com, nothing what there. It was a vacant lot but we owned the rights to build. (2) Buying hosting for a site is like saying you now have the permits to build something there. Based on the host you can build big, fast, and secure internet homes. (3) Choosing a platform to build your site with, is where the metaphor gets a little loose. It’s either like choosing an architect or maybe the design with which you’ll build your house. Except, unlike a house, you can make massive changes to the design in seconds, minutes or days any time you’d like.
Most places will allow you to do all three of those steps on the platform but while it’s convenient our friends who are better with tech say it’s not the best choice for security and redundancy.
Domainr.com — When someone mentions a project or product, the first things Tony does is check to see if the domain is available. Domainr makes it really easy to see if your business name is available as a domain and provides cool ideas for ways to create something similar. From there they link you to all the places you might buy and register the domain.
Namecheap.com — Out of habit, we use NameCheap.com for our registration. We started using them years ago and they have a clean interface for purchasing and managing website registrations (and hosting).
Dreamhost.com — It’s considered best practices to split your registrar from your hosting provider. Dreamhost comes highly recommended from friends and peers. This is the first site we have hosted on DreamHost and, so far, we get the hype. It’s a clean UX and they’ve been great with support questions. This DreamHost Shared Starter package is a great place for most people to start. If you’re running a site that will get a lot of traffic, consider starting with Dream Press for wordpress.
WordPress — We can’t know what type of business your running/building. If it’s a services business with a focus on blog and podcast content, WordPress is best in class. Depending on your specific business and comfortability with tech, Squarespace or Shopify might be a bitter fit.
G-suite — This is Google’s cloud software offering for business. While using G-suite is optional, creating a professional business email is not. We support G-suite and rely heavily on Google for the infrastructure of our business. You’ll see more on that below.
Marketing and Social Media Tools
MailChimp.com — While everything else on in “Marketing” is optional, in our opinion, building a mailing list is not. You can liken building an audience on any social channel to building your dream house on “borrowed land.” At any moment the algorithms of those platforms can change and you can lose connection to those fans, followers, and potential customers. You’ll see that we’re committed to providing reasons for you to join our one of our mailing lists.
Now, there are lots of options for how you do that but the simplest out-of-the-box and no cost (at first) solution is MailChimp. While we might not use MailChimp for every part of our business or forever, it’s 100% the first place to look if you haven’t ever built a mailing list.
GrowthTools.com — When it comes to taking your mailing list from zero to a number other than zero, there are also a lot of options. GrowthTools is a free suite of software products (they sell courses and coaching) that are fantastic at helping business owners build the email lists.
Canva.com — When you want to make a logo, build a blog header, create an Instagram post you’ll want to do it in Canva. A: it’s free to use (with the ability to purchase a premium version). B: it’s the easiest way to get the exact dimensions for any bit of visual media you’d need and offers all the tools you need to make the images look pro — like stock images and icons for days.
Buffer.com — Social media is a black hole, a massive time suck. For some businesses, it’s also their lifeblood. It might not be for your business. It’s for that reason that we support using (and even paying for) a scheduling solution for your marketing. Buffer, in our opinion, is the simplest place to start. There are heavy-duty sales and marketing automation out there, that depending on your business, might be more critical. But since we can’t know who you are and what you need yet, we’ll recommend you check out Buffer.
Organization and Planning Tools
Google Suite — We live in our google drive files and Gmail inboxes. I hate to assume you know what it is when you might not. It’s a cloud-based file center that lets us write documents, make presentations, create spreadsheets, and so much more. Oh, and it’s all accessible and editable from our phones. The G-suite is essential to our organization and storage of files. We have whole systems for how we use our Gmail and how we use the google drive to store our files and build our content. We could not recommend it more.
Asana.com – Whether you’re working with a large team of people or it’s just yourself, Asana helps manage all of our project tasks and deadlines. We love that we can assign different people different tasks, set due dates, and even create “sub-tasks” that all fall under a single project umbrella. Both free and premium versions are available.
How to Set Goals M.A.T.A. – At the start of 2020, we developed a goal-planning process called M.A.T.A. While the acronym is quite cheesy, the process truly has helped us set more meaningful goals and stick to them throughout the years. It’s based on accountability and small-win. Listen to the podcast episode on M.A.T.A. goals and download the free worksheet.
We wrote up a whole blog post on the equipment, software, etc. that we use to produce and promote our podcast. Check it out here: Basic Podcasting Equipment.
Resources for Asheville Businesses
21 Ideas for Growing Your Business in Asheville Free Guide – As we have been working to grow and build our own business, we compiled this downloadable list. Just enter your email address and we’ll send it on over to you! We hope you find it as helpful as we have.
Mountain Biz Works – These guys offer an incredible amount of help to local small businesses in Asheville. From classes and business planning advice to lending and investment opportunities, the help that Mountain Biz Works offers has aided many of our podcast guests!
AB-Tech – Offers a variety of continuing education classes for small business owners here in town.
Venture Asheville – Help grow Asheville’s startup community and connect high-growth ventures to talent, mentors, and investors through unique programming and events
Want more resources?
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