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I get asked about my tool stack a lot, so I'm sharing the tools & resources I use!

Janel Loi
Janel Loi
• 4 min read

I frequently get asked what I use to run my side projects (which include this site, BrainPint and Newsletter Operating System) so I'm sharing the tools & resources I use in this post.

I hope this collection will be useful to you. Many of these are referral links, which helps support the work I do!

Websites

  • Namecheap - Best place to purchase a domain. Has an intuitive, easy-to-navigate dashboard. Includes free WHOIS protection and excellent customer support. All of my domains are held on Namecheap, and most cost <$10/year.
  • Carrd - Easy to use single-page website builder that I used to build the landing page for BrainPint & Newsletter OS. Plans are generous (from $19/year for multiple sites) and include hosting.
  • Digital Ocean - I use Digital Ocean's droplet to host my Ghost blog. It costs me $5/month. Get $100 credit, to be used within 60 days through my link.

Writing

  • MailerLite - My email service provider that I use to send issues of BrainPint weekly. Has a generous free plan (up to 1,000 subscribers) and a user-friendly drag & drop editor. It also supports segmentation & workflows. I am paying $15/month for a plan that lets me send emails to up to 2,500 subscribers.
  • Notion - My personal wiki and my second brain. I use it to run my newsletter via Newsletter OS, write down my thoughts, track some of my purchases and clip interesting articles. Costs me $4/month for the Personal pro plan.

Marketing

  • Copy.ai - Amazing tool for marketers & founders. Ever feel stumped when you're trying to write copy? Enter a few keywords and generate marketing copy in a few seconds with this GPT-3 powered tool. Helps create ad, website & sales copy, social media captions and more. The team keeps shipping new features every week.
  • Switchy - I use this to shorten long links in my emails & websites, and set meta images. It's a great tool that can be used to track the success of your marketing campaigns & help you retarget customers. On lifetime deal now at AppSumo via this link.

Research & Reading

  • Mailbrew - This might be one of the products I'm most obsessed with now. Mailbrew is a service to follow your favorite websites, creators and writers—and unplug from feeds. It gathers content from a range of sources (RSS, Twitter, Emails, Readwise etc) and delivers it to you daily/weekly at a time of your choice. It's a massive time saver & game changer for my curation workflow. I run a free automated newsletter about Saas Investing off Mailbrew.

Social Media

  • Typefully - A distraction-free way to draft Twitter threads, in a beautiful & clean interface. For free. Can be saved to mobile & Macbook as a PWA for an app-like feel.
  • Publer - A versatile tool that supports social media scheduling across multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram via Zapier). I use it to schedule tweets.

Automation

  • Integromat - My superglue between sites, apps and systems. Helps me automate the boring stuff, so I don't have to. ($9/month) I find it to be a powerful and more affordable alternative to Zapier.
  • Airtable - Database on steroids, with automation capabilities. I use this to categorize & collaborate on data. Generous free plan. You can even create sites using Airtable by connecting to Pory.io or Softr.io.

Creation

  • Gumroad - I use Gumroad to create, buy and sell digital products. There's a free plan, but I pay $10/month for the creator plan, which has lower fees (3.5% + $0.30 per sale). Gumroad helps handle consumer taxes, chargeback disputes, hosts & delivers digital product(s), and allows creators to build email workflows.
  • Buy Me A Coffee - Helps creators get support from their audiences, with Stripe and PayPal integrations.
  • Glide - I love creating mobile apps using Glide. All you need is data that's stored in a Google sheet, some images that you can obtain via Unsplash or Pexels, and you're set.

Chrome Extensions

  • Bubbles - A collaborative tool that allows you to take screenshots / screen recordings and leave comments. Handy when reviewing landing pages, or reporting bugs.
  • Go Full Page - Take full-page screenshots and save to PDF, PNG or JPG. Free.
  • WhatFont - Like a font and want to figure out what it is? Use this free extension.
  • CheckMyLinks - Ensure that links that you're posting on a page/blog aren't broken.

Project Management

  • Trello - I use this to manage projects, kanban style. Note that it's now possible to use Notion to do this too.
  • Todoist - Clean, easy to use task manager. Get your to-do list out of your head and onto this app.
  • World Time Buddy - Working between time zones? Save awkward spreadsheet calculations or counting with your fingers by using this. Every Time Zone is an alternative.

Design

  • Figma - Collaborative, easy to use design tool. The community regularly publishes free resources, plugins, icons and UI kits as well.
  • Canva - Create beautiful designs and documents with Canva. Freemium, with a generous free plan.

Others

  • Secret - Get generous discounts on SaaS software by signing up for membership on this site. Deals include AWS, Notion & Airtable credit (>$500), 6 months of Typeform Pro, and a lot more. Use the promo code JANEL20 to get 20% off on any membership plan with Secret.
  • NordVPN - I use NordVPN as a dedicated VPN to protect my privacy. The plan is secure and supports up to 6 devices. It has the biggest server network (5,000+ servers in more than 60 countries), so it's blazing fast.
  • ImprovMX - Set up an ImprovMX account to send and receive emails from a custom domain, on your personal Gmail account for free. Here's how.
  • LastPass - What would my life be without this password manager? Used it for many years for free. Have now upgraded to paid.

I also made an app that contains some of the tools that I love. It includes a broader range of tools. Check it out at Supercharged Toolkit (best viewed on mobile). If you want to share about the tools that you've found in 2020, feel free to add to this tweet!

Tools

Janel Loi

Marketer & Maker who loves following my curiosity. I love learning and building things and write a weekly newsletter, BrainPint!