On this page, you'll find everything I use on a daily basis or recommend for your business needs. This is a curated list of what I consider the best-of-breed services and tools. I will update this page as I learn more and you'll notice I reference the page frequently.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please note that I have first-hand experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them foremost because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I may earn should you decide to buy something. Please do not buy simply because I list them. Only spend money on these products if you feel that they will help you achieve your goals.
My Most Recommended
These are the products and tools I find myself recommending over and over. Business owners need affordable ways they can get their websites up and running as well as tools to effectively market. Those listed in this section are essential tools that go a long ways towards providing the service and information you need to successfully drive business to your door step.
I first began hosting websites with Bluehost way back in 2003. Bluehost has achieved nothing short of a miracle in their meteoric rise to the top of the hosting game. Its founder, Matt Heaton believed in customer-first and pushed his engineering and support teams to build and deliver only the best customer experience possible. Today, Bluehost is incredibly easy to use with simple registration and 1-click WordPress installation coupled with excellent customer service. Launching a WordPress site couldn't be any easier nor affordable and I highly recommend using Bluehost for your first site. ❭ Learn More
Namecheap is one of the very few Domain Name Registers that doesn't bombard you with gobs of upsell screens, one after another. With a very clean, single purpose interface (find what you want, buy what you want, and nothing else) and easy purchase process, it is easy for me to recommend these folks for all your domain registration needs. They're also one of the most affordable around and most progressive about offering new top level domains (TLD) almost as soon as they become available. ❭ Learn More
Dreamstime hosts the best and most extensive selection of royalty free images anywhere that I have seen. I especially like their interface for browsing to find images. If you're blogging and sharing content via social media outlets, then images are an absolute must as they dramatically increase click-thru to read your content. Cybrains is replete with images from Dreamstime. Once logged in, you can download full-size complementary images to try out for free before deciding to purchase. ❭ Learn More
When I first started out hosting my client's websites, I did so with a combination of Bluehost and servers I maintained in my home office. Rackspace was my ticket to completely eliminating those servers through virtualization. When I need more than just a WordPress site, these are the guys I turn to. Rackspace serves up a scalable, reliable, high-performing cloud environment that includes much more than just servers. I love their fanatical support team. ❭ Learn More
I used to host everything at Rackspace, but these days, their service and price points have remained high while everyone else has been slashing prices. Today, I much prefer Digital Ocean to Rackspace because they offer more price points, easy upgrades to next level droplets and other add-ons to your servers (called droplets in their parlance) that make a lot of sense. Their service is also highly developer centric, so software developers feel right at home using their tools and APIs to automate tasks. Hosting Ruby on Rails and Wordpress alike are easily accomplished and almost as easy as one-click setups at other host providers. Digital Ocean is also not shy about building their community of users and paying users to write How-To documentation. Which means, you can find a guide for just about any open source tool you want to use on your server. ❭ Learn More
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) is the book that completely changed the way I think about running my business. While I earned a great living as a consultant, I was plagued with one simple fact: If I wasn't working, I wasn't billing and I wasn't earning. Passive income or more astutely, income that is generated even when I'm not actively working was not in the picture before this book. Tim Ferriss does a masterful job of teaching you to think in a new way. You'll learn about getting more done by quickly finding the minimum effective dose (MED), utilizing virtual assistants and putting automation tools to work for you.
The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company is a must-read, especially if you're struggling or just getting by rather than completely dominating your field. This book is written by Steve Blank, one of the most prominent figures behind the whole Lean Startup revolution. You'll learn how to connect to your customers, plan your business, and drive towards profitability with this book.
Programming Ruby 1.9 & 2.0: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide (The Facets of Ruby) Dave Thomas is a cornerstone of the Ruby community, and is personally responsible for many of its innovative directions and initiatives. He and original co-author Andy Hunt are founders of the Pragmatic Programmers and the Pragmatic Bookshelf. This book will teach you the fundamentals of Ruby programming and is the perfect compliment to improving your Ruby on Rails development expertise.
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software is one of the most useful books I read early on in my software development career. It is one of those books that applies to every programming language and teaches you to think in terms of patterns. If you're looking to improve the way you think about problems and consistently breaking down problems into programmable solutions, then this is a book to kick your analytical thinking skills up another notch.
Grammarly is the world's leading software suite for perfecting written English. It checks for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and suggests citations. We make a meaningful impact in users’ lives; students get better grades, professionals accelerate their career progress, and language learners improve their written English.