I’ve used or have extensively researched AND verified the products on this page with our colleagues.
Just a reminder that most, if not all, of these items are tax deductible if they’re being used for your private practice.
I’ll update this page often so please consider bookmarking it for your convenience.
Please note that some of products on this page are affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a small commission from the maker of the product if you choose to buy it through the links on this page. Please know that I value the trust you’ve placed in me, am very protective of our field, and will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in just to earn some income. There’s no extra cost to you if you choose to buy through the links. I’m grateful for your support and use the income to continue to provide hi-quality content and to offset the costs of running the STC blog.
Top Recommended Tools
Truth be told, I used another website host when I first started STC, and my experience with Site Ground has been like night and day.
Site Ground scores among the highest in independent reviews and also posts unedited reviews on their website, which speaks to their integrity. The best part? Site Ground has several data centers worldwide and will assign your website to the nearest data center. This translates into awesome speed and stability.
You’ll just need the lowest tier plan (Start Up) if you only have a single website.
I use Elegant Themes and, more specifically, the “Divi” theme. I chose Elegant Themes because they’re trusted by over 315,000 websites and chose Divi because of it’s flexibility and high level of security.
If you can fit it into your budget, check out the Lifetime Access plan from Elegant Themes, which is what I bought (I knew that I would have multiple websites down the road and didn’t want to pay extra later). Otherwise, you just need the “Developer” plan (Elegant Themes lets you upgrade or downgrade at any point).
The Lifetime Access plan will give you unlimited access to any current and future products that Elegant Themes makes and allows you to put your designs on unlimited websites.
I used to write down expenses in a notebook, but switched to FreshBooks in early 2015, and I’ve been very happy with them (they’re trusted by over 5 million businesses and I can see why).
I take photos of receipts with my smartphone camera and FreshBooks stores it instantly.
The best part is that you can print a categorized summary of expenses when you’re ready to file taxes, which saves a ton of time manually calculating everything (and, between you and me, I kind of like calculating things =p)!
Mel's Current Projects
STC Sponsors(With Special Deals For My STC Fam!)
I’ve carefully selected these companies based on their outstanding reputation and the value they bring to us as private practitioners.
Step by Step Guides
Audiotechnica ATR-2100 USB: This is the mic that I use for the Selling The Couch podcast (warning: you may end up with a buttery smooth voice =p).
The Healthcasters: The #1 community for mind/body health, wellness, and fitness podcasters.
Logos, Photos, and Graphic Design
99 Designs: This is the company that I use for the majority of my logos. You can run a design contest to have multiple designers submit designs or you can pick one of the existing designers. If you pick an individual designer, be sure to pick one of the Platinum Level Designers as these individuals are the best of the best.
Canva: This is the best online tool I’ve found to create awesome images for social media and blog posts. It’s free to use as long as you one of their free images or your own image (or only $1 if you use one of Canva’s premium images).
Unsplash: Free, “do whatever you want” hi-resolution images.
Pixabay: Check out this site if you’re looking for images but also for illustrations and images for Photoshop.
Investing and Retirement
If you’re curious, I use a basic index strategy recommended by my favorite investor, Warren Buffett, who said in his 2016 letter to shareholders, “Over the years, I’ve often been asked for investment advice, and in the process of answering I’ve learned a good deal about human behavior. My regular recommendation has been a low-cost S&P 500 index fund.”
Betterment: Where I keep our emergency fund and any funds we’re saving for a big purchase (e.g., a car). You can set it up to automatically take out money of a checking or savings account and put it into your Betterment account (score for automation!). It earns more interest than a regular savings account, but please note that the money you make is taxable since it’s not inside of a retirement account.
Special Deal For STC Fans: 90 days managed for free (for new accounts only).
Personal Capital: This is an investment company with a handy, free, app. I use the app to track my investment across multiple accounts all in one place.
Special Deal For STC Fans: $20 to Join (for new accounts only and for checking out their free tool).
Fidelity Self Employed Calculator: The calculator I use to decide how much I can put away for retirement each year from my business.
Special Deal For STC Fans: 30 Day Free Trial (vs. the 14 day they advertise on the site)
Leadpages: This is the software that I use to help folks sign up for my webinars. I like that Leadpages has pre-made templates that you can quickly customize and connect to your email service provider. Here’s an EXAMPLE of my webinar Leadpage.
AWeber: This is the email service provider that I use. You use Leadpages to get the name and email address of a participant and Aweber to store that information.
Audiotechnica ATR-2100 USB: I use the same mic for podcasts and webinars because it’s excellent for both. Simply plug it into the USB slot of your computer, and you’re set. This is seriously one of the best values out there!
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920: If you’re going to be recording yourself for your course, check out this webcam. It’s what I use. It’s much better quality than the webcam on my laptop.
Audiotechnica ATR-2100 USB: The mic I use to record my course.
ScreenFlow: Screen recording software for Mac users.
Camtasia: Screen recording software for Windows users.
Practice Building Books
I recently discovered Audible, which is Amazon’s Audiobook program. Total game changer =)! I can now listen and learn faster by playing each book at 1.5 speed =P.
Here’s a link to get your first audiobook for FREE (and just $14.95 each month, which is about 30% cheaper than buying an audiobook individually). Enjoy =).
The Paper Office by Edward Zukerman: This book includes forms, guides, and resources for a legal and ethical private practice.
Building Your Ideal Private Practice by Lynn Grodski: A Step-by Step guide to building a profitable and personally meaningful practice from one of the top business coaches for therapists.
The Million Dollar Private Practice by David Steele: This book helps you figure out how to use your talents to expand your reach and create multiple streams of income.
The Private Practice Field Guide by Daniel Franz: I like this book because it’s written by someone who made the leap into private practice after working for an employer.
I’m Currently Reading:
The Millionaire Next Door:
The Surprising Secrets Of America’s Wealthy
by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D. & William D. Danko, Ph.D.
“Before starting STC, I was really interested in personal finance. We grew up middle class but I’ve always been fascinated by how the wealthy think and live. For example, did you know that the majority of individuals purchase used cars so they’re not weighed down with car payments each month and not paying more than need on something that depreciates so quickly? This book is a classic and one I can’t wait to dig into.”
Melvin's Favorite Books
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau: This book is full of amazing stories of people who started small businesses on less than $100. I especially like that the author provides practical tools for you to use with your small business like a one-page business plan.
E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber: This book looks at why so many small businesses fail AND what to do instead. It can be a bit long winded at times, but the concepts behind it are solid.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck: My go to reference for posting on social media.
Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by by Carmine Gallo: Awesome book to check out if you’re thinking about doing workshops, speeches, and other events.
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by by Nancy Duarte: Wonderful resource to transform your slide presentations from bland to inspirational and persuasive.