Blog Posts


What I Spend Money On in My Online Business

People ask me all the time what I actually spend (invest) my money in my business. Yes, a lot of marketers say to buy, buy, buy — but on what?

Since I just finished my taxes for last year, I thought it might be helpful if I shared where my money went. (Yes, I'll also share soon where it comes in from, too, but I'll save that for another day.) πŸ™‚

This is where my money goes in my business… (I'll be updating this if I find more regular payments.)

I'll start with Recurring Payments for Tools that I Use.


I'm down to about 90 domains. (I used to be a domain junky, but am streamlining much better now.) Obviously that can get expensive, especially if you're adding any privacy or extras to each domain you register. I get a discount on my domains since I'm considered a high-end user, but still pay around $7/year.

Website Hosting.

I have several hosting accounts. I don't like to have all of my eggs in any one basket.

  • Mom Webs is where I refer people who are totally new to online business. I've been a customer – and am co-owner of Mom Webs and have been for years. They're used to handling support from scared new online business owners. Highly recommend.
  • Host Gator is the other company I use. They're solid and I've been a customer of their for years, too. I like that they're a Green Hosting company.
    Green Web Hosting by HostGator

You can't go wrong with either choice. πŸ™‚


Your autoresponder will maintain your lists for you, and help you to actually earn cash when you need it.

  • Aweber – The service I’ve used since 2005 to manage most of my newsletters, ecourses, and ezines. (If you get emails from me, they probably come through this list managing service.)

Shopping Cart.

If you want to have affiliates promote your products then you'll need a shopping cart of some sort.

I use a few.

  • 1ShoppingCart – this is the cart I use to run It IS 1shoppingcart. Just a reseller name. I’ve had an account with since 2009 and love the flexibility.
  • Clickbank – Clickbank’s Publisher Program. (This is the easiest option.)
    Plus: Easy Click Mate – If you use clickbank, this is a really great tool to create an affiliate center. I use both for my site and my site.

Project Management.

If you work with service providers, this tool can be very helpful to manage your team.

  • Basecamp – Allows me to track projects and who is working on each one.

Computer Backups.

You NEED offsite computer backups if you're running a business. Backing up to CDs or DVDs or an external drive is not enough.

  • Mozy – Keeps my computer (and therefore, my income) safe. (Try it free.)

Audio Recording for My Podcast & Storage.

I record all of my podcasts on the telephone. You can record using Skype, but I just prefer using the phone so I can walk around and handle things while I'm doing interviews. (Like letting the dogs out, checking on the kids, etc.

  • Record Audio (the simple non-techie way) – Quick and easy way to record audio from your microphone or telephone and put it on your computer. No techie stuff involved. This is what I use to record my podcasts.


I don't have a separate business line yet, but will be soon. However, I did find super-cheap phone service that I've been using for a few months and I like it.

Here are the One-Time Payments for Software and Tools.

Password Protection.

I highly recommend you use unique passwords for everything. Don't use the same password for your email as you do for Twitter and your autoresponder. I suggest using different ones for everything – and I personally do that. How? Glad you asked.

  • Password Manager Program – Keeps track of all of my logins, usernames and passwords, so I don’t have to. (Try it free.)

Where Else Does My Money Go?

Other Software.

I'll oftentimes find a plugin or new piece of software that I'll grab to test it out. If I like it, you hear about it. If not, you don't. πŸ™‚ (Most, you don't because it's just not worth the learning curve.)


I love to partner with other business owners who have strengths different than mine. In fact, I taught a course on the topic a few years ago. Good stuff.

So, I send money to my partners each month based upon our profits.


Of course, I pay my affiliates each month. That's a payment I'm thrilled to pay. It means I made more money than I would have alone!

Outsource Expenses.

I hire Virtual Assistants, Graphic Designers, and Writers for my business. And I have an Accountant. So, obviously I pay them each month.


I make more money EVERY single time I go to a live event, whether I'm speaking or just going there to hang out. Want to meet up with me? Here's where I'll be next. (Coming soon.)


I've started to advertise more. Obviously the goal of advertising is for it not to end up as an expense, but it does require initial output so I'll leave it in the expenses. πŸ™‚


I'm always learning. (And, yes, I invest in courses, too.) One of my favorites right now is this Private Newsletter.

I hope that snapshot helps you get an idea of what I consider important in my business.


PS. Yes, of course, there are affiliate links in this list. πŸ™‚

I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Darlene 'Dee' Bishop

    As always, great information. I use a few of these myself and know they work very well. But a couple news ones I’m going to have to check out. ;o) Thanks!

    • Nicole

      Hey Dee! Good to see you.
      Let me know if you have any questions about any of the tools above. Since I have intimate experience with each, I’m happy to answer them. πŸ™‚

  • Ralph

    Funny to see I use a lot of the same services.
    Going to check out that password manager, that really would be a great tool as the passwords and logins overwhelming..

  • Angela Wills

    This is great info Nicole and it’s neat to see that I’ve got many of the same expenses. I am also testing out some advertising right now which is working quite well to build my list. Looking forward to seeing the post about what makes you money πŸ™‚


    • Nicole

      Advertising can be a fabulous investment if you do exactly as you said – test. πŸ™‚

      Most shopping carts have built in tracking that enables you to see how much actual profit comes from each ad – even if you have them sign up for your lists first. Have you tried that yet?

      πŸ™‚ N

  • Doug Champigny

    An impressive list, Nicole, and a good reminder to our online subscribers that top marketers don’t just run around recommending anything and everything – we also use a lot of the resources we recommend and usually do more buying online than we recommend anyone else should until they have sufficient income from their online operations…

    • Nicole

      Great points, Doug.

      1. Yes, the best marketers recommend the products and services that they, themselves, use. (And, like you said, I certainly buy a heck of a lot more stuff than I ever recommend, because I find that the product or tool is just not worth the money and time for my readers – even if I know I could make a good deal of money by promoting it.)

      2. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that a beginner needs everything on this list from day 1. I expanded and invested as the time was right as I’m sure you did, too.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, as always! πŸ™‚

  • Barbara

    I’m curious – why do you say an external drive is not enough for back-up? Thanks

    • Nicole

      Hi Barbara,
      Some of the reasons why an external hard drive isn’t enough are…
      – Water damage (a leak in your roof or a blown out window)
      – House Fire
      – Hurricane
      – Lightening Strike (power surge can wipe out both your PC and your backup)
      – Virus (I’d think a virus could easily go from your computer to your backup)
      – Theft (someone breaking into your home could easily take both)

      Our house has been struck by lightening (lost 8 major eletrical items including the sprinkler system) and we’ve been through several hurricanes, plus a very small house fire that we were fortunate to have caught when it was starting. I don’t trust having my entire business in one building. That’s why I like to use an off-location backup. Because most businesses that suffer massive data loss end up closing shop within 2 years. As an information marketer – the data on my computer is my livlihood. I can’t risk it.

      I hope that helps clear up my reasons. πŸ™‚


      • Andrea

        I agree. I have an external drive, but I still use an online backup. Right now, I am moving from Mozy to CrashPlan, because I use a lot of space, and Mozy is ending their unlimited plan. (I was otherwise happy with Mozy.)

        I just had a major computer crash, and when I saw a problem starting, I began moving all my data files to my external drive. After my computer came home from the shop (new hardware, including a disk drive, and a complete wipeout / clean install), I just plugged in my external drive. Turns out, I overlooked a few things, so I was able to log in to Mozy to get the missing pieces.

        Now I keep most of the data files on the external drive, but I wouldn’t consider not having an online backup, in case I ever get a virus that finds its way to the external drive, or another disaster, such as one of the ones you mentioned.

  • Barbara

    Thanks – that makes sense!

  • The Happypreneur

    I guess I’m on the right track Nicole. I am using most of this stuff myself. Thanks for always giving us the info we need to do what we need to do in this business,


  • Tawnya Sutherland

    Not software tools per say but tools that I couldn’t live without which would make my business probably go into a downslide mode. My housekeeper, couldn’t live without her. My massage therapist, without her, my computer neck would be killing me by the end of each week and my walk each day with my dog just to get up and out of the office. Simple things, yet things that make my business run smoother each day.

    As for tools I couldn’t live without, Microsoft 2010 is probably #1, especially Outlook/Sharepoint. I can’t live without that as it rules my life πŸ˜‰ My VAs, couldn’t be without them or I’d never get any admin work done. Oh and last but very important, my tea mug heater that keeps my tea hot for me whenever I need a sip πŸ˜‰

    Hope Bahamas was fun…thinking it is time for a tropical trip myself, just not sure where yet.

  • K Quinn

    I use some of these same services myself. It’s just this year that I have decided to advertise a tiny bit. I don’t like to make this a big expense so I pay for advertising based on what I get from it. Does that make sense? Thanks for sharing Nicole!

  • Shannon (Living Life at Home)

    I too use many of these same services, specifically because I’ve paid attention to what others are using and why before making my investment. I once heard a marketer (can’t remember which) say to be sure to have the tools you’ll need in place so that you don’t need to change later. And after having gone through a variety of web hosts, I certainly recognize the wisdom of that.

    On comment on the offline backup vs. the external drive back up, I too have had external drives completely wiped out because of a power surge. Not pretty, and I can’t ever get back the things I lost. Now I have all my computers backedup automatically 2x ad ay through an offline backup service.

    My dad has also had his work laptop stolen 4 separate times. Having that offline backup has *saved* him the last couple times (he didn’t have it before.)

    Also totally agree with Tawnya – outsourcing to a massage therapist – abolute sanity saver! Next up on my list – a housekeeper – oh that would make such a difference πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your tools Nicole!

  • The Mad Webmaster

    Good stuff Nicole!

    Just wanted to stop in and say Howdy from Pensacola Fla.

    Just moved over here from Biloxi and am finally settled now.

    Funny how most of us use the same tools. I guess we know quality.

    Mad Guy

  • Jill

    Hey Nicole,

    Another good password keeper is RoboForm. They have a free trial version too. But about your post – I would be a little leery of telling everything I use. Seems like that might attract some hackers! But maybe I’m just paranoid!

  • David Duane Wilson

    Thanks for so much great information. I use an external hard drive for my back up. It is kept in the house so I will consider moving in to another location or using a data storage service. Firefox saves all my passwords but I may need to consider the “password manager program”. I do appreciate your post and all that you do in PLR, thanks so much.

  • Loretta

    I love this list, and I noticed that all of these things are BIG helpers in business, not just “stuff” that a lot of gurus and internet marketers recommend. Thank you for keeping us focused and profitable πŸ˜‰

  • Roy

    Great post with all of the best business tools one can have for their business. I just need to get the password tool for all my passwords. Thank’s for all your sharing to help myself and others.

  • Adam

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for all your advice and recommendations, I trust it completely and of course use your links.
    I’ve used a password manager(Roboform) for years and can’t live without it! Huge timesaver.
    All the best,

  • Marilyn Southmayd aka Grandma Marilyn

    Nicole, you recommended Mom Webs in this post. I have a question. Will Mom Webs allow me to upload Agora Cart for my shop? I have looked over quite a few of them and just love this one. I found out that the host (1and1) will cost me either $30 or $40 a month to have an ecommerce shop there. I have looked at quite a few and am interested in Mom Webs.

    • Kelly

      Hi Marilyn, thanks for asking the question! Yes, you can use Agora Cart on MomWebs and there would be no additional cost. Isn’t flexibility great?

      • Marilyn Southmayd aka Grandma Marilyn

        Thank you, Kelly. Can’t wait to get started over there. Have to wait until payday to get it started though.

  • Lauren Bennett

    Outsourcing tedious tasks such as writing, link building as well as other modes of promotion is definitely on the top of my list. Time is very vital to online business owners, and lessening the time you allot to workloads that can really consume your time can certainly increase your business’ productivity, especially in expanding it.

  • Matt Carter Rapid Profit Formula

    Hi Nicole,

    Do you have any good FTP programs to recommend?

    • Nicole

      Hey Matt,
      I mostly use DreamWeaver to do most FTP stuff. Sorry I don’t have a regular one that I use that I can recommend.

      With Amazon S3, though, I use this:

      Hope that helps!

      • Darlene 'Dee' Bishop

        I used WS-FTP for years but when I got a new computer recently, I downloaded Filezilla on the recommendation of a friend and I’ve been very pleased with it. Just a thought. ;o)

      • Matt Carter Rapid Profit Formula

        Hi Nicole,

        Thank you for your recommendations as well. πŸ™‚ I guess I will stick to a FREE software first before using a PAID service.

        • Nicole Dean

          Good. I’m glad you found one that you like.

          I have used Dreamweaver for years, since before WordPress was the standard. Back when we used to have to have a program to create websites. So, that’s why I have it. πŸ™‚

          Thanks for the comments and come back soon!


  • Christine McCarthy

    I use Google Voice for my business phone and #. The calls are forwarded to my cell phone. And the voicemails come in text under my gmail account. Its pretty sweet. And free!

  • Remco

    Just visited your site 1st time, and I came from Pat SPI website…..will be back, looks promising!

  • Clark

    Hi Nicole,

    Thats so much spending to do! πŸ™‚ However, I am happy that you have a lot of money to spend with in your business, it only means that business is doing good or better yet business is souring high. I also spent for virtual assistants and softwares that I think would be of best help to my business. Domain buying and affiliate programs are included as well. This is what I understand,if you want to earn more, then spend more on your business. Cheers!

  • Joel


    I used password manager tool that you mentioned for atleast one year. It was pretty handy and easy to use. Only problem was, it was often crashing while i was using it.

    You can save a lot by switching from BasecampHQ to Activecollab (One time license fee only)

    Thanks for nice list of resources BTW.

  • Mind Movies 2.1

    Hi Nicole,

    Have you considered using NameCheap to register your domains? I thought it is more inexpensive compared to GoDaddy.


  • Tattoo Removal

    Hi Nicole,

    just a quick question. When you say you hire writers and graphic designers. Do you hire them from Philippine or India? I am thinking about hiring people for content and back links but do not know where to find them and how much I should pay them on a monthly basis. A reply would be appreciated.



    • Nicole

      Hey Chet.
      I hire people from the US and Canada mainly at this point. I haven’t experimented with the Philippines, although I’m not against doing it.
      πŸ™‚ N

  • Darlene 'Dee' Bishop

    Chet, while I’m not Nicole, I would suggest using caution when hiring non-native English speaking writers. As a professional freelance writer, I’ve outsourced articles to writers from India or the Philippines at times when I was overloaded with work, and I’ve yet to find one whose writing I was satisfied with. Unless you’re adept at editing and/or rewriting, you’re really better off to go with a native English speaking writer to get the best quality. Just saying… from my personal experience.


  • Andy

    Hi Nicole!
    What an informative lists of things that I could buy for my business. I also do use Basecamp to see who among my employees are doing their job properly and on time

  • Donna

    Nicole, I receive information from you but rarely have time to read it all. I did read some recently; however, it could have been older info. I’m looking for a product you recommended that was about scheduling/time management. It was a video about a software program a man had created. I really want that informatoin, but I have no futher/more deals about the email. Please Help!

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