This page contains links to the best resources we’ve used over the years to improve our lives, and grow our business.
There’s nothing as valuable to building an online presence as blogging. The following tools are what we at A Life Well Designed have found most useful.
WordPress: An open source blogging platform that has a robust plug-in community that allows for incredible levels of customization. You can go with self hosted, or choose to go with WordPress.
Headway Themes: This is the ultimate drag and drop theme for WordPress. Responsive layouts and easy customization make this the premier theme we use for all our WordPress websites.
DreamHost: If you are going to have your own website, it’s important to get good hosting. I have unlimited hosting which enables me to register a domain and plug it in right away. I can go from idea to fully functional site quickly with DreamHost.
Aweber: Once people start finding you, you’ll want to stay in touch with them. Aweber is the best email subscription service I’ve found. Their intake forms are easy to set up, and they make staying in contact incredibly easy. It’s the service we use to send out our weekly website digest.
Final Cut Pro X: This is the program we use to edit all our videos.
Vimeo: Once you have a gorgeous video, you want to share it with the world. Vimeo is the best place to host your professional sales videos. It’s super easy to customize the look and feel of the playback controls, and lock down the privacy settings. It’s much more robust than YouTube as far as embedding options goes.
YouTube: If you’re looking to build a community and get your voice heard, YouTube is the place to do it. Connect your YouTube account with your Google Plus account to leverage the power of Hangouts On Air. Then, every broadcast will automatically be integrated into your YouTube channel. This is how we use Hangouts On Air.
Blue Yeti Microphone: Good audio is almost, if not more important than good video quality. That’s why we went with the Yeti Microphone by Blue. It’s a USB mic that is top of the line, but reasonably priced for the quality of sound that you get out of it. The first couple broadcasts were done without it, and you can definitely tell the difference once we upgraded.
Logitech C920 Webcam: The built in webcam on most laptops are pretty good, but you can upgrade to great with the Logitech C920 Webcam. A big plus is the ability to place it anywhere it needs to be without having to put your laptop on stacks of books to make sure it’s at eye level. The C920 comes with a place to mount it onto a stand, so it doesn’t have to be on a monitor or your laptop.
Webcam Settings App: With this app for Mac you can access all the bells and whistles that the C920 has at its disposal. You can turn off the automatic settings that result in constantly changing focus, or color temperature. Instead, set everything manually, and you can be guaranteed the image will stay just the way you like it.
Richest Man In Babylon: This is the book that explains how money works, and how to think about building your wealth. The characteristics of money management are told through parables and short stories that are as applicable today as they were in ancient Babylon.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: This is the book that changed Jonathan’s life forever. It’s a treatise on how we see the world, a story of a father connecting with this son, and a whole lot more.
Why We Get Fat: A friend sent this to Jonathan, and helped him completely transform his body. If you’re struggling with losing weight, read this book.
The Art of War: Learn how to make yourself a lean, mean, fighting machine when it comes to life and business. What might seem like general platitudes sudden reveal themselves to be incredible gems of wisdom when you’re in the middle of a battle.
Convict Conditioning: There’s no need for a gym membership. Everything you need to build phenomenal shape is already with you; your body. This book shares the body weight exercise wisdom that’s locked away in our prison system. It answers the question, “How do I get strong fast when I don’t have access to weights.” If you life depends on it, you better be sure the program works. And this one does. It’s what Jonathan has used while on the road to maintain his strength and fitness levels.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You: The title of this book is taken from an excerpt of Steve Martin’s autobiography which sums up the secret to success in any given field. The advice given flies in the face of the traditional encouragement “do what you love” and, instead, shows you exactly why loving what you do is a much more viable and happy course of action.
Audible.com: You don’t always have time to sit down and read a book, but with audiobooks, you can transform otherwise “useless” time into something you look forward to. Traffic, dishes, and walking the dog suddenly become opportunities to learn something with an audiobook. We used to be snobs about audiobooks, but we quickly saw how valuable listening to a book can be. With nearly infinite choices, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.
Books we haven’t read, but are on the list!
Creative Confidence: Shatters the myth that only certain people are creative, and provides an simple action plan for boosting innovation.
More Than Two: Focusing on ethically non-monogamous relationship dynamics, this book is also invaluable for cultivating communication skills that will transform any relationship style you prefer.
TED: Short for Technology, Education, and Design TED talks live up to their slogan “Ideas worth sharing.” Ranging from all manner of topics you’ve never heard from, listening to these incredible speakers share their life’s passion never fails to encourage you.
Just Sit There: An introduction to meditation that demystifies the practice of mindfulness.
Building Confidence: A mind reader’s guide to building confidence. These are the techniques Jonathan has used to travel the world and get paid for it.
Ketosis & the Keto Lifestyle: This is a breakdown of how Jonathan dropped 40 pounds without a crash diet or starving himself.
Perfect Recall: Learn how to drastically improve your memory with a couple incredibly simple techniques. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!
How to Make Resolutions That Last: New Year’s isn’t the only time to make change. This book explores why most resolutions fail, and what you can do to create lasting change.