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Things I Use and Love

Jason Zook A-Z List of Things

I am not being paid to endorse any of these companies. In fact, I actually pay for most of them.

Ever wondered what email marketing provider I use? How about my favorite gluten-free tortillas? What camera I use for all my Instagrams? Or what about the sites I get royalty-free music and photos from? This is my A-Z List of things I use and love.

Some of the products and services listed below include my affiliate link. I wanted to be completely transparent about this and you should know that using my affiliate link gets you the same exact price, I just make a little bit of money from your purchase. Think of it like giving me a high five, but with that high five I can afford to buy more t-shirts!

Let’s dive in…

A: American Express Delta Skymiles Platinum Card (link)

American Express Platinum Card - Jason Does Stuff

Whoa, what a freakin’ weird thing to start this list with right? Well, I use this damn card all the time and it actually has decent rewards (by no means am I a credit card reward wizard). Each year this card gives me a free companion flight anywhere in the US and helps accrue points that can be redeemed for flights and hotels. Using this card in 2011 to pay for all my business expenses got me to Platinum status on Delta and I got upgraded to first class on nearly any flight I took. It was glorious (and I was already spending the money anyway!). You won’t find another credit card on this list because this is my favorite one. Oh, and the American Express iPhone app is badass. Seriously. It’s really well done.

Price: $195 per year

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B: Bit.ly (link)

Bitly - Jason Does Stuff

Long URLs just aren’t fun to share. I’ve been using bit.ly for years and love that I can customize my short URLs with them. For example, here’s one for my book Creativity For Sale – bit.ly/CFSzip

Price: Free

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C: Chantel Hamilton (link)

Chantel Hamilton Editor

Yeah, it’s weird to put a lovely human like Chantel in a list of “things I use and love” but, well, here we are! Chantel actually reached out to me and offered her editorial services. I had an editor at the time, but her email was convincing and I gave her services a try. About 48 hours later I was paying her for a block of her time and she’s been helping me with my writing ever since. I cannot recommend Chantel highly enough!

Price: Contact Chantel for availability and rates

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C #2: Compressor.io (link)

Compressor - Jason Does Stuff

There are a lot of images on this page. My site uses fairly large images. Without Compressor.io, you’d be watching images load until the cows came home (whatever that means?). This is a super easy tool that lets you compress your images without losing much quality. Really cool stuff!

Price: Free!

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C #3: ConvertKit (link)

ConvertKit

I recently made the switch from Mailchimp to ConvertKit and could not be happier. ConvertKit was made for entrepreneurs and content-based business owners. The simple form customization. Subscriber tagging. Email sequences. Loads of automations. And much more! The best part? None of the features of ConvertKit feel overwhelmingly difficult to figure out! I have a full article about my experience with ConvertKit coming out soon.

Price: Starts at $49/month (my ConvertKit link gets you 1-month free!)

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C #4: Cotton Bureau (link)

Cotton Bureau - Jason Does Stuff

Listen, you don’t become “the t-shirt guy” if you don’t love t-shirts. Cotton Bureau is a crowdfunding/purchasing site where cool t-shirts are put up for sale. The designs have to be approved by the Cotton Bureau staff and then have to sell a certain amount before they can be printed. Cotton Bureau handles the screen printing to keep the quality high and I think I’ve backed 10 t-shirts so far? Love this place.

Price: Free to browse, $25-30ish per shirt

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C #5: Crowdcast (link)

crowdcast

I’ve spent quite a bit of time using live video and webinar platforms. None of them are more user friendly than Crowdcast. Within a matter of seconds you can setup a new live workshop/webinar/event and start getting people to signup. Crowdcast is great if you’re using it by yourself, but it also works really well if you have co-hosts and want to share multiple screens. I use Crowdcast at least two times per month and the experience is truly fantastic.

Price: $49/month, $89/month (plan I use), or $195/month

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D: Death To The Stock Photo (link)

Death To The Stock Photo - Jason Does Stuff

I’m not a fan of boring stock photography. In fact, I hate it. I cringe when I see staged photos that feel boring and unoriginal. Especially ones of women laughing while eating salads or guys in suits sitting at their fake work desks. Death To The Stock Photo (and Unsplash below) is my go-to place for finding photos for my articles and various projects. I also love that the folks behind Death To The Stock Photo team up with photographers and pay them for their work!

Price: Free to try, $15/month for Premium (what I use)

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D #2: Dropbox (link)

Dropbox - Jason Does Stuff

If you’re still using external hard drives to backup your computer, you must get Dropbox and ditch the clunky drives. I made the switch to cloud backups a few years ago and haven’t looked back (or had any issues). I use Dropbox to backup everything on my laptop. It’s also a great resource for sharing files with people or creating publicly accessible links to stuff on your hard drive.

Price: Free up to 2GB, $9.99/month for 1TB, and bigger plans.

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E: Everlane (link)

Everlane - Jason Does Stuff

Sticking with the clothing trend, I have to give a shoutout to Everlane. I first found them when I was searching for a new Dopp Kit. Then I found out they made high quality clothing (sustainably) and were completely transparent about their process, pricing, and profit. Freakin’ awesome. Their newsletter is one of the few retail companies I look forward to getting because the stuff is so fairly priced.

Price: Get out your wallet! (not expensive, just a ton of great stuff)

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F: Flywheel (link)

Flywheel - Jason Does Stuff

I’ve used a bunch of different website hosting providers over the years and none of them compare to the customer service and usability of Flywheel. If you have a WordPress website or are thinking about creating one, I would 10000% recommend Flywheel to you all day long. Rick and his team are awesome and have helped me solve so many silly issues that no other hosting provider would care about. Flywheel is a fantastic resource for anyone who manages WordPress sites for other people too (you can manage billing per site, add collaborators, and lots of other stuff). This site, JasonDoesStuff, is proudly hosted by Flywheel!

Price: $15/month (1 site), $100/month (10 sites), and Custom Plans

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F: Fujifilm XT-1 (link)

Fujifilm XT-1 - Jason Does Stuff

Even though I’m a fan of the camera on the iPhone, I still enjoy taking some higher quality photos here and there. As a previous multiple DSLR owner, both Nikon and Canon have provided me with quality equipment over the years. However, I recently made the switch to the Fujifilm XT-1 and I’ve been absolutely loooooving it. It’s not drastically smaller than a DSLR, but it’s more compact size definitely makes a difference. Plus, the ability to use my iPhone as a wireless viewfinder is pretty freakin’ cool. In case you were curious, I own the 14mm, 35mm, and 55-200mm lenses.

Price: $1,200 (body only)

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G: GoSquared (link)

GoSquared - Jason Does Stuff

I always used Google Analytics before and it was confusing. Nothing was intuitive or easy to find. When my friend Paul Jarvis introduced me to GoSquared I was in love. Every thing I could possibly want is right on the dashboard (unique visitors, referring pages, visitors currently on the site, location, etc). I share an account with my girlfriend, which is a fun little hack, and we have probably 10 websites on GoSquared. Oh, and you can share access to sites with other people (like Google Docs or Dropbox)!

Price: $18/month (free trial for 14 days)

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G #2: Gumroad (link)

Gumroad - Jason Does Stuff

Gumroad is a really simple and easy to use e-commerce solution. I remember when they popped up a few years ago I sold a nerf basketball using them. It took me a matter of minutes. I use Gumroad for random one-off or unique things I sell (like my consulting calls, review videos, etc). The simple sales pages are customizable and can be embedded on your own website so your potential customer never knows Gumroad existed. Here’s my consulting call as an example.

Price: Free to use, they take a 3% transaction fee on all purchases (like PayPal, Stripe, etc)

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H: Honey (link)

Honey - Jason Does Stuff

I found the Honey Chrome Extension a few years ago and always forget I have it turned on until… *bing* it pops up and tells me there’s a coupon code I can use on the website I’m about to buy something from. It’s a simple Google Chrome Extension that runs in the background and searches for coupons based on whatever site’s checkout page you’re currently on. It doesn’t always find coupons, but it’s nice to save 20% off stuff here and there.

Price: Free!

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I: Incompetech Music (link)

incompetech - Jason Does Stuff

This is a royalty free music site I found during the IWearYourShirt days. Since I still create a video here or there I’m often in need of some background music. Incompetech has a ton of different music styles and the majority of them are instrumental and royalty free (and organized by music type or keywords). If I can’t find it on Incompetech I’ll look on AudioJungle, but I always try going the free route first.

Price: Free!

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J: Journal, by Landmade (link)

Landmade Journal - Jason Does Stuff

Yeah yeah yeah, I kind of phoned it in here. But hey, I love journals and I couldn’t think of anything else for the letter “J.” Crazy right? If you know of anything cool that you think I should check out, shoot me an email. Otherwise, I’m enjoying my cork journal from Landmade.

Price: $15

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K: Kickstarter (link)

Kickstarter - Jason Does Stuff

I went back and forth on whether to use the letter “K” for Kickstarter. But then I realized how much I love Kickstarter and how powerful of a marketing platform it can be (if used correctly). Kickstarter has introduced me to some really cool projects and companies over the years. I’ve backed at least five project per year for the last few years, some of them at the $5 level and some at the $1,000 level. Some recent projects I backed are:

And as a little plug to a good friend, if you’re thinking about running a Kickstarter campaign, you should definitely check out FundYourDream.

Price: Hide your wallet!

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L: LaCroix (link)

LaCroix Water

Can you say obsessed? I kicked the soda habit a few years ago and recently got introduced to LaCroix. If you haven’t tried this stuff, you’re missing out. My favorite flavor? Pamplemousse. If this stuff is bad for me, please don’t tell me. Haha.

Price: Go to your local grocery store, Target, etc

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L #2: Letterspace (link)

Letterspace - Jason Does Stuff

I write 500 – 1,000 words every single day. I’ve used over 10 writing apps and never enjoyed one over the other; until Letterspace. It’s a free app for Mac (desktop and iOS). It apparently syncs via iCloud, but I haven’t managed to make that happen yet. Regardless, it’s beautifully designed and doesn’t have any of the extra buttons and crap that distract you from writing.

Price: $9.99

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M: Minaal Carry-On Bag (link)

Minaal Bags

The Minaal Carry-On Bag (pictured left) wins the title of my favorite travel bag. As a self-proclaimed minimalist, I love having the ability to fit everything I need in a backpack that’s versatile and that travels really well. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting the founders of Minaal (hello Jimmy and Doug!) and backed their recent Kickstarter campaign for the updated version of the bag. I can say, without a doubt, this is my favorite backpack AND carry-on bag I’ve ever owned!

Price: $299

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N: NounProject (link)

NounProject - Jason Does Stuff

My girlfriend Caroline introduced me to Noun Project and it’s a designer’s dream. Have you ever wanted an icon for something but just couldn’t find anything on Google Images? Yeah, your problems are solved with Noun Project! You can search terms like “question mark” or “microphone” or “person” or “exercise.” There are so many awesome icons to sift through and Noun Project makes it suuuuuuper easy.

Price: Free! Almost all icons are free with attribution to the creator or are $1-2.

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O: “Open” by Andre Agassi (link)

Open - Jason Does Stuff

I have another list of my favorite books, but I had to give Open, by Andre Agassi a mention. I’ve read a ton of non-fiction over the past year, but Open was probably the best book I’ve read to date. Tennis holds a special place in my heart because I worked for the ATP right out of college and got to watch Andre’s last match at the US Open, but it’s still an amazing book. I loved Andre’s writing style, his vulnerability, and his incredibly detailed memories of his matches and life. A must-read in my opinion!

Price: $8.79

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P: Pocket (link)

pocket-jasondoesstuff

My friend Clay Hebert introduced me to Pocket a few years ago and I really enjoy it. Think of it like bookmarking with tags and good design. So instead of having a bunch of toolbars or folders full of website bookmarks, I use Pocket and store everything with tags. I can always go back later and search Pocket for an article, website, product, etc.

Price: Free!

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P #2: Product Hunt (link)

ProductHunt - Jason Does Stuff

I visit Product Hunt daily. It’s a great place for finding new apps, new books, new podcasts, new services, etc. I’m proud to say I was Product Hunt user #609 and have enjoyed watching them grow as a company. I’ve also enjoyed sharing my own projects/products on Product Hunt and seeing a huge spike in traffic and purchases.

Price: Free!

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Q: …?

I don’t have any products that begin with Q that come to mind. Do you? Share it with me.

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R: RODE Microphones (links below)

Rode Mic - Jason Does Stuff

Someone reached out to me from RODE in 2010 and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I own the RODE Smartlav, RODE NT-USB, and RODE Podcaster. They make fantastic audio equipment and have been great to me over the years. I use the Smartlav to record audio in videos where I’m not at my desk. I use the NT-USB on most of my Skype calls. And I use the Podcaster for interviews or anything recorded.

 

G: Service (link)

Get Service

Do you have phone calls you absolutely hate making? Maybe it’s calling the cable company to dispute a bill? Calling an airline to make sure your recent flight gives you the mileage credit you deserve? Need to dispute a bill or charge on your credit card? Well, Service is going to rock your world! I found this via Twitter and tried it out myself. I stayed at a hotel and the experience was pretty awful (picture: drywall falling off walls and really old dingy carpet). I submitted my information to Service and within a few hours I heard back that they were on it. The next day, they confirmed I’d be getting my money back for one night of the hotel stay. Amazing! And I didn’t have to make a single call or talk to any customer service people. You have to give this a shot.

Price: Free! (Amazingly free!)

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S: #2 Silvercar (link)

Silvercar Car Rental

I hate the rental car experience. It’s awful. Constant up-sells. Too many pricing choices. Why are there 12 different insurance options I can choose from?? Ugh. But now? Silvercar. I recently used Silvercar for the first time and it was magical. Everything was done through my phone and their well-designed app. Someone picks you up (depending on the airport) and you don’t ever see a rental office or wait in line. And there’s only one vehicle option: A well appointed silver Audi A4. I can’t recommend Silvercar enough if you’re going to rent a car.

Price: $59 per day, use code JZOOK to get $25 OFF!

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S #3: Slack (link)

Slack - Jason Does Stuff

I’d heard about Slack a year ago from my friend Rafa, but I didn’t dig very far into it. However, with recent product launches and collaborations, Slack has been instrumental in keeping track of multiple teams and multiple projects. Think of it like a Facebook Group, but with outstanding design and functionality (and a beautiful iPhone app). Slack just makes it easy to talk to people and their Mac App is great because I can switch between a ton of teams. Also, Slack has a great video explaining their product.

Price: Free!

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S #4: Square Cash (link) and Square Invoices (link)

Square Cash - Jason Does Stuff

Square Invoice - Jason Does Stuff

I used to be a Freshbooks user, and while they’re great, Square is just a bit better when it comes to design and ease of use. I use Square Cash to send money with the tap of just a few buttons on my iPhone. It’s ridiculously easy to setup and there are ZERO fees when sending money (maximum of $2,500 per day I think?). I can’t remember, but I do think you need to use your debit card if you are sending money. If you are receiving money with Square Cash you can input any bank account. Square Invoices on the other hand let you quickly and easily setup invoices. I have a few clients that still need invoices for things, so it’s nice to be able to whip these up with ease and know they’ll look professional (and are easily payable by credit card!).

Price: Free!

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S #5: Stripe (link)

Stripe - Jason Does Stuff

WTF? A third “S??” Ya, it’s fine. Stripe is the cat’s meow (if that’s still a thing that’s really good). They just know what the heck they are doing when it comes to online payment processing. We use them for Teachery. We use them for the Bundle of Awesome. I’ll be using them many more times over this year. Plus, their customer service is fantastic. If none of that made sense to you, just know Stripe is a way better alternative to PayPal.

Price: Free to sign up, 2.9% per transaction + $0.29

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S #6: SoundCloud (link)

Soundcloud - Jason Does Stuff

Yes. It’s a 4th “S” just deal with it. I’ve gotten really into podcasting and SoundCloud just makes it easy. Their embeddable player is really slick and you can see it in action on both my podcasts: Invisible Office Hours and the Action Army Podcast. Plus, the SoundCloud player is playable directly in Twitter or Facebook when you share an audio clip (which is awesome). I know there are a few ways you can host and submit a podcast to iTunes, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using SoundCloud.

Price: Free, $6/month, or $15/month (depending on amount of content and features you want)

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T: Teachery (link)

Teachery - Jason Does Stuff

I mean, c’mon, I have to promote a product I’m actually building! If you’re thinking about creating an online course (which I highly recommend) you should absolutely give Teachery a look. My co-founder and I have spent nearly a year creating what we think is the easiest online course building platform. Teachery was built with two things in mind: #1 Ease of use and #2 Course creator profitability. This Teachery blog has a bunch of great free resources too.

Price: $0/month, $49/month, or $179/month

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T #2: Treehouse (link)

Treehouse - Jason Does Stuff

If you’ve seen the cover of my book Creativity For Sale, then you know how much I love Treehouse. Lots of entrepreneurs send me emails asking me what they should be reading, doing, etc to figure out what they want to be building or creating. I recommend to all of them to dig into the amazing content on Treehouse’s website. From learning design, CSS, how to build an iPhone app, basic marketing skills, and much more, Treehouse has a fantastic library of content that’s accessible and good for people of all ages and skill levels. I can’t recommend Treehouse enough!

Price: Free for 2 weeks, then $25/month or $49/month

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U: Ugmonk (link)

Ugmonk - Jason Does Stuff

One of my favorite t-shirt companies, although Ugmonk is much more than just a t-shirt company. The founder Jeff Sheldon creates beautiful apparel and products and has been doing so for years. Ugmonk is the ultimate story of build something slowly and with a focus on quality. Every once in awhile a t-shirt pops up that I have to grab, but lately I’ve just really enjoyed watching Jeff share behind the scenes of Ugmonk.

Price: Free to browse!

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U #2: Unsplash (link)

Unsplash - Jason Does Stuff

I mentioned royalty free music earlier, well this is my go-to place for royalty free photos! Unsplash has some of the most beautiful photos from some of the most talented photographers. I head to Unsplash on a weekly basis to grab a new image for a blog post or something I want to put a quote over and share on Instagram.

Price: Free!

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V: Voyage, by Kindle (link)

Kindle Voyager - Jason Does Stuff

I know, I kind of cheated here, but again, it’s my list and I can cheat. I’m new to the world of book e-readers, but have enjoyed the experience using the Kindle Voyage. While the experience of browsing the Voyage could be a ton better, the experience reading a book is really solid. Plus, you can’t beat having 1,000 books in the palm of your hand. I wasn’t sure how I’d adjust to using an e-reader but the Voyage is solid.

Price: $199

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W: Wistia (link)

Wistia - Jason Does Stuff

I use Wistia for video hosting for my online courses and a few other projects where I don’t want videos to be branded by other companies (YouTube, Vimeo, etc). They’ve done a fantastic job creating a video player that’s both easy to use and beautiful. I’m a big fan. Oh, and you can actually embed Wistia videos in emails with MailChimp (something you can’t do with YouTube, etc).

Price: Free (with Wistia branding), $25/month (what I use)

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W #2: WeMo (link)

Belkin WeMo - Jason Does Stuff

One day in 2013 I had an idea in the shower. I wanted to create a simple gadget that plugged into an electrical outlet and let you control that outlet via my iPhone. Well, after some Googling I found the Belkin WeMo. Dangit Belkin! I will admit I think there’s an opportunity to make a simpler version of this product, but I have two WeMos in my house: One that controls our living room light and one that controls our upstairs office lights. You can schedule the lights to turn on/off at certain times, you can control them from your iPhone while in Hawaii (like we did!), and you can add on other products from Belkin (light switches, etc).

Price: $40 on Amazon

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X: I was going to try to get cute here…

But there’s no product I use or care about that begins with “X.” Remember this xylophone though??

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Y: You’re Getting Old (link)

You're Getting Old - Jason Does Stuff

Truth be told I was drawing a blank on “Y.” Then I asked my friend Paul and he pointed me to You’re Getting Old. Put in your birthday and see a whole bunch of fun stats, facts, numbers, and more related to your age. It’s fun!

Price: Free!

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Z: Zapier (link)

Zapier

Zapier is one of those apps that once you start using, you wonder how you ever lived without it. They make it so freakin’ easy to setup really simple automations between different services. Want to create a “zap” that automatically takes purchaser data from Stripe or Gumroad and updates a Google Spreadsheet? You can do that with just a series of clicks. There are tons of zaps you can choose from that help you remove mundane tasks from your day. Thank you @MissRachilli for the reminder of Zapier! (And yes, it’s very similar to IFTTT.)

Price: Free to start!

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Anything awesome you think I should add to this list? Email it to me

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