Welcome to my ‘useful’ page where I list out all of the things I used or use to help you ‘get your life back’.
Just a note before we start, the links on this page fall into 3 categories:
- Normal links which I receive no commission or referral rewards if you click them
- Referral links where I earn some money or points for referring you
- Affiliate links where I earn a commission if you buy via my link (it doesn’t cost you any extra)
I wrote this page first and then checked if there were referral or affiliate programs available so I can try and support the running of this site.
If there were no affiliate or referral rewards available, I left the link as it was. This page is about what is useful to you, not what might make me money!
So, now we’ve got that out of the way, I’ve listed all the tools, links, websites, books, podcasts etc I recommend under different categories so you can pick and choose according to how you want to ‘get your life back‘.
The categories are:
You can scroll down to the one that is most relevant to you, or just peruse them all 🙂
One thing that doesn’t fit into a category is my ‘Get your life back’ cheat sheet. This encompasses all of the below methods to help you start making a change when you feel stuck.
If you want an all-around life change then get the Cheat Sheet and see what you want to work on first.
This guide is a series of emails to help you get over your fear of starting a business. I procrastinated for months before I finally got started, and it was all down to a lack of confidence and a feeling of fear. Once I got over it, I was off to the races!
Free workshops and online resource
The Pop Up Business School is hands down the best thing I did to get IWMLBproject started. Pop Up Business school is run by Alan Donegan and Simon Paine. Alan is a friend of mind and all-around awesome dude.
The Business School runs 2 weeks workshops around the UK (and a couple in the USA) which are completely free for participants. They cover everything from knowing your customer to tax structures to building a website.
If you can’t attend a workshop, they also have a fantastic free online guide as well.
Build a website:
If you are building a website for your business (not a blog) then there are a number of great (free!) options.
Wix also has an ADI (artificial design intelligence) feature which will intuitively create a bespoke website for you based on your business type.
They are both free to set up a basic website.
If you are building a blog then see the ‘Blogging’ section at the bottom.
With website images, you need to be careful what you use, you can’t just save any image from Google and use that as you could be infringing on image copyright.
The best thing to do is use stock photography which is royalty and attribution free. There are free stock photography sites and paid ones.
For free stock photography, I use Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. You just search for the type of image you want and then download and use (I recommend reducing the file size in Optimizilla first before you upload to your website so it doesn’t slow it down).
There are also a number of paid stock photography sites which you can use if you want better quality and less frequently used images.
I have just signed up to Haute Stock, I wanted to make this site look more professional and I felt they had the best images for my brand.
They have graphics packs, background images, flatlays and anything else you might need. I think they are awesome.
If you need to make logos, social media images or banners for your website then Canva is hands down the best tool for this. I make all my Pinterest pins and Instagram posts in Canva.
Canva has a free plan (you can upgrade to Canva for work but you may not need to do this as the free version is brilliant).
Canva is easy to use once you get the hang of it, you can upload your images (from your free or paid stock photography sites) and then overlay colours, text or whatever else you want to create a unique banner or post.
They also have great brand colour suggestions, or you can also use Color-Hex if, like me, you aren’t great at putting colours together.
Organisation and Planning
For organisation and planning, I use Google Calendar and Google Docs. I’ve signed up to various apps and planning tools, but I always end up back with Google Calendar and Docs as they are so easy to use.
I plan all my tasks in Google Calendar as you can drag and drop, copy and paste entries which makes everything that much quicker and easy.
I love Google Docs and Sheets as they update immediately so you don’t have to remember to save anything and you can access it from anywhere.
You link your social media accounts, upload images, add blurb and hashtags and choose your posting times. Buffer will then schedule and send the posts for you at the allotted times #sorted!
My first port of call is always the local library, I hate spending money on books as I read them too quickly and then they clutter up my flat!
These books are both about the craft of writing (and Stephen King’s is also part autobiography) and are incredibly useful and informative if you want to improve your writing skills.
For books on productivity I loved:
I recently discovered the How I Built This podcast with Guy Raz which is my new obsession. Guy interviews founders of really famous brands and they tell their story from start to finish. There are adverts in the podcast which are annoying but if you can ignore those then the actual interviews are amazing.
This is a free email course for you to build your escape fund. By that I mean, save up enough money to do whatever ‘getting your life back’ means to you.
Whether it is starting a business, quitting your job, going travelling, or something else. These are the exact steps I took to quit my job a year ago
I blo*dy love saving money, I don’t cut out coupons but I do try and reduce the cost of whatever I am buying, whether that is shopping the sale or using cashback sites.
If you are in the UK, you absolutely need Money Saving Expert in your life. It is the go-to resource for everything to do with saving money. If you need to remortgage, want to save money on your leccy bills or want a better bank account, got MSE first.
They also have a Cheap Energy Club which you can sign up to for free, it will alert you when you can save £50, £75, £100 on your energy or whatever level you set it at.
I’ve stopped using this as I signed up to Bulb which uses 100% renewable energy. You get £50 off your bill whenever you refer a friend so it’s worth comparing this to MSE as it may work out cheaper if you refer a couple of friends (and you can help the planet at the same time). Here is my referral link if you want to use it bulb.co.uk/laura.
Cashback sites are a great way to get extra discounts on things you were going to buy anyway. I use Topcashback, you go to the site and type in the name of the retailer or company you want to purchase from.
If the company is part of their programme then you can see the cashback % that you will receive back after your purchase. You click through to the company or retailers website, purchase as normal and Topcashback do the rest. I’ve earned £140 back so far on things I was buying anyway.
Meal planning is definitely the best way to save money and reduce food waste. I sit down with a spreadsheet most weeks and work out what we are having for each meal.
If you don’t have that kind of time, you can get this done for you. I’ve heard great things about $5 Meal plan and Freezeazy (same company). Although these are not free, they will save you a lot of time and also money as the recipes are designed to be low cost.
If you need to make some extra cash then selling your unwanted clutter on eBay is always a great place to start.
There are some fantastic books related to money. Rather than ‘how to get rich quick’ books (I’m not gonna lie, I have read some of these), it’s the books about values, and understanding how money works that have been the most valuable to me.
All 3 of the below books are about understanding how money works, creating passive income streams, and becoming financially independent (never having to work for money again).
None of these books advocate a risky, quick path to wealth, it is all about getting into the right mindset and using money in the right way.
The Mad Fientist retired in his early 30s having saved an invested enough to live on. Forever. Crazy times. His podcast is him interviewing other people who have done the same thing or are on the path to Financial Independence.
I’ve met the Mad Fientist and he is an awesome, very down-to-earth guy.
If you want to make more cash but have no idea how to do it, Nick Loper’s podcast Side Hustle Nation is your go to. He interviews people who have done all kinds of things to make cash, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Well worth a listen.
If you want to get your life back by going travelling, or you need holiday’s just to keep you sane. There are great resources to save you money either before or while you travel.
Air miles are a great way to reduce the cost when you are flying somewhere. I have recently got British Airways short-haul flights to Amerstam and Geneva for £35 with avios points!
I personally use credit cards to build up airmiles, the balance is paid off in full each month and I got my spending urges under control a long time ago. If you have a tendency to make it rain on the Outnet website then credit cards may not be the best thing 😉
I have just switched to the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card which is great for earning airmiles.
It’s fee free for the first year. If you spend £2,000 on it in 3 months, you get 20,000 membership rewards points which you can convert into airmiles. If you refer a friend you get 9,000 airmiles. This is my referral link if you want to use it. Referral Link Amex/Laura.
If you live in the UK, the airmiles only really save you money if you fly Business Class or above, so it’s a good idea to stack up as many as possible!
If you are in the US, you get so many more options and much cheaper flights as you don’t pay the hefty taxes that the Brits do.
As I don’t know about US credit cards, I recommend using the Mad Fientist Credit Card tool which will give you the best cards to use based on your requirements.
Exchange rates and bank fees
I’ve just discovered Revolut and I think they are fantastic. They give you a near perfect foreign exchange rate and you can get a physical card to pay for things abroad. I’ve just been to New Zealand for a month and saved a fortune in bank fees and bad exchange rates.
It was also amazingly easy to top up the card while I was away so you don’t need to guess how much money you’ll need.
Everyone is well aware of Uber, but there is a new kid in town. If you live in Europe then ViaVan are giving Uber a run for their money. The name is a little misleading, there are the same as Uber in that they send cars, not vans!
Their focus is on shared transport but you can book a private car if you want to. They have a great referral deal at the moment where if you refer a friend you both get £15 off your next ride. My referral code is laura9j3 which you can use when you download the app here.
I am using Wellness to cover stress, burnout, mindset, relaxation amongst other things.
This is my fourth guide on how to achieve the things you want. It isn’t just about writing your goals down and thinking that will do it. You need to have the right mindset going into it.
I am definitely not the world’s best meditator, (world’s best fidgeter maybe) but I do find that listening to meditation before I sleep helps to calm the crazy.
I use Buddify which is a paid app (one-off fee of about 4 quid I think) but it is really easy to use and I like their sleep meditations.
Other people swear by Headspace which has a free or paid version.
There are a couple of books I recommend which are primarily for boosting confidence and generally feeling better about life! One is slightly controversial due to the swearing, if you hate cuss words, this one is not for you! The other is much more PC 🙂
Now, this blog is incredibly new so I am not going to pretend for a second that I make money doing this yet.
If you do want to start your own blog, these are the courses and tools I am currently using. As I want this blog to be a business, I have invested money into it.
If you want to blog for fun or aren’t sure about it yet then you absolutely do not have to pay for courses or email providers but if you are interested, this is what I use.
I am taking the Create and Go blogging courses listed below. I went back and forth about taking a blogging course but after 5 months of not actually starting anything, I decided I had to at least try one and see if it helped.
I started off with the first course Launch Your Blog which is fantastic and gave me a step-by-step guide to getting this blog set up (I am not techy at all so it really helped with the set up).
I am now working my way through Make Money Blogging and Pinterest Traffic Avalanche.
They do have a pro-blogger bundle which has all four courses in. I took ‘Build and Launch’ first just to make sure I got on with the course structure and to make sure I actually enjoyed blogging before I spent any more money!
I then asked for the price of the first course to be deducted from the Pro-Blogger price which they sent me a discount code for.
I’ll report back when I’m making some money on the courses I am currently taking, if you want to have a look for yourself you can click on the link or the image.
Just a note about setting up WordPress, Create and Go recommend Bluehost, however after doing my own research I decided to use Siteground instead. They have an excellent reputation and are used by many successful bloggers.