Being an entrepreneur is hard. Finding the right tools for your business doesn't have to be.
Done right, your systems can help you:
Luckily, there's an app for that.
Yeah, you heard me, an app for finding the best apps.
Hi, I'm Steph.
Wanna know what makes me want to scream? Watching talented entrepreneurs waste oodles of time drafting invoices in Photoshop, painstakingly inputting numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, or writing receipts by hand. (And that's just accounting.)
The fact is, tasks like those are exactly why robots were created. So please: let the robots live out their dreams of making your whole life easier! Do it for them!
Most of us can't outsource every single thing we dislike, but we can learn to do less of the tedious stuff and hang out in our Zone of Genius more often. For many of us, having good systems is the answer, which is why I created The Appothecary.
What is The Appothecary?
It's an ever-evolving directory where I compile every tool and app I love, use, or would recommend to a fellow small business owner. Here's what it includes:
✔ Curated, dynamic database of the best technologies to run your small business
✔ My personal ratings and notes for each tool
✔ Examples of the tools in action + use guides
✔ Walkthrough videos to help you find what you need
✔ One-time fee for access for the lifetime of the project
← PS. I made this fancy-pants mockup using a tool from The Appothecary 😮
How does it work?
→ I come across an interesting tool in my consulting work with interesting small business owners building interesting things
→ I do the legwork researching, comparing, and synthesizing everything I discover (This is fun for me. My moon is in Capricorn.)
→ I add it to The Appothecary, and include my rating and notes about the kinds of entrepreneurs who might benefit from using this tool
→ Log in to your account and see a carefully curated list of options for any given category of tools
→ Happily select your favourite app, knowing that I've chosen the options with care
→ Feel 100 times less overwhelmed (approximately)
→ Get on with doing the work that actually matters in a more efficient way, supported by systems that actually work
Join The Appothecary
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I don't get it, what is this thing?
Without the bells and whistles, it's essentially a glorified list of every tool, app, or piece of software that I think is useful, interesting, or helpful in moving the needle on the work that matters.
Is this a comprehensive list of every tool on the internet?
I am frankly very flattered you think I could pull that off, but no, no it is not. There are so many tools that I've never heard of or discovered, let alone tested for myself. The Appothecary is just a slice of the technology out there: a delicious, carefully crafted slice. These are the tools that I love and use or am excited about.
Why would I buy this when the internet exists?
Probably because the internet exists. There's so much out there! People who buy & use The Appothecary tell me that they love it because it's:
- Curated: Not too many, not too few, just right.
- Simple: It's easy to learn how to find what you need super quickly. Get in & get out!
- Dynamic: The Appothecary changes and evolves as often as I do. I'm constantly optimizing, tweaking and refining my picks.
Who are you, and why should I trust your recommendations?
Thanks for being so thoughtful with your purchasing decisions! I'm Steph. I've had a blog for 10+ years, and have been making a living through the Internet for the past 4+ years. Currently, my work involves helping entrepreneurs build their dreams, whether that be a digital magazine, a cozy retreat, or an online store. My speciality is user experience, because I believe so deeply that the systems you use to run your business are as much a part of customer service and marketing as is the copy on your website or your email response time. I'm passionate about making sure that everything works the way it should, looks beautiful, and most importantly feels like your business and reflects your values. You can learn more about my work here, and more about me here.
To answer the second part of your question: I'm not making any guarantees that you will find the love of your technological life in The Appothecary (but I hope and kind of suspect that you will). I'm not the be-all-end-all expert of tools on the internet, and I bow down to sources like The Sweet Setup which review everything and give you their top picks, for free. Instead, I share the tools that I personally like best, that I find work best for my clients. These recommendations are from my own point of view, which is heavily influenced by aesthetics, flow, user experience and *~~vibes~~*.
If I buy this, do I get lifetime access?
Technically speaking, no, but only because it's hard for me to say with certainty that I'll be running The Appothecary for my entire life. I certainly plan to do so for the forseeable future! Provided that Airtable does not spontaneously combust in a few years' time, I do not envision ever deleting this database. So yes, when you become a member, you'll receive access for the entire life of The Appothecary itself. If or when I ever do shut it down, you'll receive an archived copy of the database to have and to hold forevermore. Read more about why lifetime access is not a great idea for entrepreneurs here.
Will you tell me what tools NOT to use?
Nope, I sure won't. In life, I believe in focusing on and appreciating the positive, so I decided to fold that philosophy into The Appothecary, too. If I hate a tool, it's not inside. That said, if a tool isn't in The Appothecary, that doesn't necessarily mean I hate it, it might just mean that I don't know about it yet! Either way, what's important is that what's in there, I like. I do keep a running list, in a separate tab, of all the tools I've tried and removed, if you're curious.
I can't believe you don't have XYZ in The Appothecary! Have you been living under a rock?
You caught me, I am in fact a cave dweller! JK, but turns out that finding out about new tools is not always a straightforward process. I follow a few amazing people that I trust (The Useletter and Dense Discovery, for two) and keep my eyes and ears open for new things, but of course I can't see everything. But guess what? I take suggestions for tools I should review for The Appothecary! Once you're a member, you'll be able to submit apps for consideration.
How come there are only a few tool options for each category?
I want The Appothecary to be curated: I want you to have a few solid options to choose from, but not so many that you're basically back to square one in your decision-making process. That's why I'm constantly updating the lists and swapping things out. Technology changes fast, which is why this database couldn't live as a static PDF or ebook.
Do you use affiliate links?
I'm really not into double-dipping except when it comes to Helluva Good French Onion dip, with plain Ruffles, when I'm with friends. It doesn't make sense for me to get a kickback after you've already paid me for this information. So no. None of the links in The Appothecary are affiliate links. This also helps me stay super transparent and tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about each and every tool inside.
I just opened The Appothecary and I'm super overwhelmed. Halp!
I know! New technology and spreadsheets are a beast. Don't worry though, I got you. Inside the members' area, you'll find links to walkthrough videos for all the various features, showing you how to find what you need.
One of the tools I discovered through The Appothecary has disappeared! Did I do something wrong?
Nope! I take things out all the time. If it's gone, it's because I decided it wasn't something I wanted to stand behind. This could be for a number of reasons: the functionality, the customer service, the pricing model, or the user experience. Again, I'm not interested in maintaining a database of Every Tool Ever, so I take out anything I don't want to pay attention to anymore. That said, anything that's been in The Appothecary at one time is archived into a separate sheet within the same database.
I don't like ANY of the tools you've recommended in a particular category. Can you give me a personalized recommendation?
Sure! My consulting work often involves recommending products that are super specific to your unique business, so if you don't find what you're looking for in The Appothecary, please feel free to get in touch about booking a Deep Dive with me. That said, 90% of my recommendations will probably come from The Appothecary, simply because it's where I store my brain!
Not in the market for a full consulting package? Here's one tip I often recommend: Google "[Category Name] for [Your Profession]". For example, "CRM for Coaches". Chances are, there are some specialty apps that I may not maintain as part of The Appothecary, but that might serve your business well.
What is Airtable and why am I obsessed with it already?
Airtable is one of my all-time favourite tools. It's one of the sexiest pieces of software I've ever met, and I want you two to be friends! But seriously, The Appothecary was built on Airtable because I think it's the best tool out there for keeping track of information that you need to be able to sort, organize and make sense of.
I have an Airtable account and I want to add The Appothecary to it so I can access it more easily!
You're such a smarty-pants and I am living for it! Once you're a member, send me a note and I'll invite you to the base using your Airtable email address so that The Appothecary will live on your account under the 'Shared With Me' section.
Why is it called that? Isn't an apothecary like a pharmacy?
Naming rights for this one go to my friend Sonja, who is the queen of puns and wordplay. When she helped me come up with the name, she wrote, "What about something like 'The Appothecary' - apps and online tools to heal your business and systems pain points? It is like a pharmacy they can go to with a particular issue and get a custom 'healing blend'". Ladies & gents, she nailed it!
Take 50% off during social-distancing. ❤️ One-time payment.