Blogging may be a low-investment business/hobby (at least to start with), but occasionally we all want to indulge. What better time to do so than the holiday season when brands dole out awesome deals.
So, if you are a blogger or a small business owner, or if you know someone who is one, this gift guide is perfect for you. It lists mostly the essentials but also some fancy items that a blogger and/or entrepreneurial heart will love.
Let’s get started.
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The Ultimate Gift Guide for Bloggers & Small Business Entrepreneurs
Planners & Notebooks
First things first. Regardless of where you are in your blogging journey, you NEED stationery.
Sure, your phone has a Notes app and a To-Do app, but be honest—how often do you look at it? I think To-Do apps lists may work great for grocery shopping but business tasks are no grocery shopping! You need a tangible medium to write down not only your business To-Dos, but also your business goals and strategies. Notebooks and planners are essential for you to get organized.
In my opinion, you need a notebook for sure. You could double it up as your planner too (hello, bullet journal inspirations!), or you could buy a separate planner. Here are my recommendations.
Bullet journals are huge these days for the flexibility they provide. *Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are the frontrunner in this category.
I am a new bullet journal adopter. So, I wasn’t ready to invest in *Leuchtturm1917 notebooks before testing out the system. However, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t compromising on the paper quality. I am happy to report *Muji notebooks are awesome!
Note: Let me know if you want me to do a post on how I use my *Muji notebook for bullet journaling.
Ah, I LOVE these! I have been a *Moleskine notebook user for over a decade. For my freelance business, I use these notebooks to write my To-Dos and meeting notes as well as outline my blog posts. For my blogging business, I use *Moleskine notebooks to visualize my blogging strategies as well as to outline my blog posts and resources. *Moleskine notebooks are available in a variety of sizes and budget to suit every user’s needs.
Disclaimer: When I bought the *Muji notebook for bullet journaling one month ago, I bought two of them—I use the one as a bullet journal and the other one for notetaking and strategizing tasks. So, currently, I am using only *Muji notebooks for my blogging business but I do still use *Moleskine notebooks for my freelancing business.
Premade Lifestyle Planners
Bullet journals require some time investment from you upfront because you draw your own layouts. If you don’t want to spend that time, premade planners are good options. Of the various lifestyle planners in the market, the following have caught my eyes:
If you have ever searched for a planner online, chances are you have read about the *Erin Condren Life Planner. These planners are considered multi-utility planners and thus are popular with thousands of planner users.
If you want a planner that keeps you accountable as far as your productivity goes, *this is the planner for you. This planner is designed to help you set goals and follow through on them.
Another favorite of mine is the *Pilot G2 gel pen.
For highlighting and marker needs, I stick with the tried and tested *Sharpies.
*Sticky notes are multi-utility tools. I like to keep these not only at home but also in my purse. Anytime you need to write a quick note/reminder for yourself or someone else, just write it down on a *post-it sticky note until you can get to the task.
I know MacBooks can be pricey but the way I look at it is that it provides more value for money than Windows computers.
I have been using a *Apple 13” MacBook Air for about 5 years ago, much before I started blogging professionally. And the laptop is still going strong.
On the other hand, I also use a *Windows laptop because my freelance work demands I use a Windows computer. In the last 5 years, I have had to replace my Windows laptop twice. They just don’t last heavy use.
For me, the math is simple: the cost of two *Windows laptops is more than the cost of one *MacBook Air.
Maybe the pricier Windows laptops ($700+) last longer but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t used those.
Bloggers and entrepreneurs who do a lot of video work (such as webinars, YouTube videos, videos for landing pages) need to have a more solid computing option. The *MacBook Air is a good option for them but it can lag a bit when doing heavy editing work. For such work (along with regular blogging work), the *MacBook Pro is a fantastic choice.
Bonus: All Apple computers come with a free iMovie video editing software. The iMovie interface is very intuitive and thus super easy to learn and use. You just saved yourself some dollars right there!
There is no denying that Windows OS is the market leader when it comes to computers. So, if like millions of other people, you too love your Windows OS, or perhaps you don’t want to spend on a *MacBook now, *Lenovo’s range of Yoga laptops is great value-for-money. With this range, you not only get a *lightweight Windows laptop but can also use it as a touchscreen tablet. Awesome, I say!
Chromebooks are very basic laptops that can be bought at super affordable prices. This *Acer Chromebook is one of the bestsellers on Amazon. However, this affordability comes at a price too. Be prepared to spend on additional disk space as well as the inability to use most software. This is because *Chromebooks work on the cloud computing system. No Microsoft Word, Apple Keynote, Photoshop, iMovie, and so on.
All said and done, these are great budget options if you only use a blogging platform, such as WordPress or Blogger, and cloud-based photo editing application, such as Picmonkey or Canva. For high-processor tasks, such as video editing, *Chromebooks don’t pass the muster.
Computer Paraphernalia–Data storage
For a blogger, their data is most precious. You just cannot afford to lose your data. This is where *external storage comes into the picture. You can back up all of your content into one of these. You can also choose to work directly on the storage device if your computer isn’t great for processing or comes with less internal storage (like the *Chromebook).
These are a good option during early stages of your business but they usually don’t come with a lot of space. *SanDisk has a range of flash drives you can consider.
But again, the usage of *flash drives is limited. Enter external hard disks.
*Seagate backup portable external hard disk is super slim and easy on the eyes too. With storage space going up to 4TB, you are sorted for a very long time. With an *external hard drive, store all your text files, but also all the photos, video files, audio files, etc.
Computer Paraphernalia—Audio Equipment
If you are like me, you like dead silence when you work. Or maybe you are completely opposite—you like to pump high-decibel music. Perhaps you produce video tutorials or podcasts and need to review the audio. Or, maybe you simply like listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
Either way, you need good headphones to listen to audio files, regardless of their format and medium.
Here are some awesome audio listening options to choose from:
Wireless headphones are, in one word, SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! It gives you the ability to be mobile yet maintain privacy. You can cook and listen to music/podcast at the same time. Sure you can do that with a speaker too, but what if your family doesn’t want to listen to your business podcasts.
*Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones not only provide great sound quality but also cancels external noise.
Videos are the next big thing for bloggers and small business owners. Traditionally, one has been getting educated in classroom settings. But as the world is expanding and remote working is becoming a reality, video tutorials are replacing the classroom setting yet adding a personal touch to remote training programs.
Look around you—all small and big bloggers and entrepreneurs are stepping up their video game. This is also partly because social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are encouraging video interactions. Similarly, eCourses are not just in text + image format anymore—they include a good amount of video tutorials.
Maybe you want to start recording YouTube videos too, or you want to prerecord videos for your Facebook Live, Webinars and video lessons.
You may think the first place to start recording video is your computer’s inbuilt webcam. However, most laptop webcams do not provide professional level videos, which is necessary for your events and tutorials. Depending on your budget, you can save or splurge on your video recording/streaming equipment.
If you choose to record your videos on your smartphone, you will need a tripod specifically for your phone. Most traditional tripods are not designed to support a smartphone but you can look for contraptions that will screw into the tripod and hold the smartphone as well. Here are some options to choose from:
Note: If your phone tripod doesn’t come with a *smartphone adapter/holder, remember to buy one when you purchase the tripod.
Microphones are a NECESSITY, not a luxury if you record videos. Your laptop’s inbuilt microphone is just not good enough, regardless of which computer you use. You NEED a microphone.
Luckily, you already own one if your smartphone comes with an earphone and mic. I personally don’t like using the phone headset because I don’t like the look of it….as in the earphones hanging from my ears in the video. I find it unprofessional when it comes to formal video tutorials or webinars. Of course, for podcasts or voice over, you can absolutely use the earphone for your smartphone while recording videos.
If you want to purchase external microphones, there are some good options in the market.
Courses, Books, and eBooks
The digital world is constantly evolving. Moreover, being a blogger and entrepreneur requires you to do much more than what you already have experience in. You are not just a writer, but also an editor, a graphic designer, a video editor, a sales executive, a marketing pro, and much more. It is, therefore, important that you keep abreast of the latest trends in the digital market as well as read inspirational books about the business of business.
- *Blog by Number: Suzi’s signature course is perfect for someone who is looking to start a blog or is in the early stages of blogging and wants to step up their blogging game. Suzi breaks down the process of blogging into bite-size learning nuggets in *Blog by Number. She provides encouragement through her personal stories and uses simplest of languages to teach her students.
- *List by Number: This is another gem in Suzi’s portfolio of courses. *List by Number is perfect for someone who is focusing on growing her email list. As always, Suzi walks you through the process of starting and growing your e-mail list in really simple language and cites her personal tips throughout.
- *eBook by Number: One of the goals of most bloggers is to monetize their blog. Creating and selling your own digital products, such as eBooks, is a great way to monetize and help your readers. *eBook by Number is perfect for someone who is looking to create their first eBook for sale.
- *Find Your Tribe: This course alone helped me grow my Pinterest engagement manifold. But that’s just scratching the surface. As the name suggests, *this course helps you find your “tribe” online. How? *In the course, you not only find a list of hundreds of Facebook groups and Pinterest group boards you can join but also how to leverage those groups to promote your blog/business. Win-win, I say!
- *Fantastic Freebies: As a blogger, I am sure you understand the importance of creating effective opt-in resources. Jen’s *Fantastic Freebies helps you create awesome opt-in resources that convert.
Demystifying SEO: A Bloggers Guide To Search Engine Traffic by Kim Six: The ONLY SEO book a starting blogger needs. Kim really goes deep into the SEO-boosting techniques but presents it in layman language that is easy to implement.
*How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup: There no denying Elite Blog Academy is one of the most sought-after blogging programs. But it’s super expensive and I couldn’t justify the cost of this program because I am yet to monetize my blog. That said, I loved Ruth Soukup’s free videos and wanted to learn from her. So I did the next best thing and bought this book. I found the book containing enough content for a blogger who is starting out and needs handholding.
*The One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothand: This amazing book will help you create a content plan for the entire year in easy steps. Knowing what to write and when to write are half the battle won when it comes to content creation.
Business & Productivity Books
- *Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage and Sell by Andy Maslen
- *The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki
- *I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam
If you are blogging professionally, get a few business cards printed. These will be handy when you meet new people at conferences, events, or just randomly.
*Moo business cards are not only value-for-money but also look fantastic and can be customized completely.
When all else fails, fall back on a gift card. Who can ever go wrong with a gift card? Amazon offers *physical gift cards as well as *e-gift cards that can be emailed to the recipient. You could also buy gift cards from your favorite retail store, coffee shop or restaurant.Phew! That was a long list. My head would swim with so many options, but it’s always good to have options—wouldn’t you agree?
Did anything catch your eye? Go ahead, gift yourself or an entrepreneur friend something to make their life easier.
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