This post is a little different than my usual cruise-related content but it definitely worthwhile if you are interested in the worlds of blogging, youtube, or becoming an ‘influencer’ as it’s often called.
Below you’ll find a list of products and services that I use to save myself time and to produce the best content possible.
If you are a blogger who is seriously looking to turn your hobby into a business, I recommend joining Income School. I’ve been an Income School member for a little over a year and joining was the best decision I’ve made in a long long long time. I even teach a course in Income School! More about that later.
Need Help With Your YouTube Channel or Your Next Cruise Related Project? – Book a Consultation With Me
Going full time with my website/YouTube channel has given me the chance to reopen my consultation services which I’m really happy about!
I love talking to you. I offer consultations on both YouTube strategy and of course on any cruise related topics.
Each consultation is an hour long, completed by Zoom and there are a range of time and days available. To learn more click here.
YouTube strategy consultations include a channel review completed prior to our meeting and actionable feedback and action points so that you can start improving your channel straight away.
Let’s start by talking about this website. It’s always a little strange to me that most people know me as a YouTuber as I very much started as a more traditional blogger.
I started this website in 2016 and originally started with a word press hosted website. A WordPress hosted website is free to use but it does mean that you have to have a URL like wordpress.emmacruises.com which isn’t ideal.
It isn’t impossible to get traffic with a URL like this but I would strongly advise you to pay a host to host your website for you.
This website is now self-hosted with Siteground but it is still run with WordPress. My day job involves a lot of coding and the last thing I want is to have to code my website too! WordPress makes it very easy and WordPress is free to use.
I picked Siteground to host my site primarily because they are fast and seem relatively easy to use. I’m not sure that there is a massive variety within hosting companies but Siteground does a good enough job for me and I’ve never had any problems. When I break my website they are always there and able to fix it.
URLs: 123 reg and 1 and 1 Ionos
I actually own three domain names, cruisingisntjustforoldpeople.co.uk, emmacruises.com, and emmacruises.com. I originally started with .co.uk so all posts on that website now redirect to a .com version.
I also bought emmacruises.com so that I could create shorter URLs like emmacruises.com/course for example.
The domain names weren’t very expensive but if you are buying one I’d definitely pay more for the .com version. People in the UK are much more likely to click on a .com domain than Americans are on a .co.uk domain.
Email Hosting: Google Workspace (GSuite)
I use google for the GSuite, to manage my emails. This means that I can use my emmacruises email within Gmail and set up other things. I did previously host my emails with 1and1 but this is much easier.
Email Provider: SendInBlue
I used Sendinblue to send my weekly newsletters and organize email drip campaigns. For example, when somebody clicks a button to download a file Sendinblue sends that and adds them to a ‘downloaded file’ list which is very useful for me.
Email hosting is generally speaking really really expensive. I used to use mail chimp which was okay but upgraded to Sendinblue when I launched my cruise course as I needed more functionality.
Sendinblue seems to have all of the features that more premium services have but for a decent price.
Course Host: Teachable
My cruise course, How to Cruise for Less is hosted on teachable. Teachable is a service which you pay for by the year and then teachable takes a percentage of each sale. I found teachable to be very easy to use as they host the videos within my course and look after everything.
Teachable handles all of the payments and most of the customer service.
I use the cheapest basic plan which costs $360 for the year. Initially, that does feel very expensive but I suppose really it’s an investment in yourself and if you think your course will sell more than that value, it makes sense.
They do have other plans that cost 3x or more but the basic plan does everything that I need. An alternative is Thinkific but they seem to be almost identical.
50% Cruise Course Commissions
If you would like to become an affiliate of our cruise course please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer 50% commissions on all sales. To find out more, click here: Cruise Affiliate Program: Cruise Course: How to Cruise For Less.
I also use Teachable for my consultations. Once a person buys they’re taken to my calendar to book a time slot. I use Calendly for this, it’s linked to my Zoom account and automatically creates an account. Calendly is free!
Stock Videos, Photos, and Sound Effects: Envato Elements
I use Envato Elements for the b-roll footage you’ll see in most of my videos as well as the photos I use for Pinterest. It costs around £15 per month and is well worth it in my opinion. When I added b-roll like this into my YouTube videos I saw my audience retention increase which YouTube definitely likes, plus, it’s just fun.
I also use their sound effects in my videos for things like woosh or pop and I add their stock photos to some of my Pinterest pins.
Stock Music: Epidemic Sound
I don’t currently use Epidemic sound just because I don’t really make ‘vlog’ style videos anymore and paying £10 a month for something I was only using once or twice a month seemed very silly. If you are looking for music though Epidemic sound is probably the best place. It’s easy to use, they have loads of music and £10 a month isn’t too bad.
I have had a few ‘copyright strikes’ on Facebook where I’ve used Epidemics music. I just had to appeal each time and say ‘I have paid for the music’ and then Facebook went away. No biggie.
Editing Software: Final Cut Pro
I use final cut pro to edit all of my YouTube videos. I originally used iMovie which was fine but I became frustrated with some of its limitations like only being able to layer two things together. I find final cut pro really easy to use but I’m sure that I only actually know about 10% of the functions. That said, it works!
In my videos you may see graphics like subscribe buttons or sidebars, most of these are plugins bought from FCPEffects. I’m sure that I could make some of these things if I had the time but quite frankly, I don’t. It takes me HOURS to edit my YouTube videos, we’re talking about 8-10 hours for a 10-minute video sometimes so anything that can save me time I appreciate.
I make all of my thumbnails on Canva. I used the free version of Canva for years which is great but decided recently to upgrade to their paid version. I decided to do this because it gives me access to their stock photo library and tools like being able to resize graphics and remove backgrounds. So far it has been well worth it.
I use Canva to create pins for Pinterest, YouTube thumbnails, and all graphics that you’ll find on my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.
Live Streaming Software: Streamyard
It is completely fine to just press the live button on YouTube and go live but I wanted more functionality so I purchased Streamyard.
Streamyard allows me to put things up on the screen like comments or questions and also allows me to stream on both YouTube and Facebook at the same time.
As far as live streaming software goes it is one of the most basic but that also means one of the easiest to use which is good for me.
YouTube At Home Camera: Canon M50
I use the Canon M50 to film my YouTube videos. I love it, it’s so easy to use, it’s light, it’s relatively small and pretty much idiot-proof (which is something I definitely need when it comes to cameras).
I don’t really use it when I am on cruises it’s my home studio camera.
YouTube Ship Tour Camera: Go Pro 7 Black
In the past I’ve used a go pro 7 black to film my ship tours. It’s small, easy to use, and most importantly for me it creates really stable footage without the need to carry around a big gimbal.
I think that the quality of the footage is great considering how small it is and how little it costs compared to more traditional cameras. There is an 8 version out at the moment so the 7 version is a pretty good price.
A word of warning though, every go pro that I’ve ever had has had a problem with overheating and the battery life is very short.
If you are going to buy a go pro I’d definitely recommend buying a few spare batteries so that you can change them over when the first runs out. Footage example here: Norwegian Encore Tour.
I have just a DJ Osmo Pocket 2 that I’ll be trying out on my next cruise. It seems promising as a gopro replacement!
Microphone: Tascam DR-10L
I do have a rode microphone for my Canon m50 but I usually only use it when I forget to use my Tascam Dr-10L. The Tascam records the audio onto it own memory card and I sync this with my video in final cut pro. It’s great for doing voice-overs and ship tours. It is quite expensive but I’m glad that I invested in it and I think it makes the audio sound much better.
Audio with Rode microphone: Here.
Audio with Tascam: Here.
Finances and Accounting:
Note: I am in the UK so this part may not apply if you’re from the US or other countries.
Booking Software: Quickbooks
Before I was a registered business I would use the QuickBooks self-employed app to keep track of my income and expenses. I have a separate bank account for business transactions which makes things a lot easier, the bank account is connected to QuickBooks, and expenses/income is automatically sorted.
I could then download the data when it’s tax return season. Easy peasy.
Accounting: Tax Scouts
Before I was a registered business I would use Tax Scouts to help me with my tax return. It’s like having an online accountant who takes your information and submits the return for you, it’s a £119 flat fee and in my opinion, it’s well worth it to have an accountant on hand to ask questions to.
The interfaces on the websites are really easy to use and it makes the whole tax thing less horrible.
Accounting: The Accountancy Partnership
Since registering as a business I use The Accountancy Partnership for all my accountancy needs. I pay a monthly fee and get access to their accounting software, they then complete all returns for me. Easy peasy.
T-shirt Design: Fiver
** Use the link above to get 20% off your first order **
I hired a graphic designer on Fiver to design T-shirts for me. I can’t remember exactly how much I paid but it was a brilliant rate.
I believe the guy who did it was from Lithuania! I’d definitely use Fiver again if I ever needed another freelancer to work on something for me.
You just put up a description of what you’d like and various freelancers will make you an offer. You can see examples of their work on the site.
T-Shirt Selling: Teespring
I have T-shirts for sale on a Teepspring store here: Emma Cruises. Teespring is great because they do everything for you, they print the T-shirts, post the T-shirts and deal with all customer service.
Having my own T-shirts definitely is fun but it isn’t a very good way to make money, on a T-Shirt sold I think I make something like $3. I did set the price of my T-Shirts quite low and you can increase the price if you want to make more money but I didn’t want to do that.
Everything I Know: Project 24, Income School
Around a year ago I joined Project 24 from Income School. I’d been a follower of the Income School YouTube channel for a year or so before I finally made the leap and I’m so glad I did.
Income School has taught me not only how to do practical things like drive traffic to my website and build a YouTube channel but it’s helped me to build a real business around something that I love doing.
The purpose of Project 24 is to help people to make a full-time income from blogging in 24 months, I did it in less than this time.
There are hundreds of videos, lessons, and podcasts which are constantly updated as the blogging world changes and a community that helps me with blogging related things every day.
If you are really serious about turning a blog into a business, I can’t recommend Project 24 enough. It definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted, it is a LOT of work but for me, it’s been well worth it. You can learn more on the website here: Project 24.
In 2021 I won a contest within Income School called the ‘ultimate content warrior challenge’. As a result, I now teach a course in Project 24 all about Patreon!
That’s All Folks
If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this post feel free to send me an email at email@example.com or drop me a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Taking a Cruise: Recommendations and Resources
Book a Cruise:
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Not Sure What to Book?
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Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance:
You could be stranded abroad, lose your entire cruise fare, or be hit with MASSIVE medical bills if you don’t have cruise travel insurance. I use comparison websites to compare quotes: Compare Quotes Here.
Our full list of travel recommendations can be found here.