🐧 10 tools for starting a remote business

INSIDE: Email Newsletter, Website, Automation, Finance, Ops, and More!
March 10, 2024

Today, in 10 minutes or less, you’ll learn:

  • 🖥️ How I setup my email newsletters, website, widgets, and automations in my remote businesses
  • 🎨 Tools I use for creation and collaboration with my team, clients, and partners
  • 🏦 My financial and operations part of my business stack

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🧰 10 tools for starting a remote business

I started two remote businesses in January 2023.

Product consulting and Money Abroad.

While plenty of people write about remote businesses, not enough people talk about how they setup the systems that power their activities.

In this newsletter, I dive into the exact tools in my remote business stack and how I use them.

Timeline of My Remote Business Journey

Here’s a few milestones from building my businesses:

  • January 2023: Launched Money Abroad as a free newsletter
  • March 2023: Crossed 1,000 newsletter subscribers; for consulting, got my first two product advising clients
  • May 2023: Made my first $$$ with my newsletter through ads and in-person events
  • September 2023: Tested expat career coaching, but decided not to double down; for consulting, pivoted my positioning from advisor to fractional product leader
  • December 2023: Crossed 5,000 newsletter subscribers, 5x’ed my Linkedin followers since January, and made my first $$$ with affiliates and courses; for consulting, got my first two product consulting clients

What is my remote business stack?

My remote business stack contains the mission-critical tools that I use everyday to build my businesses. Without them, I would have to find a replacement quickly or risk serious issues.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I will never work with a brand that I don't personally use or believe in.

Tool #1: Beehiiv

Best email newsletter platform

Beehiiv is my email newsletter platform.

When I started out, I was choosing between Beehiiv, Substack and Convertkit (which I used in the past). Ultimately, I chose Beehiiv because for its strong newsletter use case, all-in-one growth features, affordable price point, and API suite for automations.

Since January 2023, I used it to:

  • Send my weekly newsletters
  • Earn money through its ad network
  • Trigger automated email series like my Side Hustle Crash Course lead magnet
  • Store customer data, e.g. waitlists, purchasers lists, etc.

Try Beehiiv for free for 30 days, then get 20% off for 3 months.

Tool #2: Webflow

Webflow is the website builder that powers moneyabroad.co.

Back in the day, I built my personal website on Wordpress. I regretted this choice as it got complex to maintain and grow (plugin hell).

Given the chance to start over, I wanted a tool that enabled me to build a beautiful website easily, access CMS capabilities, and leverage simple API. Fortunately, Webflow answered my calls.

So far, I’m happy with my choice. Here’s what I’ve used it for:

  • Create a stunning website using a Webflow template
  • Execute basic (and now, intermediate) design changes myself
  • Add custom CMS to publish my newsletters, articles, and tool reviews
  • Auto-import newsletters from Beehiiv using the Make integration

Try Webflow for free.

Tool #3: Make

Make (formerly Integromat) is my automation platform. It’s the pipes hidden underneath my business.

Previously, I used Zapier but discovered that Make offers more sophisticated workflows for for less.

I used Make for a variety of use cases:

  • Import content from Beehiiv to Webflow
  • Import email form subscribers from involve.me to Beehiiv
  • Auto-publish growth and payments events to Slack

Try Make for free.

Tool #4: Involve.me

Involve.me is my online form widget builder.

In the past 6 months, I’ve experimented with:

Thanks to Involve.me, these turned into evergreen-ish lead magnets—I still see subscribers trickle in without me promoting them.

Try involve.me for free.

Tool #5: Notion

Notion is my all-in-one workspace.

I use it to collaborate with the Money Abroad team, as well as planning deliverables for my solo consulting clients.

Notion has helped accelerate many parts of my work, including:

  • Content Calendar - It’s quick to use Notion Web Clipper to capture inspiration, Database to brainstorm using an ideation matrix, and Calendar view to write and track my content
  • Online Course - I’ve used Notion to quickly publish and share resources, worksheets, and even simple webpages with my students.

Try Notion for free.

Tool #6: Canva

Canva is my all-in-one visual design platform.

When I was 9, I remember using MS Paint to edit my Neopet website banners pixel-by-pixel. Thank heavens for Canva—designing has gotten 100x easier since the days I had to draw a mustache on my Shoyru.

I’ve used Canva to design everything under the sun, like:

  • Logos
  • Website banners
  • Linkedin carousels
  • Lead magnet graphics
  • Newsletter thumbnails
  • And even presentation slides for my Remote Side Hustle course

I honestly have no idea how people got things done design-wise before Canva.

Try Canva for free.

Tool #7: Stripe

Stripe is my go-to online payments platform.

I’ve been using Stripe to reliably and securely handle all my online payments since 2016. It’s worked like a charm.

Here’s a few examples of I’ve done with it:

  • Accepted credit card payments from global clients
  • Execute rebates easily in a few clicks on the dashboard
  • Integrate with Shopify, Calendly, and Acuity (booking platform)
  • Create payment links and invoices for my consulting engagements

If you Google payment processors, you’ll discover a shocking number of horror stories of high fees, payouts being held hostage, chargeback hell, etc. Payments can honestly be a nightmare (I know, I’ve worked in the industry).

I count myself lucky. So far, Stripe has been a smooth operator for my remote businesses.

Try Stripe for free

Tool #8: Mercury

Mercury is my business banking solution.

As a small business owner, I’ve been disappointed by my business banking experiences in the past. While consumer banking apps had risen to a high standard, it felt like business apps fell behind.

Even though I just setup Mercury in November last year, I’ve been blown away by its easy-to-use dashboard, automated transfer rules, free wires, and simple integrations. Did I mention, no monthly fees?

I’ve used Mercury to:

  • Get paid by clients and partners
  • Integrate with my accounting tool directly
  • Gain visibility into my money-in and money-out
  • Automate my banking operations using Profit First system

I’ll report back in a few months on my Mercury journey. Hopefully, I’ll have even more to share once I discover how to get even more out of the platform.

Try Mercury and get $150 when you deposit $10k in your first 90 days.

Tool #9: Wise Business

Wise Business is my top pick for international business money transfers.

I’ve used it whenever I need to pay vendors overseas due to its low fees, fast transfer times, and versatility (over 50 currencies offered). As a bonus, it also offers helpful features like team management and expense tracking.

Try Wise Business for free.

Tool #10: Stable Mailbox

My US business virtual mailbox. Stable provides you with a permanent street address in a premium location and the ability to manage your physical mail online.

I’ve used Stable for:

  • Depositing checks
  • Forwarding my replacement credit cards
  • Scanning all kinds of mail, including PIN codes
  • Listing a virtual business address for various services

Try Stable Mailbox. (get 20% off)

🌐 Beyond your borders

🇸🇬 100 AI-related scholarships to be awarded over next 3 years as Singapore looks to nurture local talent (link)

🇸🇬 Singapore sets higher salary requirement for work visa from 2025 - expats must now earn $4,200 a month (link)

🇭🇰 Hong Kong offering up to HK$10,000 subsidy to women ages 40+ returning to the workforce (link)

🇨🇳 China expands visa-free entry list (link)

🤯 r/side hustle: List of weird side hustles that surprisingly make you money (link)

😢 r/digitalnomad: Which country has the worst expat community? (link)

🤑 Can the Typical Person Become a Millionaire? (link)

📆 How I can help

That’s all for today!

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:

1. Join my Side Hustle Crash Course (free) - Click here to receive my free, 5-day email course teaching you how to build a profitable side hustle.

2. Discover my tools for money & business (free) - 20+ tools I use or vouch for.

3. Work with my tax team - Get personalized guidance from a US expat tax professional.

4. Sponsor this newsletter - Get in front of over 5,000 professionals and business owners in the US and Singapore.

For daily insights, follow me on Linkedin or X (@dexteryz).

Join my Free 5-Day Side Hustle Crash Course

In this free course, I'll help you step-by-step to setup your side hustle for success.

Get the lessons that helped me earn 5-figures annually on the side and diversify my income.

Dexter Zhuang

Dexter is the founder of Money Abroad, a website and newsletter on building wealth for global professionals. Over the last 10 years, he's been a product leader, product manager, consultant and coach at companies like Dropbox, Xendit, and growth-stage startups across the US, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. His work has been featured in global publications like Business Insider, CBS, US News & World Report, and Tech in Asia. He graduated from Dartmouth College.

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