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032: The Stack

Phil Powis
Phil Powis
12 min read
032: The Stack

Normally you would be hearing from Carolina this week, but as she is in the middle of a pretty big international move, I'm stepping to lend a bit of extra support the newsletter.

And to mix things up a bit, I thought I'd share something that I've consistently received a ton of questions about over the years of doing this whole online business thing, which is what is your "Tech Stack"?

The age old question: what tools should you use if you are trying to grow or build an online focused business?

For those of you who know me from my past business lives, you probably know I'm pretty passionate about technology in service of creating good human outcomes, and I can get pretty nerdy about emerging tech at times.

So while I'm always on the lookout for the "latest and greatest" tool that is going to make life simpler for me and my clients, these days I tend to slant heavily towards simplicity when it comes to how we've setup Sacred Business Flow.

Call it a minimum viable approach, if you will.

So, without further adieu here are the core tools we use to run the business here at Sacred Business Flow and for clients:

Membership & Courses - Circle / Heartbeat

For 99% of my clients where a membership and/or courses are a core aspect of their business, I would recommend Circle. It's easily the leader right now in terms of pushing the envelope with new features and capabilities, while maintaining relative simplicity. It allows your members to use their real identities while having forum and chat based conversations, and you can also create full-fledged courses on the platform. I like how you can build community around course content, which makes for a less static / flat feeling for your courses.

That being said, right now in our own business, we are using a tool called heartbeat, mostly because I was able to get a sweet lifetime deal via AppSumo on it, and membership/community is not at present a huge part of our business. It's meeting our needs now as a simple alternative to Circle (they match roughly 80% of the features I would say), but if we ever get serious about community, it's likely we would also make the switch back to Circle.

Website - Ghost

I've been recommending Ghost for the majority of my clients for at least the past 2-3 years, and it's what the Sacred Business Flow website is built upon.

Why? Simplicity. It's fair easier to maintain over time than Wordpress, and I love the clean look that focuses on readability, searchability, and organic discovery via Google as they have strong performance that leads to good SEO.

It works really well, and I don't have to spend much time tinkering with the site.

Simple is good. Nothing more or less than what we need at this time in the business.

Email - ConvertKit

Ry and I over at Empire Engineering literally built the course on advanced email automation via ActiveCampaign (Automated Intimacy), so it may come as a surprise to many of you that I'm currently using ConvertKit within the business here at Sacred Business Flow.

If you have a really sales-driven process, I'd still recommend ActiveCampaign, but if you are mostly want to do something similar to what we do with our newsletter, and send out launch campaigns from time to time - Convertkit is pretty great.

Like ActiveCampaign, it has strong tagging, segmentation, and automation, so it's pretty easy and accessible to create personalized experiences for your subscribers based on their preferences, and the types of content they are interacting with.

It's easy to use for beginners, but scales really well as your list grows, and as you want to start to dive deeper into advanced features.

CRM - Hubspot

This is another one that might come as a surprise, as I never thought I'd be recommending Hubspot for small coaching/consulting/course based online business owners.

That being said - if you are a solopreneur, or have a team of less than 3, the price point for this powerhouse of a tool is quite accessible.

That being said - once you go beyond 3 users its gets VERY expensive. So you sort of want to know that you plan to keep your business lean, or be comfortable with having a switching cost later down the line if you decide to expand the team and you aren't making enterprise-level revenue!

Essentially, once a subscriber shows a certain level of commitment by taking our harmony map assessment, or booking a call with Carolina and I - they become a lead in our Hubspot CRM. We then are able to use Hubspot to make sure we aren't dropping the ball with more 1:1 high-touch communication.

And if someone joins our Be The Flow 6-Month Coaching program, we track their progress, communications, results, and where they are in the process using Hubspot. It's worked quite well!

Calendar Booking Calendly

Theres a lot of good options out there, and most of them relatively work the same way, and pretty well, so a lot of this comes down to personal preference.

Other tools I like are (free for individuals and the free version is as good or better than calendly for a single user).

I also really like SavvyCal.

But in the end, I like the simplicity of Calendly, people are used to it, and one of the most important features for us is their Collective Scheduling feature - which allows us to schedule calls with clients where we need to both show up for the call together, and we need take both of our availability into consideration when scheduling.

Payments - ThriveCart

I've been using ThriveCart for almost 7 years now I think? It's generally proven very reliable, and while it has a ton of advanced marketing features, it's also extremely simple to use to get a shopping cart created quickly.

I also love the fact that is is offered a lifetime one-time payment, and of all the tools I've ever invested in, this one has easily paid off the most over time. So much so, that I think I've bought it three times for various businesses I've been involved in. It's that good!

It's very easy to connect to your Stripe and Paypal Merchant accounts for processing payments, and then build really nice user experiences.

And if you use ActiveCampaign or Convertkit the integrations run deep for things like tagging purchasers, or people who have started the checkout process but for whatever reason did not complete the payment.

Project & Task Management Sunsama / Things

For this category, I'm going to share two options, because in all honestly I tend to get bored with my task manager, and I find myself switching back and forth between these two tools at least once a year.

It's probably not the most productive use of my time, with the switching cost involved, but I think that by forcing my brain to think a bit differently, and re-engage with the process in a new way from time to time - it actually makes the reward of changing things up worth the cost.

Sunsama is great if you like more of a card-based system, and you would like to take a time-blocking approach where everyhing you are working on can be visualized and integrated into your Google Calendar. This is what I'm currently using right now.

Things3 is in my opinion the simplest, cleanest option for Mac and iOS that just works. Its also a one-time payment which is nice. They have pretty much thought of everything that you need to be productive, and there's no additional fluff. It's more list based without all the advanced calendaring features that Sunsama offers.


About a year and a half ago, I started using Mem, and it's been a real game changer in helping me evolve my thoughts, and attempt to improve my writing.

You can think of it as a second brain database similar to something like Evernote, but where everything that you enter into it makes it's artificial intelligence smarter.

Rather than being based on a lot of external knowledge, the AI seems to be optimized for getting really good at matching your writing style, and finding hidden connections between your content, so it makes for a very good creative thought partner while writing.

For example, I could say something like "For this newsletter, I'd like you to find some connections between my notes on the 9 fundamental frequencies and help me understand how I could potentially reference them in a way that supports the argument I'm trying to make with this essay". And Mem would look at any notes I have that reference the 9 frequencies and try to suggest some good approaches.

It's pretty cool!

Wrapping Up ...

There's obviously a ton of other tools out there across these categories, and in most cases there isn't really a wrong or right answer about what you should use.

I just encourage people to try to use well supported, user-friendly tools that are going to scale well to support future growth of your business.

I feel that too many people try to cheap out on sub-par tools to save a couple bucks a month, and in a way they aren't approaching their business from a position of abundance.

If they truly believed in their inevitable success, they would realize that using the most effective tools that aren't going to require them to rebuild their entire online infrastructure a year down the line is probably the best idea.

So, I feel very confident saying that every tool I've shared on this list can serve you from day 1 of starting an online business and scale up easily to over 100,000 subscribers/or customers. And I can say this confidently because I've used every one of these tools across this entire spectrum between my own businesses and with clients.

Hope this helps! I know this tech stuff can get overwhelming fast, so If you have any questions on what will best serve your business, don't hesitate to reply to this email, and I'd be happy to try to throw you some ideas back.


Be the Flow Coaching has one remaining spot for an April start!

We are looking for entrepreneurs who are ready to take the Love-Led Leap to build their business by getting out of their heads and into their hearts.

Whether you have reached a plateau in your business, or are looking to create something new, you are looking to grow!

Do you feel like you know what you SHOULD be doing, but you just can’t seem to take the next logical step? Maybe you’ve read all the books, taken the courses, but you still find yourself plateaued in your business, or getting stuck, not knowing what actions are going to create the next level of success you desire?

You don’t have to sacrifice success in the name of creating from a place of true authenticity and inspiration.

While giving your business all the attention it requires, you’ll also be invited to take a higher perspective where we’ll help shine a light on how the most divinely inspired version of YOU will experience massive personal expansion.

When that most powerful version of you shows up authentically, creatively and powerfully in alignment to a plan for action, this is when real magic begins to happen.

You’ll be supported in creating a new relationship with your business, so that you can experience a true abundance of time, money, and freedom. We’ll take a deep dive into your Business Harmony Map™, and create a structured plan for working with the fundamental frequencies that are most seeking balance. We’ll also leverage the strengths of the frequencies most in harmony to help create fast traction.

Anchored on a foundation of clarity that feels really good, we’ll help you create a winning business strategy guaranteed to get you unstuck and will hold you accountable to creating real momentum forward.

As you work your personalized plan, we will also provide you with physical and emotional support so you can learn how to manage your own energy and see the power of a structured plan when combined with well-balanced energy.

So often we underestimate the power of emotions and find ourselves taking action out of frustration. While it may feel like there is a sense of progress in the short-term, there is a big difference between action for action’s sake and truly inspired action.

You’ll learn to recognize and honor all emotions, tap into a limitless source of energy, and fine-tune your internal guidance system for powerful decision making.

Carolina and I have space for one more client to start in April for this 6-month journey with us!

Join us for a Harmony Map Discovery Call

Haven’t taken the quiz yet? You can do so here.

Who We Are Celebrating:

Marcelo Mansour - Sound Healer & Tai Chi Master

My good friend Ed has been raving about Marcelo's work to me for years, and while I met him for the first time last year, just yesterday I got to experience a session with him for the first time.

It was something else!

It's really hard to describe how I felt during and after the session, but I definitely felt like there were some energetic shifts happening.

I loved how he described to me how his whole orientation of using sound as a healing modality is towards the silence, not the other way around. Silence isn't the first thing you think of when you think of music.

Marcelo used a variety of instruments including singing bowls, flutes, and the didgeridoo. He also incorporate some elements of healing touch.

I left the session feeling energized, refreshed, and with some really great insights about a few of the challenges showing up in my life.

Very grateful for the work that he does. He's a bit under the radar, and super humble, but he is actually one of the prominent teachers who has trained many of the more "celebrity" healers around Costa Rica in places like Nosara.

He also does great work with the hospital systems in Mexico supporting cancer patients in very challenging circumstances.

It's in spanish, but you can learn more about his work here!

Sanación Vibracional
Marcelo Mansour, Sound Healer

Here is What I Want to Share This Week:

What we can learn from Metamorphosis (link)

I was reading an article the other day by author Gregory Meade, and learned a bit about the fascinating topic of caterpillars transformation into a butterfly, and how resistance plays a part in the strengthening of what are called "Imaginal Cells".

I made a quick video on how I feel this relates to our own journey of working with resistance.

Check it out

Training a Million Compassionate People (link)

Julie is an incredible teacher and guide who I met through my work at Empire Engineering a few years back, and I've been getting more curious about her work for sometime. I just signed up for her 6-week compassion course that started yesterday, and I'm very excited to go on this journey.

Blending Buddhist teachings, Western psychology, and neuroscience, this course will give you insights and tools to help you cultivate self-compassion, and navigate internal and external difficulties with more grace and effectiveness.

Julie's aim is to offer these essential teachings in the skills of compassion on a global scale large enough to make a real difference in our world.

It's probably too late to join the April cohort (although you could certainly send her a message and check), but she opens up registration several times throughout the year for this offering, so you shouldn't have to wait too long to give it a try.

Check it out!

Awakening Your Inner King (Link)

Ry Schwartz, AKA Hendrix Black is back at it again with a new release for men that just dropped earlier this week, called "Awakening Your Inner King".

This is a must read for every man. It's more than just a book. It’s a full course (with practices and meditations) for awakening and embodying your inner king and all the virtues he represents. The transmission on becoming Unconditionally Compassionate (and the corresponding Hero With a Thousand Faces” practice is worth 100x the price of the book alone.

Ry/Hendrix presents the book as a step-by-step practice, but a reader can easily start on the chapter he feels most calls and receive life-giving wisdom (and life-changing energetic shifts) through that process alone.

Check it out!

Memorable Quote:


Phil Powis

Co-Founder & Chief Strategist, Sacred Business Flow

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