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A Behind The Scenes Look Inside Our Tech Stack

Last week, I shared The Real Reason Why I Left Kartra (and Why You May Want to Avoid/Leave  it Too).

And, as expected, quite a few questions came up.

The primary one being, “What are you using now?”

Because of the work I do and how well I know this community (that’s YOU! Hiiii!), I knew this question would come up. However, I didn’t want what we are now using to cloud the bigger issue that was at play.

That issue?

Silence is an answer, many of our dollars are supporting it and it’s NOT ok.

Many reached out via email and Instagram about how much sharing my experience with Kartra had them auditing the tools, platforms and services their businesses are paying each month as well.

It made me both humbled and proud to be a part of the online business community.

It also made it clear that I wasn’t alone in not thinking to do this audit earlier.

We all originally signed up for certain tools, platforms and services in our businesses because 1) someone recommended them, 2) we were on the user side and liked them, or 3) the features seemed to match what our business needed.

And then we moved along with the other 292,202 we need to work on in a given day/week/month. (Totally accurate number there 🤪!)

Last week, many in the community committed to adding a fourth point to the list…

4) it aligns with our values and beliefs.

Which means that not only was last week’s message heard loud and clear but that now we can get into what happened after I realized we were going to need to leave Kartra.

It was time to make decisions.

Lots of them.

All In One Platform or Stand Alone Options… Which is Best?

When I realized that Kartra was not in support of the same values and beliefs, it was time to put myself into the shoes of practically everyone I support in Clients to Courses® and The Collective.

Do we go with an all in one platform again OR break everything apart so that we can have better control of each element in our business?

Working on these same decisions in your business? Just curious as to how what you’re using aligns with your beliefs? We’ve created a free spreadsheet of ‘Companies Committed/Not Committed to Black Lives Matter for Online Business Owners’ no opt-in required, simply click and read through each tab.

We originally moved to Kartra in an effort to streamline. After years of using everything under the sun, and making them all talk to each other, I just wanted things to be more simple (especially since I was handling a lot of the tech behind the scenes).

As an added bonus, we also were going to be saving money. We went from spending $411 a month to $149 a month when we first switched.

In my heart, I already knew what I wanted to do. I work with people who use all different tools and platforms everyday, so I typically have a pulse on what’s out there.

However, I also wanted to make sure I covered my bases and began signing up for trials of various all in one and stand alone options on the market. All with a reminder that simplicity was key. (Random fact: Shiny object syndrome can get me BIG TIME on tech so this reminder was vital.)

The all in ones that were in the running were way too glitchy and/or uncustomizable for me and I didn’t want my team to be at a point where we would have to move in a few months because of it.

Along with that, knowing the massive project we were about to take in getting off of an all in one, I no longer felt comfortable with one company having so many elements of my business in their control.

Due to this, it was time to choose the best of the best, in their own individual categories for our business.

What We Chose (And Why)

I’m going to focus specifically on what we changed. For a full list of all the tools, platforms and services we use, you can find them marked with an asterisk on ‘Companies Committed/Not Committed to Black Lives Matter for Online Business Owners’ (no opt-in required)

Course Platform: MemberVault
Want to know the thing I was the MOST excited about throughout this whole process?

It brought me back home  to MemberVault. 🎉

Now, I know I can be dramatic about a lot of random things in life (if you’ve seen my Reels on IG, you know what I mean). My love for MemberVault is not one of those things. They are the real deal.

Before leaving to Kartra, I was one of the founding members of MemberVault and I stand by the fact that you will never find a platform that cares as deeply for their users as they do. Don’t believe me? Take one look at their Facebook Group or contact their customer support and you’ll want to up your own game as a business owner.

I’ve loved this platform so much that I was still constantly recommending it as a must have for anyone who wasn’t looking for an all in one solution. User friendly on both sides and always improving, what more could you ask for?

Since I now became the person that no longer wanted an all in one platform, it was an easy YES to move everything over to MemberVault.

Landing + Sales Pages: LeadPages
Even though it now feels like a lifetime ago, the designer in me is picky when it comes to how I want my landing and sales pages to look. I also don’t want to get into hours of code to make it look a certain way, that the team could never duplicate.

This took us back to LeadPages.

From the customizable pre-made templates to the ability to create your own from scratch, we were able to easily move all our pages over, without compromising my Type A-ness.

While I did try to test out a few other page builders before moving everything over, none compared to the simplicity of LeadPages so we reactivated our old account and got to work.

NOTE: Many email service providers now give you the ability to create opt-in pages within their platform. You could also opt to create both your landing and sales pages on your website. This would avoid an additional investment for you. However, I personally don’t like all of those pages being on my website so that’s why I choose to have a different tool specifically for that. No right or wrong here, just my own preference at play.

Email Service Provider: ConvertKit
Funny story. A few weeks after we left ConvertKit, due to Kartra having email already built into it, I found myself talking to Nathan Barry at Podcast Movement. He asked what I was using for email and I told him that I actually just left ConvertKit as I was looking to streamline and felt it was the right move.

Awkwardddd. 🙈

His response? “That’s ok, different things work for different people!” and he both happily and genuinely continued the conversation.

That’s a style of business I can always get behind.

It’s also why, outside of the tech itself, I have continued to both recommend ConvertKit for those not using an all in one platform AND even use it for a different business we own.

Needless to say, it was clear we would go right back to them for this business as well. Between the price point, the mission, the support and the ease of use, it was a no-brainer in my book.

If you like “newsletter” style emails with all the photos and formatting, this won’t be the service for you as they focus on keeping it minimal (which is a conversation for another day but just know that while all those photos and such may look pretty, they aren’t all that effective. Minimal works.)

Shopping Cart: ThriveCart
This was one of the only ones that was relatively new to us and that we actually purchased before leaving Kartra, as we found that Kartra had some limitations with upsells on an offer we had recently released and it was worth it to invest in another cart..

When we knew we were leaving Kartra, this was pretty much the only decision I didn’t have to make because we were already in the process of having all new payments run through ThriveCart.

If you are running evergreen funnels that include bump offers, OTOs, etc. ThriveCart will make this the easiest for you to not only set up but track on a day to day basis (trust me when I say that after 5+ years of funnel building and tracking I know a thing or two about what’s easy and what’s a complete time suck you are left to pay your team for just so it gets done.). If you upgrade to the Pro account, which we have, you will also be able to do things like setting up automated emails for missed payments, expired cards and more – which is great for offers on payment plans.

Before Kartra, we were using SamCart. While SameCart was easy to set up, we didn’t feel it was worth the $97/month we were paying at the time to go back to it.

Evergreen Timer: Deadline Funnel
One of the hardest things to let go of was having an evergreen timer. For my fellow funnel lovers, who don’t believe in false scarcity mumbo jumbo, you know that a truly evergreen timer is vital for your funnels.

You also know that, while there are plenty of stand alone timers on the market, an evergreen one is a whole different story.

Thankfully, DeadlineFunnel plays very well with other tech, is easy to set up and only needs to be touched when we are launching a new evergreen funnel.

We use this for any emails, sales pages and/or webinar replay pages for an evergreen offer.

NOTE: As this is an additional investment, I only recommend that those I work with add this onto a funnel they already KNOW converts. This way, it’s a drop in the bucket for the monthly subscription, compared to the increase of conversions with it in the funnel.

Bringing It All Together: Zapier
So, how do we get all these tools to talk to each other? Enter Zapier.

We were already using this for both our evergreen webinar software and with the addition of ThriveCart. However, I still want to mention it as this is what is going to allow multiple tools and platforms to talk to each other, if there is not an integration between two platforms already available.

This means that if someone pays for Clients to Courses® in ThriveCart, Zapier sees that and says “Ok, this means that we also need to add them Clients to Courses™ in MemberVault and add them to Bonus 1 and Bonus 2 in MemberVault and tag them in ConvertKit so they can go through the welcome sequence.”

Essentially, you choose the first trigger action and then what you want it to do when that action happens.

The possibilities are endless. Endless to the point where I can confidently say that I’ve used Zapier for well over five years and still find new things it can do for me.

I will say though, there are times setting all these triggers up that make my head spin. It’s not so much that it’s hard to use, you just have to really think out each step you want it to take (and test it!) and those steps can be a lot, depending on your offer and funnel. So know that this is one platform that I am glad I can “set and forget” because it takes some serious brain energy sometimes!

How Much Does This All Cost?

Of course, plans will vary based on different factors such as features, usage, subscribers, etc.

However, I’ll share our breakdown for those that are curious.

Just Before the Move Out of Kartra:
Kartra: $149/m (grandfathered rate for Silver Plan that is now $199/m)
ThriveCart: $495 (one time, special lifetime pricing) + $197 (one time, lifetime pro upgrade)
Zapier: $25/m

= $174/m

After the move:
Kartra – $149/m (grandfathered rate for Silver Plan)
ThriveCart – Paid in Full
Zapier – $25/m
MemberVault: $39/m
LeadPages: $37/m
DeadlineFunnel: $49/m
ConvertKit: $79/m

= $229/m

NOTE: The prices above may not reflect the current pricing of each tool/service listed. These were the prices in 2020 and what we grandfathered ourself into when we made the switch. Monthly totals don’t include ThriveCart, which we invested a total $692 into. However, since that is something we have lifetime access to, and were going to be paying for in either situation, I based the monthly investment we are making off the other tools.

Regardless, we are paying more in the end and I’m ok with that because this move wasn’t about the money. It was about aligning my business spending with my values. Period.

Because, like I mentioned in The Real Reason Why I Left Kartra (and Why You May Want to Avoid/Leave  it Too), when you earn more you no longer have to compromise your morals for the sake of “the lowest rate.”

And this is me walking my talk on that.

What Next?

Well, that’s up to you to decide – and I want to hear about it! As always, feel free to reach out here on Instagram and let me know if you are switching anything up in your business as well OR if you’re excited to hear that what you use already aligns with your values and beliefs!

I love being able to go through this business journey together.

To learn other tools we use in our business (both before and after the move) you can check out this list of “Companies Committed/Not Committed to Black Lives Matter for Online Business Owners” (no opt-in required) and look for the asterisk.

This blog post contains affiliate links. This means that if you use them, I might be rewarded a credit or commission (at no extra cost to you). You can read our full affiliate disclaimer here.


One comment on “A Behind The Scenes Look Inside Our Tech Stack”

  1. Gina
    May 20, 2024 at 2:09 pm

    Fantastic blog Jess!!! Was curious, what do you use now to actually create your courses? Did you use Kartra for that too? and if so which platform do you use for that now?

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