Favourite purchases of 2019

The end of the year got me thinking about what I’ve bought lately that made a big difference in my life or business. I went through every new purchase, subscription, tool or cost that we’ve had in 2019. 

The results kind of blew my mind. As someone who is always on the lookout for awesome new tools or time-savers, there isn’t a single shiny tool that I bought in 2019 that I think is worth raving about.

Sure we use loads of tools, but they’ve all been worked into the business prior to this year. 

On the flip side, there are plenty of new business costs that I’m super happy about (yes, you read that right – I’m happy about costs) 

Plus a few personal things. 

Looking at my list and sitting down to write this post, it got me thinking about two things. 

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First, I wondered how much USA people hate seeing a “u” in favourite.

But that’s not really pertinent to this post. 

The second thing is that I realised most of the costs are all things that significantly reduce our workload… by outsourcing to experts.

A lot of this, we used to do in-house or worse… I’d do it myself. 

It’s taken a while to find all the right services & people. But now I’m super excited about 2020 because I’m sure I’ll have more time to work on the business itself & higher-level tasks.

Anyway, that’s just some food for thought. 

Now let’s get into my favourite costs of 2019. If you’re wondering why I’m saying costs instead of purchases… it’s because saying you purchased a person doesn’t sound very good.

GoWP – Website maintenance

Recently I moved all our maintenance websites to GoWP. They are a white-label WordPress maintenance company with brilliant pricing. It makes doing the maintenance yourself seem silly. It’s a lot of work when you can have someone do it both better and cheaper (compared to your own time). 

One of my favourite things is that they have visual regression – meaning there are visual checks on your site after upgrades – so they know if something is broken immediately and can fix it before you even know what’s what. Probably while you’re asleep. Win.

Get GoWP

WPSpeedFix – Site speed improvement

After hearing Brendan, one of the founders, speak in Bangkok I was mostly just disappointed in myself for not finding someone to help with this sooner. 

In our agency, we weren’t speed experts. Sure we could get sites running fairly quickly, but there were so many things I knew we were missing. 

WPSpeedFix know SO much more about this than I could ever hope to. So it’s pretty nice to have someone come in and do all the things that need to be done across DNS, tag manager, WordPress and hosting all in one go, and for one attractive price.

Get WPSpeedFix

Product Manager

Who knew that a drunken chat at a dodgy bar in Thailand could lead to such an epic hire. 

With a background in operations and UX, Adriaan seemed like the exact kind of person we needed. Then out of nowhere he actually asked if he could be involved in Content Snare.

So we hired him. Already, the results have been amazing with someone to bounce ideas off and help design new features for our software. A lot of what you’ll see developed in Snare will be attributable to him.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a link for you to go and buy your own Adriaan. But I wrote it into this list because you never know where your next teammate will come from.


No list of mine is going to be complete without conferences. If you’ve read anything of mine, you’ll know I bang on about them to the point of annoying you.

Going to events has always been my favourite part of business. They’re a source of inspiration & ideas, new friendships, a bigger network and a wind down from the normal day-to-day BS of business. 

This year my favourite conferences were:

WPFusion – Membership & WordPress automation plugin

And then I realised I lied to you. There was one tool that I bought this year which is totally worthy of this list. 

It’s so rare that I find a tool, plugin or anything that is as well thought out as WPFusion. 

I chose it to set up my members area for my Zapier course. Throughout the setup, I found features that I never would have thought about – like one that automatically sets up new users immediately after they purchase. This makes the purchase to course process seamless. 

Every other system I’ve seen has required people to go and confirm an email or reset their password. 

A friend of mine who is extremely picky about tools commented the same thing to me – that this plugin is so powerful and well thought out. 

If you’re thinking about setting up a membership or want to sync up WordPress and your CRM, check it out. 

Get WPFusion


2019 for me was mostly about fiction books. It felt silly to be bombarding myself with business info even during chill out time. 

I still got through a few though. Here are my favs.

  • Do you talk funny – GREAT book on public speaking
  • The Antidote – a great book on why relentless positive thinking is kinda dumb
  • Just Listen – like “how to win friends and influence people” and practical
  • Super Thinking – only just started this but have already got value
  • Bad Blood – Not business advice, but about a business. And such a freaking awesome read

Personal purchases

This one’s super easy. The absolute best thing I’ve bought all year…. business OR personal, was this guy

Why? Because it’s made getting places fun. I use it to get to coworking, meetings, cafes and so much more. 

Living 12km (7.5mi) from the city, people seem to think that’s too far to skate. It only takes 35 minutes, which is pretty similar to driving with traffic and finding a park. And much faster than a bus. 

My only regret is not getting one sooner. Even in dollar value, I think it’s paid for itself in public transport or Uber already. 

This is an Evolve Bamboo GTX. If you’d like one too, use this link for some freebies

James Rose

James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare - a software platform that helps professionals collect content & files from clients.

Once an automation engineer, his new priority is to help business owners regain their lives, be more productive and get more done in less time.

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