Behind the Scenes at Jewels Branch: 25 Tech Tools

Behind the Music and How It’s Made

When my babies were babies I had a real addiction to Behind the Music on VH1. Give me a day of Gwen Stefani talking about heartbreak, song writing, and wanting to become a mom, and that’s where you’d find me. I loved to see all the work and effort and drama that goes into making music.

My babies themselves had an addiction to How It’s Made, a show that details the manufacturing process of things like motor boats, Fig Newmans, ice skates, and all kinds of other cool stuff. The technical details fascinated them and they would watch episode after episode and then recount all the details to their dad when he got home from work.

Turns out it’s not just my kids and I who like to know how things are made. You do, too! One of the questions I get asked most frequently is: “What tools are you using to run Jewels Branch?”

So, here’s a look behind the scenes at all the different tech pieces used to put together The PDF Workshop and the Jewels Branch Creative Community.

25 Tech Tools

Website:, WooThemes Canvas custom child theme designed and programmed by Jewels Branch

Hosting: Linode, VPS (virtual private server) administered by Jewels Branch

Media file storage and delivery:
Amazon S3 and Cloudfront

Video player: JW Player

Screen Cast Recorder/Editor: Screenflow

Membership Plugin: WooCommerce Groups and Wishlist

Store: WooCommerce/PayPal and WP eStore/PayPal

Course Management: WooThemes Sensei

Affiliate Program: WP Affiliate

Autoresponders and newsletter: MailChimp

Conference line: Instant Teleseminar

Content Creation: Adobe (affiliate link): InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat; Apple: Keynote, Pages

Microphone: Rode Podcaster

Data Transfer (FTP): Forklift

Computers: Apple MacBook Pro

Community: Facebook groups

There are many, many more tech tools you can use to put together online courses and membership sites:
from free to more expensive, and from more streamlined all-in-one services to piece-by-piece approaches. What you choose will depend on your budget, tech skill level, audience, Mac/PC preference, and much more.

Have more questions about the course creation process? Comment below.

How Can I Make Interactive and Fillable PDFs?

I get asked this question all the time!

What’s an interactive PDF?

An interactive PDF includes fields, like check boxes, and forms, spaces for readers to type in answers to questions. Many solopreneurs use these interactive features in worksheets for their digital products, and in intake forms for their clients. Interactive PDFs can also include advanced forms that link back to databases.


How to create fillable PDFS

To create PDFs with interactive fields, you first design and output your PDF (using Pages, InDesign, Word, etc.). Then, you use PDF software or apps to created the interactive and fillable bits.

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Software options for making interactive PDFs

Mac options

Adobe Acrobat XI Pro – $449
or via Creative Cloud subscription ($49.99/month)

PDFpen Pro – $99.95

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PC options

Adobe Acrobat XI Pro – $449
or via Creative Cloud subscription ($49.99/month)

Adobe Acrobat XI Standard – $299

Nitro Pro 8 – $119.99

CutePDF Professional – $49.95

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A web app option for making interactive PDFs

Web App (Mac & PC friendly)

PDFescape – Free

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Hire it out option

Fiverr – $5
Search for fillable PDF and you’ll find lots of folks who will create interactive PDFs for you.

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Choosing the best option for you

With all software purchases, it’s best to test before buying. Download a trial version of the software you’re interested in and test it out on a one page example of whatever kind of interactive PDF you’re creating. See how it works for you.

What do I use?
As a professional designer I use InDesign or Pages for layout and design and Adobe Acrobat for creation of interactive elements and fillable forms for all my client projects.

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Ready to learn more?

Join The PDF Workshop and learn more about creating beautiful, interactive PDFs for your business.

Thankful 2012

In honor of Thanksgiving, I asked my friends and colleagues to tell me what they are thankful for in business and in life.

Their lovely, heartfelt responses are a testament to the joys of life as an entrepreneur.

What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful to be here now, alive, writing and living. And to be able to use my gifts to support people to heal and see their magic in the world.

I’m thankful for Morning Whip and to know you! I’m thankful for so many things, but to have thrived through our first year as detailed here: so thankful!

~ Grace Quantock

I am thankful for my growing family, my fabulous team and my supportive and fun friends.

I am grateful for health, creativity, opportunity and unbelievable freedom.

~ Cathy Brown Sykora

I am grateful for my family and friends – for the love that embraces me and the souls that remind me who I am and how I want to show up in this world.

I am grateful for work that allows me to witness my clients shape a new, peaceful reality, own their power and step unapologetically into their own skin.

~ Wokie Nwabueze

Looking back on the last year, I see so much I am thankful for; first is for the personal trauma I went through a year ago. It was the basis for me to align my life with my beliefs then have the courage to ask for and get what I need and want.

If you asked me last year if I was grateful for what I was going through at the time the answer would be “no way” followed by a lot of crying.

Now I look back and I want to cry for all that I have achieved in my personal development. I am right where I am supposed to be.

~ Cheryl Bigus

Always and deeply, I am thankful for my awareness to Spirit. For being awake at my wheel. For the gift of knowing how to open my heart, face to the sun, and trust the sail.

The ability to see the wonder in children, the pain on another’s face, the magnificence of our human containers that we call bodies … and the beauty of us being here time and time again, in these incarnations at all.

~ Rosa Conti

I am grateful and appreciate all my clients and students past and present, my followers and friends. Each day they remind me that my passion is to share the power of Happiness in our lives and bring joy to millions, and each and every one is a stepping stone to that goal.

In life in general I each day feel blessed to live here and now and give thanks for technology. I met hubby via an internet dating site and now live in a lovely town where I have met new friends and colleagues. I keep in touch with clients, students, colleagues and friends using social media; as well as getting to meet lovely new people daily.

And the best one yet…I get to Skype with my beautiful daughters and grand-daughters, seeing their faces and sharing love and laughter regularly.

~ Jacqueline Fairbrass

In business I am grateful for the spirit-rich women who show up in my well-nourished woman program trusting me with their deepest desire to elevate their relationship to food and their bodies.

And in life, I am deeply grateful for the improvement in my dad’s health over the past six months. He went from Hospice to greatly restored health. And at ninety one, he’s looking pretty good in “a room with a view” where he is, once again, enjoying chocolate for breakfast.

~ Sue Ann Gleason and

I am grateful and blessed to share this journey of awakening health and wholeness with the beings, young and old, that are my clients. I am grateful that CranioSacral healing helps 3 week old babies with birth trauma feel expansive and safe in their bodies.

Being present daily with my own humanity and multiple sclerosis helps me compassionately support families with a child with muscular dystrophy. I am thankful to support women experiencing loss of a precious physical ability whether it’s hearing or balance due to an accident or illness.

And in my own life, I am grateful to be shown the doorway, right below the surface of my constrictive physical body, into the expansive ocean of F L O W. Now I can feel F L O W in my own body and guide others into the source of pure self love

~ Barbara Coon

In my business, I am thankful for the wonderful people I am able to serve. I am thankful for the freedom my career gives me. In my personal life, I am thankful for my family who give me the freedom to simply be. It’s all about the people in my life and freedom.

~ Theresa Reed

I am so thankful for the love notes that fill my inbox each week from my amazing clients, and for the chance to be a witness to the phenomenal transformations that my clients experience.

I have the best clients — they motivate and inspire me every day!

~ Claudia Olivié

I’m thankful for all the lessons I have learned this year after quitting my day job, for all the connections I have made doing this work, for my Lovely Boyfriend who has been the best supporter ever, for Lulu the Krazy Kitty for bringing such joy in our home, for the roof above my head and the food in my fridge. Thankful for YOU! 😉

~ Emmanuelle Lambert

I’m thankful that I’m finding a way to combine all of the things I love the most, and the strengths which come most naturally to me, into this itty bitty biz I’m building.

Supporting and lifting up others while being authentically myself is deeply meaningful.

~ Allegra Stein

I’m thankful for the freedom in life and business to be able to travel and work from anywhere with my amazing husband at my side.

~ Amy Scott

I’m thankful that I live in a country where I can vote and get education without risking my life, health, or safety.

I’m thankful that I live in an era with the technology to make friends all over the world – including my clients! And that that same technology lets me leverage my skills, passions, and genius into a sustainable business.

I’m thankful for my family and friends and their unwavering support, and my dog that thinks I’m awesome no matter what. And, I’m always thankful for dark chocolate!

~ Michelle Nickolaisen

I am so very thankful that in the midst of great challenges, I was able to bring my business to a place where I can support my family when we need it most.

~ Kimberely Arana

I am thankful I’ve created a business doing what I enjoy: traveling, cooking and writing. I am grateful for stepping into my power more and more and watching my dreams unfold.

I am grateful for my daughter, wonderful friends, a thriving life, living in NYC, and after Hurricane Sandy, not sweating the small stuff at all.

~ Tracey Ceurvels

I’m thankful for the INCREDIBLE community I have access to. The warmth, support, intelligence, passion and understanding from like-minded business women has helped me uncover and appreciate my own brilliance, as well as the joy of supporting other women along their own paths.

~ Zsofi Koller

Thankful for love+space to create+abundance+blessings!

~ Bri Saussy

I am so very thankful for the renewing and self-affirming power of the Creative Spirit…the knowledge that we are all Creative Beings, forging unique and awe-inspiring lives for ourselves in this World.

I am so thankful for Art to express myself through and make me feel of serve in my life.

~ Parisa Eithne Roohipour

I am thankful for the daily opportunity to grow beyond my perceived comfort zone and discover new skills, abilities and creative solutions that I would have never discovered otherwise.

~ Carla Golden

I am most thankful for my family!!! And I am thankful for all the people that have touched my life this year, inspired me beyond belief, taught me things, helped me be a better me.

~ Ursula Markgraf

I’m grateful for the chance to squish my kids every day, and to be able to get back to a calm center (eventually…) no matter how much craziness is going on in my outside life. A peaceful heart rocks! LOL

~ Julie Apolinario

I am very grateful I started my revamped business after having my daughter. I am thankful that little voice inside me always reminds me to put family before work.

If I had been successful before being a parent I know I would put ambition above all.

~ Amanda Burris

I am thankful for the freedom to make bold moves: from my marriage, our international transition, and jumping into new friendships with both feet.

I’m grateful for my health, my ability to create, and the people who support and cheer me on.

~ Nathalie Lussier

I’m thankful that I get to co-create with amazing clients – and that I get to support their transformation and growth on a global platform.

~ Michelle Martello

I am grateful to have the opportunity to teach kids about the importance of living a life of confidence, courage and compassion.

I am grateful to be a mom and to help my kids see the good in them and in others, to live fully and to make a difference.

~ Chantelle Adams

I am grateful for my true friends – those people whom I know are there for me regardless of the time or distance that has us physically apart.

I am grateful for all the love in my life. I am grateful that in every raindrop, there is a glimmer of light.

~ Nancy Lamb

I’m thankful for the freedom to build the business I love.

I’m thankful for my family – my kids and my adorable grandkids. And I’m thankful for learning and growth in my life.

~ Leanne Chesser

I am thankful for all the lessons I learned this year. I am truly thankful + honored to have worked with incredible souls as clients.

This provided me a refining of my heart + soul to keep on this path of awakening. Oh, and I’m grateful for all the support I had to make it all happen.

~ Hillary Rubin

In my life, I am thankful for God’s salvation, thankful that His mercy and kindness continue to pour blessings into my life even when I don’t deserve them. I’m thankful for the blessing of my amazing family, my daughters especially and for great friends like the Tribe.

In my business, I am thankful for every experience this year – good and bad. Especially thankful for the blessing of becoming a best selling author and of course for my husband’s never-ending support. Even though he still doesn’t fully understand what I do, he’s always incredibly supportive and willing to invest whatever is needed.

I’m also beyond thankful for all my clients and community of subscribers. Without them, I’d have no business.

~ Rachel Luna

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for? Comment below.