pretty woman with laptopBy far one of the greatest things about being an online business owner is being able to work from virtually anywhere I want!

Now, being a mum to a toddler and wanting to stay close to my family, I’m by no means a digital nomad sat working from my sun lounger but I do love the flexibility of being able to work from my home, the local coffee shop or laid in my back garden in the sunshine :0)

Here are my top 5 tools for taking your office more mobile:

Dropbox

Cloud file storage is becoming more and more popular.  I now no longer save documents to my laptop’s hard drive and instead store everything in Dropbox.  This means even if I haven’t got my laptop with me I can access the files I’ve saved via another computer, my iPhone or iPad!  It also means that if any of my devices were to go missing or break down I haven’t lost all my work as I can just connect any replacement device to Dropbox!  You can get a free account with 2GB of storage (and there are also options to earn extra storage for free too) or you can pay for larger amounts of storage at a very reasonable rate.  As I set my iPhone & iPad to automatically backup my pictures in Dropbox I opted for a paid plan that gives me 100GB (not including the free extra storage I earnt) for just $9.99 per month.

Evernote

In the days pre-Evernote I had piles of notebooks for various different projects/goals and the sheer volume of paper was completely overwhelming.  Then there was the pain of carrying them wherever I needed them or worse still, not having them when I needed.  With Evernote you can combine all your notebooks into one.  Within the app you can create a different notebook for each project you have or each work area and keep notes within it which relate to it.  You can assign tags to a note to make it easier to electronically search for the note you want.  You can clip web pages, images, photos and all your notes will sync between your devices.  I can access all my notes on my laptop, iPhone and iPad.  There is a free account which will allow you to create and store notes. There are various limits to your note size and storage which you can read about here http://evernote.com/contact/support/kb/#!/article/23283158.  If you upgrade to Evernote Premium ($45 per year) your allowances increase and, the best perk, is you get offline access to your notebooks for when you don’t have a live internet connection. You also get collaboration options, increased security and support and some cool add ons to play with – check it out here http://evernote.com/premium.

Google Apps/Gmail

I actually use both these email solutions (business and personal email) and they are by far the best option for managing your email. If you run a business and wish to have an email such as yourname @ yourbusiness.com Google Apps is perfect for giving your business its own identity but with all the benefits of a GMail account.  Compared to some other providers in the market it is so affordable and feature rich.  You get Gmail with 30gb of storage, an online calendar that can be shared with others, Google Drive to save and share documents from (very similar to Dropbox) and you also get access to Google’s word processing, spreadsheets and presentations tool.  The email & calendar syncs with most smartphones/tablets/laptops without incurring any extra charge for this.  Google Apps costs £3.30 per user, per month plus taxes so incredibly affordable even for a relatively new start up.

Freshbooks

This online software has saved my sanity!  Anybody who knows me well knows I absolutely loathe accounting.  I get so frustrated having all these receipts and spreadsheets and trying to tie them together for tax return time.  I’m pleased to report since using Freshbooks my accounts are in a much better order.  Invoices are easily emailed to your customers, you can brand the invoices from your Company, everything is totalled up automatically, payment can be received via PayPal, PayPal transactions can easily be imported, you can track your expenses and upload a picture of the receipt, you can create recurring invoices, track time spent on client work and create a wide range of reports to give you a snapshot of your business finances.  The best feature for me though?  The super simple interface.  It’s so incredibly easy to use and they have a great support team on hand to help.  Freshbooks is accessible via your laptop/computer as well as mobile devices and tablets so you really can keep everything up to date anywhere you happen to be!  With a free account or paid options starting from $19.95 per month it’s really reasonable too!  Check it out here: https://virtuallyangels.freshbooks.com/refer/www

iPhone/iPad

Having owned lots of devices over the years I really can’t find anything that tops these!  I can access all the tools mentioned above on them, I can manage my social media, use Skype, email clients, create and edit documents, send email newsletters, create simple images for social media – I can even manage and edit my websites on the go!

So there are my 5 favourite tools to enable you to work more mobile and more importantly cut down on endless amounts of paper & notebooks (nothing stresses me out more than paper overload!).  Do you have any other top tools? Share them in the comments!

  • hillary roberts

    i use all of these also. They are all great tools!

  • Amy

    Hi Nikki I’m loving this blog post I’m currently going a very paperless direction as I’m always on the move working around Yorkshire and beyond.

    My favourite go to things are:
    -Notes on Apple devices
    -Insightly (free crm) customer record management website
    -Trello (although after your recommendation I may have to check out Evernote)
    -Excel spreadsheets (I use apples version numbers)