By Josh Weiss
I’m sure many readers of this blog are mobile professionals, running your own business while constantly on the go. Whether it’s just you, or you’ve got employees working under you, technology, mobile apps and services can greatly help you become more organized, efficient and profitable. Here are 10 things that have been valuable to me while running L.A. Creative Technologies for the last 6 years.
LastPass (free with paid premium option)
Keep your information secure and organized. Use LastPass to generate strong passwords and to help you remember the myriad account logins and passwords we need to remember every day. Keep a separate category for your work-related accounts, and securely share this with collaborators or employees as needed. Also use it to keep track of personal and company identification, credit cards and bank accounts, and any other secret you need a portable “safe” to store in.
Google Voice (free)
Make your phone number portable (and separate). Use Google Voice to set up a free new phone number for your small business to separate work and business calls. Get your voicemails transcribed and emailed to you, forward your number to someone else when you’re out of town, and login to see a list of any calls you missed while you were away from the phone.
Google Apps for Business ($5/month per user)
Communicate from your own domain and stay in sync. Register your domain’s E-Mail hosting with Google and get the same great functionality of Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive, but managed by you. The whole system is endlessly flexible, with plugins and extensions for any possible business case, and always in sync — I literally couldn’t run my business without it.
Freshbooks (free with paid premium options)
If you’re still writing invoices in Excel and manually tracking your payments, it’s time to upgrade your process. Invoicing with Freshbooks made my life so much easier and literally saved me hours every week. E-mail great looking invoices, auto-bill services and accept online payments. Save time and stay organized.
Get your ideas out of your brain. Sometimes you don’t want to be linear. Mind-mapping is a great tool for planning and brainstorming. Coggle is a super-flexible Mind Map tool with almost no learning curve. Create and collaborate on event planning brainstorms, article outlines (like I did for this article!) and add pictures to your maps.
Feedly (free with paid premium option)
Knowledge is power; keep track of what’s going on in your industry. Subscribe to blogs and make them easy to read on any of your devices. Truly the best way to keep up with news about almost anything important to you.
Whatever file sync service you’re using — Dropbox (what I use), Google Drive, One Drive, etc etc — make sure to keep your “Documents” folder in it. This will keep a copy of any document you save in the cloud and available to you from any device you have access to.
These are your tools for remote access. I’ve traditionally suggested Logmein for this, but since they stopped offering a free option last month, consider Teamviewer. Install this on the computer at work, and you’ll be able to control that computer from anywhere, just like you were sitting at it. So much easier than bringing it home.
One of the best ways to keep in touch back home when you’re abroad. Send SMS-like messages to anyone from anywhere in the world you have wifi
Your Data is too Valuable to lose – back it up. There are so many great and easy tools for this, you really should always be doing it. The best ones are automatic and free too, including Time Capsule on Macs and File History / System Image Backup on Windows. To be safe, you should really also be using a cloud backup — L.A. Creative Technologies offers a service, so do Crashplan, Mozy and Carbonite. Backups might sound boring, but they are really the most important thing on this list you can do for your business!
Josh Weiss is Manager of L.A. Creative Technologies and has served as The Agency’s trusted I.T. advisor since early in the company’s inception. During this time, The Agency has grown from one office in Beverly Hills into a multi-city, international operation. With a focus on the Real Estate, Architecture, Entertainment, Education and Hospitality verticals, L.A.C.T. can help you better manage your I.T. Infrastructure and, of course, implement any of the solutions below. Click here to find out more.