The allure of working online extends well beyond the dream of hanging out in your pajamas and calling your dog your “assistant.” Modern mobile entrepreneurs want to work online so they can live anywhere in the world. That’s why you’re here on my blog right?
Picking your business niche, outsourcing to the right people and finding essentials like a wireless merchant account, are highly individualized, but the basic tools to make your working life totally mobile are now easier than ever to find and use – trust me.
Get Smart with Smartphones and Tablets
According to the latest Pew report released in February 2012, 46 percent of adults in the United States use a smartphone every day, up 11 percent from May 2011 – that’s huge! The younger the user, the more likely they are to be sporting an iPhone or an Android device. In the 19-35 age bracket, market penetration for smartphones is at 60 percent and rising. But actual voice calls account for only 35 percent of the activity generated on these devices.
Mobile entrepreneurs have to get smart with their smartphones, not just to send and receive text and email messages, but also to do everything from send and accept payments to scanning documents and managing inventory. This type of activity is what underlies the rising popularity of devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note, which has a 5.3 inch display, and a host of connected Android tablets with 7 inch screens. Did I hear you say sexy?
Armed with a tablet and apps like SignMyPad, which is a paperless forms and contracts solution, mobile entrepreneurs can accomplish any “office” task anywhere in the world. The great thing is that in response, hardware makers who once concentrated on making small, “sexy” pocket devices are inching back up and giving people the display real estate they need to work on the go without being tethered to a cumbersome laptop.
Take Off Into the Cloud
Mobile entrepreneurs need to focus on keeping their files in one place — preferably a place that will not be destroyed when the airport security people decide to play football with your laptop. Putting your files in the cloud doesn’t just provide ease of access across multiple devices; it’s also a hedge against disaster. Who among us has not suffered that catastrophic laptop crash?
With apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android devices, BlackBerry, Windows, Mac, Linux, and access via the webpage, Dropbox is easy to use and highly reliable – and pretty much my most used tool when it comes to my business. The basic account is free and can range from 2-18 GB. The Pro 50 plan, as the name suggests, supplies 50 GB of storage for $9.99 a month or $99 a year.
Apply the same cloud concept to email and scheduling. The Google suite of cloud apps is popular for good reason. Log in with your Gmail address and password, and you have access to your mail, a highly functional office suite with cloud storage of documents, and a sophisticated calendar. Just plug your schedule and “to do” list into Google calendar, and get email reminders on any Internet-connected device you’re using about what you need to be doing and where you need to be.
Embrace the Video Conference
Video conferencing technology has changed how people live for both work and play. It is now possible for business partners on opposite coastlines to meet in the “office” every day, not just exchanging email and documents, but discussing projects and collaborating creatively in real time. No matter how advanced our gadgets, nothing can really replace face-to-face work time.
The industry standard is, for the most part, Skype, but don’t discount GChat video conferencing. The image quality isn’t as good, but because it’s built into the broader Google ecosphere, it’s simple for two people to be talking on video and working on the same shared Google document in real time. These tools are allowing productive working relationships to be forged at great distances and are an invaluable asset.
Armed with mobile connected devices, instant access to data and files, and leveraging all venues of communication including the video conference, a mobile entrepreneur literally can work from anywhere. These basic tools fit any business model and are the underpinning of managing your mobile business lifestyle.
Want to find more tools to streamline your business then make sure you check out my Ultimate Toolkit for Entrepreneurs. With over 85 free and paid for tools I’ve personally tested, it’s designed to save you time and money.