If you want to work remotely – you’ll need to invest in some really great tech tools. This is your virtual office and you can’t go cheap. Trying to fumble with cheap equipment will only lead to headaches and you’ll eventually spend the money later – so start with the best you can afford.
I will spend $2500 on a computer, even if there is a $600 option available. I have a MacBook Pro and I know this machine inside and out. I spend an enormous amount of time on my computer and a subpar piece of equipment will not do. Make sure you have a great computer with all of the software you need to get your job done. Since I’ve been on a mac since 2005 – going to anything else seems like a waste of my time, due to the learning curve, so that’s not worth it to me. Get a computer that you won’t have to spend a lot of time re-learning, will be reliable and helps you get your job done easier.
This should go without saying, but you need to have a pretty fantastic website. It’s the first step to brand yourself. If you are traveling, working from remote parts of the world, or simply don’t feel like getting out of your pajamas – your website is tasked to do the sales and branding heavy lifting. Make sure it’s awesome, clear and allows people to do business with you easily.
Because you will be galavanting the globe while running your business, you will need to have some very reliable communication tools at your fingertips.
Make sure you have an up to date smartphone that can handle your email, texting, social.
Zoom is all the rage right now, and for good reason – it’s pretty awesome. The free version is lovely, but if you need to have a group call – it will cut you off after 40 minutes. Unlimited 1:1 calling on all plans. I know a lot of podcasters that are using Zoom now to record their interviews. You can also use Skype, GoToMeeting, or others that allow you to video conference. Be sure to use the one that is easiest for you and your client/customer to download, open and navigate. Reliability should be considered here as well. If your video conference continually crashes, no bueno.
Utilizing a software to handle your project management will be key for you. If you plan on working from a coworking space, a coffee shop, an airport, etc. carrying around a bunch of notebooks will just weigh you down. If you work from your home office, you will be able to use physical notebooks, whiteboards, etc. – but you can’t carry those things with you when you travel, or want to work from somewhere else. Get a project management software that you can use and that your clients/customers will also like to use. Asana and Trello are fan favorites but you can even use Google Sheets. Whatever it is, I recommend it be electronic so that you are able to access it wherever you are.
A VPN is a virtual private network. If you are planning to travel to different countries, you’ll want to have a VPN, otherwise you may not be able to access certain websites that you may need to get your work done. Some countries ban social networks and news sites, and a VPN will allow you to get around that. There are a lot of VPN providers out there that are inexpensive and reliable.
Taking payment virtually will be the crux of everything you do. Most laptop entrepreneurs will agree that Paypal is the worst way to do that! There are a lot of ways to invoice clients if you are working one on one with someone, or even if you have a very transactional business like ecommerce. Stripe is a fan favorite and integrates with a lot of different software that you might be using to conduct business. Wave.app is a simple and free accounting software that allows you to invoice clients and capture payment. An upgrade in plan allows you to set recurring billing as well. Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Wave, etc. allow you to do accounting and invoice/collect payments.
You may be planning on living out of the country – you will need to make sure your taxes are done correctly. A service like Greenback Expat Services can make sure you’ve filed your taxes and everything is done right the first time.
Depending on what you are selling, you may not need a ton of legal docs, but make sure what you do need has been looked over by an attorney. Your contracts, for example, should be given a good scrub by a lawyer. If you don’t need a ton of legal work done, consider a service like Legal Shield. It’s an inexpensive monthly membership, and you can run pretty much anything by an attorney whenever you need it.
Keep all of these things in mind and you are well on your way to living the laptop lifestyle.
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