Technology is the key to success working at home. Sure, a lot of people worked at home before smart phones and computers, but they still used the technology of the day (phones, cars, etc) to get things done.
I love that technology has evolved to allow me to work anywhere I happen to be. I’m no longer chained to my home office desktop PC to get things done. Recently, I took four days away, and yet still kept an eye on my business. Here are the apps that helped me do that.
WordPress (Free | iOS and Android): I try to get all my blogging done before I go out or use a laptop, but in a pinch, I can update and post to my blogs through my smartphone using the WP app. I don’t use it much, but I like having it because you never know when you need to fix or change something.
Web-based Email (Free | iOS and Android): Most my email goes through Gmail, but I use Mail2Web to check my business email and delete all the spam and mail I don’t want. Web-based email makes it easy to check your email on nearly any device as long as you have service.
DropBox (Free and Paid versions | iOS and Android (includes Kindle): I’m in the middle of editing a book, but instead of carrying around a copy on a thumb drive, I saved it in DropBox. I can access the doc on my desktop, laptop and even smartphone. I don’t need to worry about having multiple versions because I’m working on one doc, instead of three separate versions. DropBox can save anything from photos, spreadsheets and more. You can share docs as well.
Evernote (Free and Paid versions | iOS and Android (includes Kindle): Evernote has been a Godsend for me because I’m organizationally challenged. I used to have notes everywhere, but never where I needed them. With Evernote, notes taken on my PC can be accessed on a my phone or laptop. While I’m out, if I have an idea, I can save it. Evernote can store pictures you take on your phone, capture websites (pages or just the URL), and even record audio messages.
Hootsuite (Free and Paid versions | iOS and Android): I manage nearly all my social media through Hootsuite on my PC and with the phone app can do it on the run, as well. Hootsuite helps you manage Facebook profiles and pages, Twitter, LinkedIn and G+ pages (not G+ profiles). You can follow whats going on in your feeds, who’s engaged (liked, commented, shared, etc), as well as interact with others through the Hootsuite interface. You can also schedule posts for later. The Hootlet in your browser makes it easy to share content you find while surfing the web.
PayPal Here (Free – Pay per transaction | iOS and Android): Nearly all my business is done online, but sometimes when I make public appearances, I have a chance to sell my books, and in that case I need a way to take payments. PayPal Here allows me to swipe credit cards and take payments that go directly to my business PayPal account. The card reader and app are free. PayPal charges 2.7 percent processing fee on transactions. Once you get the card reader, install the reader app on your phone, input your product information, including tax, and you’re ready to take payments anytime, anywhere. Another option is Square.
Expensify (Free | iOS, Android and Windows) Speaking of money, success working at home requires becoming a good steward of your money. This is especially true if you work for yourself and are eligible for extra deductions related to self-employment expenses. Expensify makes it easy to add, organize and track receipts. You can also track time and mileage.
Freshbooks (Free trial and then as low as $9.95 | iOS and Android): If you have a business that requires invoicing, Freshbooks is an app that can help you get it done no matter where you are. You can track expenses and time, and create reports. Other options include QuickBook Online, which offers several package levels from $9.95 to $29.95 per month and allows for easy sharing with your bookkeeper/accountant. And there is Zoho Books, which is more expensive at $24 per month, but allows unlimited transactions.
MiFi (Device is free with service): A MiFi is a portable personal wi-fi. Service is offered similar to your sell phone, in which you get a set amount of data per month. It’s ideal if you have to access senstive accounts that you don’t want compromise by using free unsecured wi-fi while traveling. Contact your mobile phone provider for information.
LastPass (Free on computer, small fee for mobile | iOS, Android and Blackberry): You can’t be too careful with your logins anymore. The problem is that the more complicated your passwords, the harder they are to remember. LastPass is one app to rule them all. LastPass will store all your login information. All you have to remember is your LastPass login to access it. LastPass will even come up with difficult passwords when you create or want to change login information.