This post is brought to you by Natalie Sisson, The Suitcase Entrepreneur.
Solopreneurs are universally similar in two ways:
- They’re short of time, and therefore…
- They need to be more productive.
This is like a universal epidemic when you’re running your own business from your laptop, and trying to manage and run several departments at once while constantly wearing multiple hats.
Let’s face it, this is really tough, especially when you’re familiar with one aspect of your business, like marketing, but the legal side of it makes you sweat. Or when you realise you love creating content but can’t stand the implementation side of formatting, and proofing and layout of that content on your blog or client proposal.
Luckily in this uber-connected online world, it’s become easier than ever to run your business from your mobile device or laptop and actually save time and money, thanks to a crazy cool array of online tools designed to make you more productive and effective.
What’s more, the power of the Internet has paved the way for you to become location independent, whether that’s working from home or traveling in Thailand, and these virtual tools have been created with the potential to give all solopreneurs a huge sigh of relief to run your business seamlessly while you do work from anywhere.
With your limited time, you need to know what virtual tools work well and are necessary straightaway for your business. As The Suitcase Entrepreneur, I literally run my business from my laptop and smartphone so it’s essential for me to have a seamless system in place, which in turn increases profitability and offers me more freedom.
So below are five tools that I’ve hand selected from The Suitcase Entrepreneur book (where I feature a ton more to help you build and run your online business) that have made my business way more manageable to run on the go and from anywhere. Each tool serves a clear purpose in helping you to run those “departments” within your business way more effectively.
1.) OurDeal is great for creating, sending and electronic signing of agreements and contracts within seconds.
OurDeal works as a part of your law department. While they have templates for certain situations, they don’t create the agreements for you, so it’s a good idea to still seek professional help if you need a contract with specific terms.
It’s dead easy to send out contracts and get responses in the same day with requested changes, cutting down the time it takes for the back and forth with paper contracts. It also allows people to sign online, so you never have to meet in person but still have confidence that you have all your bases covered.
2.) Bidsketch allows you to customize proposals for clients (especially freelancers), cutting down the time you spend preparing them and using digital delivery and signoff.
Bidsketch functions as part law and part sales department. The law part offers proposal specific contracts which save you time and money. The sales part offers customizable templates and has really good looking proposals, which matters when you’re trying to land a client.
Finally, the fact that it’s as easy as electronically signing eliminates a lot of the back and forth that would originally occur with paper proposals.
3.) HelloFax is a digital faxing solution that eliminates the need for you to have an office and keeps you from having to download attachments, print them, sign them and fax/scan them back.
Think of this tool as a stand-in for having an office. When you’re working from over 40 countries every year like me, having a fax machine inside of an office isn’t really an option.
This eliminates the need for a physical paper trail and makes the process of business more seamless and instantaneous.
4.) LastPass allows you to store all your passwords safely and securely in one location, as well important data like bank accounts, and you only ever need to remember one password.
With LastPass, you can also securely share logins (without revealing passwords) with team members. It functions as sections of your legal and human resources department by protecting your information and takes away the headache of having to remember multiple passwords for all of your logins.
5.) Asana is a free project and team management tool that allows you to create projects and assign and track tasks, leave notes, links and upload documents– and it’s free.
Asana is a key task management tool which makes delegation and organisation to your team loads simpler. It’s something that my team and I use on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
Each task can be assigned to a team member and elaborated on with notes and comments. Then, when a task is marked as finished, the team members following that task are alerted so everyone is on the same page. You also get daily digests of what is past due, due that day, and soon to be due.
As a bonus, all of the tasks can be integrated into whatever electronic calendar system you use, so you can see upcoming due dates and assignments all from one place.
Of course we all know Shoeboxed is any solopreneur and location independent freelancer’s dream tool for getting rid of those pesky receipts and going totally paperless.
Natalie Sisson is a Suitcase Entrepreneur and Adventurer who travels the world living out of her suitcase and running a highly successful online business from her laptop and smartphone, teaching others how to do the same. She’s just released The Suitcase Entrepreneur book on how to create freedom in business and adventure in life. You can grab your copy here.
Image via Flickr