I used to have an office. I had an office number and a receptionist. I even had photos of family, friends, and notable moments in my life carefully hung on walls that took me three months to decide what colour to paint. I settled on turquoise. My office had fresh cut flowers, file cabinets, a photocopier – really the whole nine yards. The only thing that my office didn’t have ninety percent of the time was me.
I am in the vast majority of business owners and entrepreneurs who has learned the benefits of taking my business on the road and using technology to do business from anywhere. Because you see, technology is a powerful thing, especially for small business owners, and learning how to use it correctly can accomplish so much, from saving money to streamlining processes and working more effectively. In my case, implementing mobile business technology has allowed me to eliminate the geographic challenges and constraints that exist when you’re confined within the four walls of a physical space, and that flexibility is paramount in my field, where I’m more often than not handling transactions from a continent away. So I thought I’d share some of my lessons learned in creating a mobile operation that allows you to work any time, and from anywhere.
One of the first things I had to do was change my laptop. As much as I loved the display on my 17″ screen (not to mention the hot pink matte finish), within a few days of lugging around what began to feel like aerobic weights in my briefcase, I quickly realized that the weight and size of my laptop was going to be more important than I had thought. Shopping for my new laptop, I made sure to pay attention to those specifications and eliminate my need for a desktop computer at an office altogether. Mind you, my line of business doesn’t necessitate a powerhouse system, so I could get away with a streamlined netbook, and as of late have switched to a tablet, but there are tons of phenomenal systems in small packages on the market that might just be worth the investment.
I’ve also done my due diligence in ensuring that all my data is accessible from everywhere. I choose to manually email myself files on a consistent basis. Most of my colleagues use USB drives to keep files portable. More technologically savvy individuals might utilize online backup services that synchronize their data across multiple devices. Whatever the method, the idea is the same. Consistent accessibility of your data is key in setting up your own mobile office.
The basics are the business in this transition! My internet has got to be up to par, and portable! I have a high-speed mobile access card, but there are tons of options available from phone providers or other companies. I have learned the hard way, wi-fi hot spots just aren’t going to cut it. I always have an extra mouse, extra battery, and I’m really thinking of investing in a portable printer and scanner. I think I might actually just be in love with all things portable.
But without a doubt, my favourite aspect of my mobile office is the impact it has had on the environmental footprint of my business. I’ve created a virtually paperless office. I scan hard copy files into digital formats, I manage my finances and budgets on my computer, I take meeting notes in my word processing system and I always have access to all formerly paper documents on my computer. It’s professional, it’s seamless, and let’s face it. Going green is oh so 2017. And it works.
This is what worked for me, but what works for you will be a very individual process, all based on your lifestyle, your line of your work, and your personal preferences. Whatever you come up with though, please remember to water the plants at your actual office. It’s only right.