One of the great advantages of being a solo entrepreneur is flexibility. You can work from your home office, from a commercial office, from the local coffee shop, or from your favorite vacation destination halfway across the globe—IF you have the right tools.
In my years as an entrepreneur, I’ve worked from many remote locations and I have found there are a few things that make working on the road easier and more productive. Today’s post is about the hardware and other tools I find useful; my next installment in this series will cover the apps I find most useful.
To work on the road and stay in touch with clients, colleagues and suppliers you’ll need a laptop, tablet and/or Smartphone. Which one (or ones) you need is entirely up to your working style. Personally, I favor my Chromebook and Samsung Galaxy Phone. Because I’m a photographer, I also carry a portable hard drive so I can download and back up all my image files.
Beyond a computer, there are three other tools you should carry with you.
You never know when you’re going to get low on juice—and there’s not much more frustrating than a dead cell phone or tablet. It’s not always convenient to plug in and charge, so having a power bank that you can use on the go saves all kinds of stress, especially one that will give you multiple charges before you need to recharge the charger.
Mobile Wifi Hotspot
When I travel I try to always choose hotels with free wifi, but sometimes they either don’t have it or the signal is so bad I can’t connect. The solution? A Wifi hotspot. While you can certainly visit any number of locations that offer free wifi, sometimes you want to be able to work where you want to work—and that’s where a Mobile Hotspot comes in. Mobile Hotspots are available through your mobile carrier or at Amazon.com.
Hotel room outlets drive me crazy. Either I have to plug something in in the bathroom, or I find myself reaching behind beds or on the floor to get enough places to plug in all my chargers. Or at least I did until I discovered a combination power strip and USB charger. Now I can use the one outlet that’s somewhere near a desk or table and charge all my devices at once. This also means I don’t have to worry about whether I brought the right charger for the right device. I just need a supply of USB cords—and I keep them with my power strip—and I am all set. An added bonus on my favorite power strip? It doubles as an international power converter and works in the US/UK/EU and Australia (though I haven’t personally tested Australia yet).
Notebook and Pens
Yes, the paper kind. Sometimes when you travel it either isn’t convenient to use your electronics or you’re out of range. I carry a small notebook and something to write with everywhere I go because I never know when I’ll need to jot down a good idea or someone’s contact information. And it has to be pretty because I’m a sucker for cool office supplies.
You don’t need a lot of complicated equipment to work on the road, but these few well-chosen tools will make sure that your travels don’t end up being all work and no play. And stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll cover my favorite apps for working on the road.
Do you take your work with you when you travel? What tools have you found to be indispensable for working on the road? Please share in the comments.