You will have read the stories of the life of a freelance copywriter. Any freelancer actually.
Working from the beach in some far-flung place. Or spending a few hours in a favourite café to soak up the flavours and sounds while you create amazing copy for clients. You aren’t tied to an office, which means you can work anywhere. Right?
When Copywrite Matters first opened its virtual doors, it was from my newly decorated home office. I was happy to ditch my 2-hour daily commute but little did I realise that my copywriting services still needed to be mobile. The first lesson came with an all-day power outage and no access to my server. I realised then that I had simply tied Copywrite Matters, and therefore myself, to another office!
This post will take you through how I made my business more mobile so I could work anywhere (even if I usually don’t).
Head to the cloud
I use cloud applications for a big chunk of my business operations. I realised after that fateful power outage that I needed to be able to pick up my laptop and keep on working.
- Google Apps for Business gives me access to my email and calendar from any device plus a whole lot more.
- Dropbox lets me access my current client projects from any device, in any location.
- Evernote means I don’t have to worry about leaving my notebook at home.
- Yast Time Tracker lets me log in and track my work time wherever I am.
- TeuxDeux helps me stay on top of my to do list, on my desktop or my phone.
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn keep me in touch with the world (and distract me from work).
- I use XERO and online banking for my accounting and finances.
- I use CapsuleCRM (my CRM) and ConvertKit (email marketing).
- Skype and Zoom let me chat with international clients and students – for free.
- I have a VOIP home phone that emails voicemail messages to me.
It means that, although I still spend 80% of my time in my office, there isn’t much that ties me to my desk.
The pros and cons of cloud computing
Using applications that live ’in the cloud‘ can bring you freedom but they aren’t completely free of concerns. Let’s start with the advantages:
Access: This is one of the most obvious benefits as you can access your application anywhere you have the internet.
Scalable: Most apps give you a free or low-cost option to begin with and you can easily upgrade as you grow your business and usage.
Integration: More and more business applications are allowing integration with other cloud apps. These include accounting packages that integrate with CRM, and email marketing applications.
Compatibility: Are you on a Mac or a PC? It doesn’t matter with cloud computing applications as most apps work with both.
Low IT overheads: If you aren’t an IT whiz it’s a relief to know your data is living safely on managed storage and you don’t have to manage server backups and data security all by yourself.
Now some potential disadvantages:
Security: While the data security is usually much better than you could do yourself, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t investigate cloud apps to make sure their data security is guaranteed. I also recommend taking your own regular backups just for added peace of mind.
Privacy: This is an ongoing concern made fresh thanks to the popularity of cloud computing. If you’re keeping your intellectual property on someone else’s server you need to ensure they aren’t letting someone else peek while you aren’t looking.
Continuity: Freedom and flexibility are great but what happens if your business cloud application goes out of business? Make sure they don’t take your intellectual property with them.
Listen to what other people say about the cloud applications they use, or plan to use and do your homework.
Stay connected to the internet
If you do shift a lot of your business operations to the cloud then you also need to ensure you can stay connected to the internet. Without internet connectivity, it all falls in a heap.
Know where you can access free Wi-Fi locally. Know your cafés, libraries and your mates so you don’t have to waste hours searching for Wi-Fi access.
Use your mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. This might tax your phone plan, especially if you are overseas, so it’s worth knowing your download rates and tariffs.
Use mobile broadband devices. USB broadband devices give you broadband access with more certainty. As for the hotspot, it’s worth knowing your download caps and tariffs if you go over your download limit.
This guide doesn’t apply only to freelance copywriters. I’d love to know if your business is mobile and how you do it.