You Need a 'Mobile Work Space.' These 6 Tools Will Help You Create One.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Today's entrepreneur needs to be on the move at a moment's notice. And, thankfully, It's easier to work remotely than ever before (and there are 6.1 million remote workers to prove it).
But if you want to be as productive as possible while away from your main office, you need a mobile work space or kit you can carry with you and set up practically anywhere. That way, if you need to join an emergency conference call, you can. If you get stuck in traffic, you can pull over and get some work done while it clears.
So, what exactly should this ultimate "mobile work space" include? Here are the key items needed.
1. A laptop and/or tablet and/or smartphone
First and foremost, you'll need some kind of "base" device on which to do the major portion of your work, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone. For most entrepreneurs, a laptop offers the widest range of functionality, and should be your top choice; however, a tablet or smartphone can work in a pinch (especially if most of your work is app-based).
When you set up your new device, make sure to install plenty of apps and tools to make remote work easier, such as Skype, Trello, Evernote and Google Chrome, with all your favorite browser plugins.
2. Backup batteries
Most laptops run on lithium-ion batteries, which can be swapped out if you need a quick replacement. The average laptop battery loses 80 percent of its original capacity within a year or two of its original purchase, so prepare by always having a backup.
3. Charging cables
Not all batteries are easily swappable, so it pays to have a spare charging cable for each device on which you rely. Charging cables are relatively inexpensive; therefore it's advisable to keep multiple copies in various places (in your office,car and "mobile office" kit). If your vehicle doesn't have a USB charging port, you can usually purchase a converter for a few dollars.
4. A mobile hotspot
Most public places offer free wi-fi these days, but public wi-fi isn't always secure or reliable. Plus, you may end up stranded someplace without direct internet access. Because we rely so heavily on internet access for most of our work, it's a good idea to buy a mobile hotspot.
Jailbroken mobile hotspots -- which can be used in combination with any data provider -- are available for a few hundred dollars ("jailbroken" means they've been modified from the manufacturer's restrictions). And there are many potential models to choose from, each with different advantages. So, consult a reviews site or a niche expert like Mr. Aberthon before making a final decision.
5. A planner or notebook
This may seem old-fashioned, but it's wise to invest in a planner, or at least a notebook, to have on hand. In case your mobile hotspot gives out or your tech devices experience a malfunction, you'll find that it pays to have a reliable place to take notes, make plans and sketch out new ideas.
Plus, if you invest in a thick or hardcover unit, it can double as a platform for your laptop (or similar device).
If you're going to be communicating in a public place, you'll need a headphone and mic setup to avoid disrupting the people around you and to improve your hearing. Noise-cancelling headphones are also a good investment that can help you focus even in chaotic environments.
Sites like the Wirecutter offer detailed reviews on different headphones, for all goals and budgets, so do your research before buying a pair for your remote office kit.
Make sure you have all these items together, at all times, ready for use, no matter where you are. They should be able to fit neatly into a laptop bag, briefcase or similarly small bag. With these tools in tow, you won't find it hard to remain mobile.
Going fully remote
There are advantages and disadvantages to operating fully remotely as an entrepreneur. If you have a team in place, and a central location, you'll want to stay integrated by operating at least a few days a week in the office; after all, you can't phone in your company culture.
If you are away a large part of the time, however, it may be in your best interest to establish "office days" and "mobile days," on a predictable rotation.