So you find yourself working from home now. Either by choice of by mandated action. What do you do now?
Well the good news is that people have been working from home successfully for many years and while this is not unchartered waters for others, it very much maybe for you, but we got your back.
I’ve put together the Top Tools You Need To Work From Home.
Your own space
While it may seem appealing to sit on the sofa with your laptop and work while binge-watching Netflix, it’s not going to yield you the best productivity.
I’m not opposed to doing it for a break for maybe 30 minutes and have your laptop there so you don’t miss an important email, but don’t expect high productivity.
Convert a spare bedroom or den into a workspace and make it off-limits during certain times for those house dwellers that remain home (you know who I mean).
Online Meeting Software
You’ll most likely want to be communicating with clients and team members remotely and being able to see them makes a huge different. While you may think Skype is a great option, there are two others much better.
Zoom allows you to host meetings, chat, record and even use it to record your podcast (if you have one)
They offer a free account version that will allow you to host a meeting up to 40 minutes in length. But I recommend for the $15/month fee to go to the paid version and have unlimited length and the ability to record your meeting.
Google Meet, formerly Google Hangouts is part of the Google suite of products. This also brings me into the discussion around Gsuite.
I’m a big supporter of reliable email and Gsuite is the equivalent to Office365 but instead of Microsoft it’s Google. You get email, docs, sheets, and google meet (plus many other apps). It’s only $10/email account/month and you get everything with it.
What I like about this because I’m a google guy, is that when you create google calendar invite, it will automatically create a meeting for your guest and you to attend.
NOTE: Now through July 2020 when you have a gsuite account they are giving you all the enterprise functions including the ability to host up to 250 people at a time (great for training), also live streaming and the ability to record.
There are many different scheduling systems out there and while many will do the trick, there are really two that I’ll recommend and have had good luck with.
Oncehub gives you the ability to create different meeting types, connect them on a single booking page, connect it to your online calendar and give your clients and prospects access to it so they can book a time to talk with you.
Sounds great right? Well, it is because it’s proven that when you give a client/prospect the ability to choose a time that works best for them, they are more likely to show up, and also it saves you time having to go back and forth in emails.
Also in addition, it’s always working for you. People can book with you for future days even when you’re sleeping.
Now it does integrate with your CRM’s (Infusionsoft(Keap) and Salesforce) but this allows you to run automations based on them booking with you.
Looking for something lighter and cheaper, than Calendly is my second choice. I have several clients using this and it works really well.
Want to try it out, you can get a free account as well that works fine for your basic need (only one meeting type can be active)
Online payments has always been a thorn in the side of many business owners to find something that is reliable, easy to use and secure.
There are two platforms I recommend that I use and each have their own use for my business.
Square comes with my ultimate 5 star recommendation because of what you get for no cost. When I say no cost, I mean that there is no monthly fee to use it. You only pay when you do a transaction.
Note: most bank processing requires you to pay a fee per month (even when you don’t run a transaction)
Square gives you the option to process cards manually, by sending an online invoice to a client to pay online (yes it does invoicing), to host an online store and it also has online scheduling if you wanted to kill two birds with one stone (hope you can still say that without offending anyone).
I use it myself for my Canadian clients who I’m doing small projects for or are on a recurring billing as it will auto charge each time it’s due.
I’ll make a note here that they do have hardware available for instore purchases as well (debit tap), terminals, printers and cash drawers.
It does also sync with your QuickBooks online & has a free integration with WooCommerce (I use that alot with online stores)
Stripe is another popular online payment platform. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Square, but it does have online invoicing, recurring billing and manual processing.
How I use it is, I have clients that pay in CAD and also clients that pay in USD. So my Stripe account is setup for USD and linked to my USD account. You can use Stripe for CAD as well, but need to have a separate Stripe account if you want to use it for both.
Stripe will integrate with many online stores and it also has a mobile app.
If it were up to me and you had to use one currency, I would go with Square.
I also use Quickbooks for my accounting. Part of their offering is the ability to use Quickbooks payments. This fully integrates so that people can make payments right on their invoices.
‘9 Common Mistakes Prevented by Invoicing Software’ https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/invoicing/common-mistakes-prevented-by-invoicing-software/ We also offer an in-depth blog post about creating an invoice template: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/invoicing/easily-create-template/
Building Your Website
You’ve got time on your hands and maybe you want to rebuild your own website. Good on you!
In this section I’m only going to recommend the hosting service I use and the site builder software I use because they are rock solid and the support is amazing.
In over 15 years of web design for clients I’ve seen a lot of web hosting company.
None have come close to the quality, reliability and support that Siteground does.
They have great prices, complete control panel access, free SSL security (which is almost required these days) and not to mention the very reliable support.
I highly recommend if you need new web hosting.
WordPress is the mainstream platform for websites. To go along with that you need a reliable builder tool that gives you everything you need.
ThriveThemes is a suite of tools that all work together.
- Quiz Builder
- Lead Generation
- Landing pages
You name it, this suite will not disappoint.
During your time working from home remember that your business is unique and it has many elements to it.
While the recommendations I made here in this post are that of my experience, there may be others out there that are better suited for your industry or business.
If you do have a question about what tool you should use or would like a second opinion, I’d be happy to speak with you.
You can schedule a time to talk with me below.