TOP 5 APPS FOR TAKING YOUR BUSINESS MOBILE
I often get asked about the tools I use as a Virtual Assistant. Folks want to know what I use to keep me mobile. There are so many apps and sites out there, it can be really hard to narrow down my focus to just a few, but I’m laying out the 5 I couldn’t do business without.
- Email: Everyone, in business or our personal lives, uses email. It’s a no-brainer. But you’d be surprised how many people are still using a POP email – meaning they can’t see their emails on various devices. Your email today just has to be IMAP so you can see it from anywhere. Also, a compiler is really necessary if you have more than one email address. As a VA, I monitor 18 email addresses. If I had to login to each of them separately, that would be my entire day! Being a Mac person, I use Mail and bring all my email into there. Others use Outlook (there are better solutions) and some folks use Gmail as their compiler. Find the one that works for you and get to know it really well. It’s one of your most powerful tools.
- Calendar: You can spend forever looking at calendars in the app stores. Do you need ToDos? Do you need lots of bells and whistles? Well, there is an app (probably 20) for that! My advice here is to find one that works with your personal style as well as with as many external programs/apps/sites as possible. Stick with the bigger names (iCal, Google, Microsoft) for the most versatility. You want to be able to drop something in as quickly as possible. Again, find the one that works best for you and learn it.
- Office 365: Because the vast majority of business people are using Word and Excel, I have O365 on all my devices. Being able to start a task on one device, then pick up where I left off on another, is the epitome of easy. It also works with all external cloud apps, so I don’t have to worry about anything getting ‘stuck’ on a device. Everything I work on is in the cloud. I can edit and email something to client quickly – and from anywhere!
- Evernote: Having a ‘notebook’ in the cloud is fantastic. I use Evernote for all my clients, but also for my recipes, house projects, animal notes – anything I need access to from wherever I happen to be standing at the moment. Many times, I’ve had a client call me to ask what their login info was for something, and I’ve been able to find it in Evernote for them.
- DropBox: I was an early adopter of cloud tech, and DropBox has been really great for me. Others prefer Box, OneDrive, or Google Drive. It doesn’t matter which one as long as you’re using it consistently, e.g., as if it were a filing cabinet sitting in your office. Set up a ‘filing system’ in the cloud the same way you would a physical system. It will make it that much easier to find stuff later. Plus, should anything happen to your device, you’re not scrambling to replace files. I’ve walked out of the Apple store with a new phone, and by the time I’ve gotten to the car, I’ve had access to any and all files. THAT is power!
What it really comes down to is finding the apps/systems/softwares that work for you and make your job easier. If it’s so complicated that you hate even seeing the icon on your device, it won’t matter how ‘cool’ it’s supposed to be or how much it cost, because you won’t use it. It’s all about knowing what you need, how you like to work, and finding the tool that fits your style. Oh, and I always try to find the free version of something first, to make sure I like it before paying for it.
I’m always happy to chat with folks about apps – to make suggestions, share stories about what I’ve learned, etc. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
Now, go out there and experiment! Have fun and remember – it needs to make YOU happy, no one else.