Freelancing on the Go: How to Create a Mobile Office

We’re a mobile society these days, always checking our phones or pulling up email on the go. Your freelance business should be portable too. Having a mobile office can give you greater flexibility, whether you need a break, a vacation or simply to be prepared for the unexpected.

Startup Stock Photos

What’s It Look Like

You’re no longer chained to a desk. Freelancers today have incredible freedom to pack it up and do their work wherever they want. Technology has enabled all kinds of changes, from tiny yet web-connected devices to cloud-based storage and apps.

The result is you can do your work from wherever you want. You can get out of the office and work at a coffee shop. Or go on vacation and not be out of touch. Or just travel, because you can.

All the while you’ve got a laptop or a device that’s giving you full access to your work. You’re still able to get things done. You’re not just a scout running ahead with minimal access to what you need, faking it until you can get back to the office and pull out the big guns. No, you’re doing your work on the go. You’re tracking hours, writing the code, uploading a finished product and sending an invoice. All while on the move.

That’s pretty cool.

Why Have a Mobile Office?

Let’s talk about why portability is important in today’s freelance climate. Why would you want to be able to work on the go?

Good question. Lots of answers:

  • Change of scenery – One of the hardest things for freelancers can be the lack of human interaction. If you’re stuck in an office all day by yourself, you start to go crazy. You talk to the cat. That’s bad. Having the flexibility to go work somewhere else—a coffee shop, library, coworking space, etc.—and actually get work done is a major stress reducer.
  • Vacation – Pulling yourself away from work and taking a vacation can be hard for freelancers. While taking your work with you isn’t much of a vacation, sometimes having that access allows you to get away. You can check in and do a little bit of work, maybe put in an hour to put out fires and keep things going, then be able to unplug and enjoy the rest of your day. It’s a little counter-intuitive, but having that freedom while still being connected is a big shift.
  • Travel – While going on a vacation once in a while might be nice, other people realize that freelancing means you’re no longer tied to a location. Period. If you’ve got the travel lust, this is your opportunity to see the world. You can work in a Starbucks down the street, or you can work in a Starbucks near the beach.
  • Portability – Sometimes being on the go isn’t a choice. Life happens: Your desktop crashes, the power goes out, the Internet is on the fritz, or God forbid, your house burns down. Taking a break is certainly justified in these cases, but sometimes you just need to keep working. The ability to work from anywhere means you can. If your hard drive fails, turning your desktop into an expensive paperweight, being portable means you can get back to work immediately.

So a mobile office offers a mixture of sanity, flexibility, enjoying life and simple crash coverage.

It’s not very hard either. More than likely you’re already mostly able to work on the go.

How to Create a Mobile Office

Here are some specifics you can work on to enable your mobile office:

  • Internet access – Unplugging might be a good way to get work done, but to actually have a mobile office and work on the go you have to be able to connect. Getting some sort of Wi-Fi connection is going to be a priority. You might be able to rely on Wi-Fi hotspots or sharing your cell phone’s connection (extra charges may apply). If you’re a truly dedicated road warrior, you’re probably going to want a mobile router so you can create your own hotspot.
  • Docs in the cloud – Once you’ve got access to the Internet, you should be able to get access to all your files. This is where the cloud comes in handy. You probably don’t want to completely rely on cloud storage for all your files, but as much as you can put the files you’re currently working on in the cloud, the more you can work from anywhere. Use services such as Dropbox, Amazon S3, Microsoft OneDrive, Apple’s iCloud or something else to get access to your files wherever you are.
  • Apps in the cloud – Now that your files are in the cloud, you need software to do your work. There are a lot of cloud-based apps, such as Google Drive or Microsoft 365 that can get you some of what you need. With services such as Adobe Creative Cloud you can even get Photoshop on the go. You can’t always work in the cloud, sometimes you need real software on your computer. That’s where buying in the cloud can come in handy. If you make purchases through the Mac App Store for instance, it’s easy to duplicate programs on any computer, which makes it easy to switch from desktop to laptop or even laptop to laptop.
  • Tools in the cloud – Like software, the more tools you can put in the cloud, the more productive you’ll be. Find online apps for finances, time tracking, invoices, productivity, to do lists and more.
  • Sync – Anything you can do to sync your stuff is also a bonus. You can sync settings, bookmarks and even open tabs in your browser, which makes it practically seamless to jump between computers. Sync your calendar across your devices (and with your family members or team) so you always know what’s going on. Keep your contacts synced so you always have current contact info.
  • Virtual signing – Use DocuSign to sign documents on the go and not mess with printing or mailing.
  • WordPressiThemes Sync is a good way to keep multiple WordPress installations current and up to date. You can access it from anywhere so you can handle your client’s maintenance needs from the beach. Score.
  • Security – Use a password service such as 1Password or LastPass so you can keep all the logins secure for all these various online services. Protecting your data is one thing, but your laptop is expensive. Have a plan to get it back. Consider apps like Prey or Absolute LoJack to track down stolen devices.
  • Music – OK, all the important stuff it taken care of. But you still like music to keep yourself productive, right? Well, find a way to sync it. If your music collection isn’t enormous, you might be able to keep it synced across your devices with iTunes. Or turn to an online radio like Pandora or Spotify so you always have your playlists or favorite source of tunes. Make sure you’ve got good headphones so you can rock out even in a crowded room.

Basically anything you use to do your job on a daily basis you need to be able to access on the go. Find ways to set it up and you’ve got yourself a mobile office.

And if you have your mobile office set up from the get go, then you won’t have to waste time transferring files or setting things up. You’ll always be ready to roll.

There’s also a minimalist mindset at work here. The more you can strip away what’s really required to do your job, the better. That’s less stuff to get in the way. Less stuff to blow your profit margin on. Fewer distractions that keep you from getting paid.

Working lighter and being more portable can turn you into a freelance road warrior with your own mobile office.

The post Freelancing on the Go: How to Create a Mobile Office appeared first on iThemes.

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Guitar 101

You can play a lot of music with guitar, from a simple love song to heavy metal song. It is one of the most versatile instruments ever invented and it is so easy to play! You just need to master the fundamentals of guitar to make it work. Although, it may take a lot of hard work to know all the basics and you may need to have a formal instruction to fully understand the potential of the instruments.

Before you get excited strumming your guitar, you really need to learn some of the basic terms and parts of a guitar that you will need to know in order to proceed with the lesson.

STRINGS. A regular guitar has six strings. They come in different size and note value as well. In a typical tuning, the first string, which is found at the bottom {the thinnest and highest sounding among the six), is an E note. The next string (thicker than the first and the sound is lower) is a B note. The third string up is a G note. The next string is a D, the 5th string is an A and the last string which is the thickest and lowest sounding and the closest to your body is another E. When in tune, the 1st and the 6th string should produce the same note but different pitches.
FRETS. If the string divides the guitar from left to right, frets are the small metal strips that divide the instrument into sections from top to bottom. Some guitarists would describe this as the space on the neck between each metal strip. Therefore, the 2nd fret would refer to the second gap between frets that is found on the neck than the second actual metal piece. Placing your fingers on a string in between two of the frets can enable you to play a note. The higher you get on the frets, the higher the note sounds. Lastly, each fret is a half-step higher than the previous one.

Other terms to remember:

Headstock. This is the top-most part of the instrument where the tuning pegs are situated.
Nut. A small piece of material that can be found in the junction of the headstock and the neck. You can find small grooves carved out in order to guide the guitar strings to their tuning pegs.
Neck. This is the long and slim part of the guitar that holds the frets and strings. This is where you place your fingers in order to play individual notes or to create chords.
Body. This is the large base of the guitar that is connected to the neck. The body of the guitar differs with each kind. For instance, acoustic guitars usually have hallowed out bodies, with the circular sound hole in the middle to project the sound of the instruments. On the other hand, the body of the electric guitars has ‘pick ups’ instead of sound holes to capture and project the sound of the strings being played.
Tuning Keys. Keep the strings in place and permits you to adjust the pitch of the string by turning the peg
Bridge. It is a small piece of hardware being utilized to anchor the strings at the base of the body

Knowing these basic terms will help you get through with your lessons. So, ready your guitar and let the jamming start.

Imagine how great it will feel to learn the guitar real fast! Click here to find out about guitar lessons online and soon you’ll be strummin away.

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Build Your Business: How to Grow Your Freelance Career

Your freelance business doesn’t grow automatically. You don’t have magic beans. Nice try. You can’t just do work, you have to work at it. You have to build your business.

Once your business is off and running it’s easy to forget this. At the beginning you’re doing all kinds of work to build your business. You’re writing a business plan, setting up bank accounts and doing all that initial work. But after a while you have the basics set up and you’re focused on client work.

This is not the time to stop building your business.

You never stop building your business.

Carve Time to Build Your Business

Web designer Brian Casel says:

“Make an effort to break off a chunk of your time—maybe 20%—to work on your own projects.”

That’s how you get better. It’s an opportunity to your stretch your creative muscles. Working on your business is how you bring in more work, boost your efficiency and make more money. Otherwise you’re just clocking hours for someone else.

It’s not easy. The temptation is to assume your business is built and get back to client work. After all, client work pays the bills. But when you build your business you’re investing in yourself.

Don’t cheat your future self. Take the time now and put in the effort to improve your processes, boost your skills, learn something new, stretch yourself and just get better.

What Can You Build?

There are all kinds of things you can do to build your business:

  • Financial processes – Improve your invoices, budgeting, tracking or more.
  • ExpandConsider hiring an employee, subcontractor or intern.
  • Get organized – Start a new system to keep yourself on track or make yourself more productive.
  • Marketing – Work on your brand, website, blog, email newsletter, webinar, social media, ebook, networking, etc.
  • Sales process – Tweak your offering, prices, consultations, pitch, proposals, contracts, etc.
  • Make life easierAutomate WordPress to make your job easier.
  • New services – Offer maintenance, security or backup services.
  • Help clients – Develop a client training system.
  • Products – Create a product you can sell.
  • Skills – Take a class or improve your skills (like learning ecommerce).
  • Education – Read a book or learn something new.
  • Creative juices – Find ways to recharge creatively.
  • Mentor – Find a coach who can help you go to the next level.

But here’s some bottom-line advice from Brian Casel:

“Work on things that make you uncomfortable.”

Sure you can redesign your website. Again. But you’re already good at that. You’re not stretching yourself or doing anything that’s going to vastly improve your business. But working on your sales pitch? Might not be your favorite thing to do, but it probably needs work and will have a big impact on your income.

Do the work to build your business. All that effort will pay off.

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Intro to WordPress Web Design [Webinar Replays]

If you missed our Intro to WordPress Web Design Workshop, here are the webinar replays of all six sessions. This course covers everything from the history of WordPress to how to set up your site correctly, to how WordPress displays information and how that process can be modified and much more.

Session 1 – What is WordPress?

Understand what WordPress is, where it came from, why everything is a “post”—and who exactly is Dolly?

Session 2 – Setting Up WordPress Correctly

Unlock your WordPress site – learn how to set up your site the right way

Session 3 – How to Display content in WordPress

Unmask WordPress – learn the basics of how WordPress displays content for your site

Session 4 – All about Plugins

Supercharge your WordPress site with plugins

Session 5 – Managing WordPress & Tips/Tricks

Simplify your life with WordPress management tools and tips

Session 6 – Continuing the Learning

What to do to take your knowledge of WordPress to the next level

Check out our entire series of free WordPress tutorials

Be sure to check out iThemes Training and our entire library of free WordPress tutorials.

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