This is a Guest Post by Tony Ruiz.
What is mobility? By definition, mobility is the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. With the internet, mobility has allowed individuals to take their work anywhere. It’s ultimately what the virtual business lifestyle is all about, packing up within 4 hours notice and knowing you have access to your work as long as a secure wi-fi connection is nearby.
Becoming mobile is nothing to be intimated by, it’s actually fairly simple, especially with the technology we have access too. The sooner you can set yourself up for mobility the better. All it takes is having the right mindset and having the correct infrastructure in place. Most of the tools I’m going mention in this article have already been discussed within the VBL community but it’s one thing to know what tools to use and another thing to know how to actually implement them.
I’m going to show you some of the best tools online to use, why you should use them, and how to combined them together to work seamlessly. Sounds good? Great but first lets discuss…the mindset.
The Mobile Mindset
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. -Jim Rohn
Lets start with this, to become a mobile entrepreneur you must change your mindset to think in a way certain way. All cloud based tools are now your best friend. Ask yourself this question whenever using an application, saving a file, or working on a project. “Can I access this from a library computer?” In other words, can you access your work files from a computer you don’t own?
If not, you need to think about how you can. If you use thumb-drives to save and access documents use them only to backup documents now. You’ll discover in this post why you no longer need to depend on thumb-drives. I can’t count how many time I lost a thumb-drive that was attached to my keys. I learned the hard way and if I ever lost one now, it won’t be the end of the world.
Just remember, if it’s in the cloud (can be accessed online) it’s your friend. Everything else is used for back-up purposes.
The Tools (aka Weapons of Mobility)
Assuming you already own a laptop and perhaps a smartphone or tablet I’m going to be talking about web-bassed applications you’ll be able to use to help enhance your mobile lifestyle. Keep in mind, you can use any tools you come across – and please leave some of your favorite tools in the comments below if you don’t see them here. I’m simply going to show you the tools I would recommend to anyone making the switch to super-mobility. The idea is to understand how you can create your own super-mobile infrastructure by seeing how I setup mine. Feel free to plug and play, however the framework still applies.
Lets start with your Internet browser. I prefer using the Firefox browser by default, however the Google Chrome browser is getting fairly popular now and some prefer the Safari browser. Use one of the three browsers mentioned above, you’ll make your like a whole lot easier. When it comes to using a browser you want to make sure you have one very important plugin installed – it’s called Delicious. Delicious is a popular social bookmarking tool that allows you to save your bookmarks in the cloud (online). Before installing the plugin make sure you have an account by signing up here.
To install the Delicious plugin for the Firefox browser click here. To install the Delicious plugin for the Safari browser click here. To install the Delicious plugin for the Chrome browser click here.
Every website I bookmark for future reference is bookmarked through delicious. Since it is a social bookmarking website all your bookmarks are available to the public by default. I just mark my bookmarks private since most my bookmarks are for my personal reference. I also export my delicious bookmarks time to time so I have a backup file.
Having your bookmarks on delicious (marked as private) acts just as if you would bookmark items on your browser. Instead now you can access bookmarked sites anywhere. It’s a wonderful thing!
Practice getting in the habit of bookmarking websites via delicious instead of your browsers bookmarking folders.
NOTE: Firefox just came out with the Firefox 4 update and the delicious plugin is not fully compatible with Firefox 4 yet. I’m personally not updating to Firefox 4 till the delicious becomes compatible.
Saving Files and Documents in the Cloud
It is no secret that Dropbox is Chris’s favorite web-based application. Dropbox is my personal favorite when it comes to saving files and documents online too. For those of you that don’t know what Dropbox is, it’s a website that syncs your files online and to any computer connected to your account (it’s free to get stated). To learn more watch the demo video here.
I have my iMac, MacBook, and iPhone connected to my Dropbox account (Yes, you can also connect a PC to your Dropbox account).
When you signup for Dropbox they start you off with 2 GB of free space and they also give you the opportunity to earn more space without upgrading to their premium packages.
BONUS: You can earn additional space by clicking the “Get Started” tab in your dropbox account, referring college friends with an .edu email, referring friends through a referral link, and by connecting to your social media accounts. I have 5 GB+ just by using these methods. But if you want to get serious just upgrade to a premium package.
The whole purpose of using Dropbox is getting in the mindset of saving your files online. For example I wrote this article both on my iMac and MacBook because I have Dropbox folders connected to each of them, if I wanted too I could have accessed the file on a computer thats not connected with my Dropbox account by going to Dropbox.com, logging into my account, and clicking on my file through their simple to use interface.
All in all applications like Dropbox give you true mobility, so get in the habit of saving all you projects via Dropbox to give you full access of your work files.
Goodbye Notebook, Hello Evernote (Plus a Killer Outsourcing Tip)
Evernote is a fantastic web-based application that I use for taking notes. I take notes with Evernote on my iPhone and access my notes anywhere on my computer.
A great feature built into Evernote is “Clipping.” You can use clipping to take screenshots of an entire page or even screenshots of a specific part of a page, which is one of my favorite features. Say you stumble on a website that has a feature design you would like to implement for one of your projects one day. Just simply clip the specific image and use it for reference in the future. You can also send it to your designer or developer so they have a clear idea of what you want.
Use Evernote for most of your note taking, but try not to forget that a good old fashion pen and paper can still be used time to time.
Gmail: I think it’s safe to say that Gmail is email on steroids, I mean it’s an email client that has a chat function built into it. The great thing about gmail is it gives you the ability to handle multiple emails within one account (even non gmail accounts).
Google Calender: I like to keep my Google calender as my browser’s home screen. I literally set all my important events and deadlines on my Google calender to remind me what is due or when a deadline is approaching. Google calender even syncs with the iPhone and selected Smartphones which is great when you setup reminders.
Here’s a solid overview of the entire Infrastructure. Download PDF Version.
You’re Now Mobile
Congratulations! You have now set yourself up for super-mobility. It only get better from here. If you at least followed the framework you’ll notice new gears shifting in your head. Also, always be thinking about how you can access your business online by leveraging web-based applications. You never know when you’ll need to access your work on the go.
Tony Ruiz is the founder of VentureMixx, an exclusive newsletter focused on business development and personal growth strategies. You can learn more about him by visiting his site and subscribing.