When it is necessary to be connected to the internet and social media everyday to run your business, it is imperative to think creatively when you put yourself in an environment where the internet is not readily available – e.g. the car for 10 hours a day.
Being an entrepreneur is exciting, freeing and allows for the creative spirit to come alive. And, while many times it allows for increased flexibility in the workday, workweek and work location — it can also be demanding, nerve wracking, consuming and a 24/7 commitment in the start-up phase.
I’m currently writing this article from the passenger seat of my car. My six-year old son is in the back seat and behind him are our two lovely dogs – Gracie and Lucy. In the driver seat is one of my dearest friends who is helping me make the drive from Colorado to California – a 1309-mile trek, which will take us three days to complete.
I make this trek every year to spend the summer at our second home in California on the Russian River, which is where I find respite mid-way through the year.
After starting new companies this past year, both my wife and I (and my friend Randy who is the copilot) need to be ‘connected’ on a daily basis, not periodically, but consistently to run our businesses.
With that, I’ve always been an early adopter of technology and this year I believe I’ve found everything I need to make this drive to Northern California one that allows me to manage all the logistics of this trek and at the same time work remotely with ease and confidence.
Here is the list of equipment and applications that I use to run my virtual office.
We are sold on the Audi Q7. It has a third row seat and ample room in the rear cargo area for our two large dogs and our six-year old growing son. I could go on about the specific details regarding safety, engine power, traction etc., but you can see all that online. What is important as a passenger or driver on a long haul — aside from safety — is comfort and convenience, like these items:
- Electric controls for all seats and windows
- Five 12volt outlets
- Leather seats that blow air conditioning on your back
- Individual zone climate control (even for the dogs)
- Seat memory (comes in very handy when you are changing drivers every few hours)
- Adaptive cruise control
- Sirius XM radio
- Audi Connect has built in Wi-Fi hot spot – ability to connect up to eight devices with the built in hot spot
- IPhone 6 – I can’t live without this phone and the amazing apps that support a virtual office on the road.
- Dual Charger – this is so convenient. You can plug in two USB adaptors for phones or iPads.
- Bestek 300W Power Inverter — This charger is amazing. We used this to charge the computers on the road.
- The highest average review rating of any power inverter brand. This item is 300W power inverter with 2 USB ports and 2 AC outlets.
- Chargers: both USB and AC wall warts. Max 3.1A output for mobiles. Rated Power: 300W.
- No loose parts to worry about, the plug is permanently attached and plugs directly into cig adapter.
- Compact size and feel of this unit. The right 22″ length cord reaches the passenger seat just fine from the console.
- Storm Shield – $2.99. Named by Time.com @Techland as one of the best weather apps for your iPhone. This app is amazing and allows you to program your standard locations or it will track you at your current location. This app has come in handy when driving through the desolate areas of Utah and Nevada.
- ADT Pulse – Free. This app has allowed me to arm and disarm the security system for our house during our time away for repairs (we are having our roof repaired) and to allow our neighbors access to check on the house while we are away.
- US Bank App – Free. This app allows for me to deposit checks, send money, and pay bills, which is very convenient because we are 25 miles from the closest US BANK.
- iFax App – Free. Share your fax number with iFax on other devices such as your iPhone, iPad, Mac or Android device and get incoming faxes at your convenience. Fax up to five pages for .99 cents. No need to purchase the clunky desktop fax machine or install that second phone line in your home any longer.
- PayPal – Free. Pay friends, pay vendors, pay clients. Never carry a checkbook again.
- Skype – Free. We use Skype to communicate with all of our international friends – easy and free.
- Facetime – Free, but you must make the call to someone else that has an Apple product. Another great way to connect with clients, family and say goodnight to the second parent who is on a business trip.
- GoToMeeting – Free. The app is free, but there is a subscription price for the service. This app supports HD video conferencing across all platforms. Dial in from anywhere and be connected to the conference call or webinar — did I say from the beach?
- Evernote – Free. Great note taking app that is supported across all digital devices too. I’m just starting to use this application and see several positive benefits already.
- UberX – Free. Uber is an app based transportation company that I find, reliable, super convenient and less expensive than other transportation (aside from public) and is much faster. It is our go to for transportation needs.
- Park Mobile – Free. Parkmobile provides a new and better way to pay for parking by using your smartphone. With Parkmobile’s mobile app, starting your parking transaction takes just a few seconds. No more need to travel with a roll of quarters in the car.
- In and Out Burger – Free. Need I say more? Once we hit the Nevada boarder we were on the lookout for our first (and definitely not last) In & Out Burger.
- iPad Air – This technology is a Godsend. He can watch movies from our iTunes collection, listen to his own music, play educational games, draw and basically entertain himself for hours.
- Head Phones – $49.95 Headphones are a must when you have more than one form of technology in the car. They allow for all three riders to be engaged in their own technology (podcasts, movie, music) without being disruptive to the other passengers. Lilgadgets makes one of the best kid-friendly, cordless Bluetooth enabled products on the market.
- Kong Dog Beds — $18.00. These beds are durable, easy to wash and lay nicely in the back of the car
- Collapsible Water Bowls – These are easy to come by and there are many brands on the market. I also keep a half-gallon container of water (recycled orange juice jug) in the car at all times. It makes it so easy to provide a water break for the dogs when you stop to get gas or other.
Being an entrepreneur requires initiative, innovative thinking and risk – and with that is also brings freedom of choice.
The freedom of choice comes with taking that small idea you have and making it into something that is valuable to others and fills a need that doesn’t yet exist. Hats of to those creative entrepreneurs who created the technology that I mention above. As a result I have the freedom to work remotely and create a work life balance that wouldn’t have existed ten years ago.
Let us know what items or apps make your professional life more seamless and efficient. Leave your comments here or Tweet us at @skeetieb