Technology

The Equipment and Apps that Keep Me in Business

The last six months have been challenging as I’ve started my own business. The biggest challenge is cashflow… you quickly find out that even though you’re working hard, money doesn’t necessarily flow in the door. As a result, I’m running lean and mean. I haven’t even really shopped for office space at this point.

I thought I’d share a breakdown of my tools of the trade. I don’t have anything special and really work to keep costs as low as possible.

  • MacBookPro – I don’t have the latest, but this is definitely my work engine. I wish I had a newer model, but I’m putting off the expense for a while. My Mac runs Leopard brilliantly but hook up a large second monitor and it comes to a screeching halt. This will be my largest expense in 2010 as I look to upgrade.
  • Extra cord for my MacBookPro – every laptop should come with at least 2 cords… one to leave at work and one to keep in your bag! Period!
  • Western Digital 250Gb USB Drive – this is my primary storage for client data, which I also backup online. I’d also love to get a Time Capsule for the home office.
  • Blackberry 8330 – thanks to Adam for recommending this phone. Half my brain is in this phone. It’s sync’d with Google Apps, has a camera, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook and even Foursquare now on it.
  • Flip Mino HD – getting video clips is a challenge for a guy who writes so much, but this is the ultimate HD camera for the job! Combined with iMovie and Camtasia for Mac – making movies couldn’t be easier.
  • Blue Snowflake microphone – I’ve recorded quite a few presentations and audio recordings with this mic and it’s fantastic. Far better than the default laptop microphone!
  • Sony Earbuds – combined with Pandora’s desktop widget (paid service), you simply can’t go wrong with these. They cancel out everything.
  • Ogio courier bag from eBags. This bag (Hip Hop model) is nothing short of awesome… six months of getting dragged, tossed, and beat to heck and it still looks brand new. I do wish the shoulder straps had swivels, though.
  • iPod Touch – I still get to play with all the apps, guys. I may give this one to the kids and get a new model, though… Bill tells me that the new ones have microphones built in!
  • Freshbooks – All of my client invoicing happens with Freshbooks. I now have 2 other friends using it… it’s an incredible Software as a Service solution for managing your clients.
  • Dropbox – By far, this has been the best online backup and file management system I’ve used. It’s integrated directly with both OSX and Windows for drag and drop simplicity. I have a ton of friends using it and we transfer large client files back and forth with ease.
  • Google Apps for Mail – the rest of the apps pretty much suck compared to Office (sorry Google), but Google Apps is worth the $50/yr pricetag just for business email. My ability to synchronize and manage multiple email and calendar applications is fantastic.

My #1 application of 2009 is, without a doubt, Tungle. I was just meeting with someone the other day who was talking about how many times they’re on the phone and in email trying to schedule appointments. Tungle makes it incredibly simple. It synchronizes effortlessly with Google calendars as well – so anytime I have a scheduling error – it’s usually that I didn’t record it properly.

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