I’m making good on my promise of doing several blogs whilst I’m here in Porto (smug face). This next piece is a list of super helpful items or services that you should definitely check out if you’re thinking of working remotely. I have a feeling these will definitely be expanded on as times moves forward but here goes. Please leave a comment at the bottom if there’s something super snazzy I might have missed out!
1. A Phone Answering Service
Whilst I’m away if you call my Cardiff landline, or even my direct mobile, you’ll be greeted with a cheery ‘Hello, Talking Social Media’ from the brilliant team at AnswerMyPhone.biz. They’ll be able to tell you all you might need to know about my services and how to book, or they’ll take a message for you and zip it instantly over to me in Portugal. I’m on the same time zone so this works really well without either of us having a phone bill that goes through the roof!
2. A ‘Virtual’ Assistant
Just like a ‘PA’ a ‘VA’ can sort out all your admin woes but, you guessed it, remotely. I use Hannah from YourVA, not only for helping me to book all of my travel well in advance, but also for any other admin type tasks that I might need. She helps me sort out my CRM database mostly but also does plenty of other work for clients on an hourly basis, eliminating the need to hire someone full-time.
I never, ever go through a training session with my clients without mentioning Buffer. It is by a long way, my favourite Social Media dashboard/scheduler. It has a brilliant user-interface that is easy and simple even for beginners. It’s also got a great feature where you can ‘re-buffer’ old posts as they are or slightly amended and then use them again. I ran all of my scheduling for Ignite Cardiff’s latest ticket release this way.
This is a new one for me! I’ve been in a constant state of jealousy in the shared office I’m at with Hacker Paradise due to a few of our community owning these delightful ways to make your day easier. A ‘roost’ is a high laptop stand to elevate your computer to eye level so you don’t strain your eyes, neck or back. Used with a wireless keyboard this also increases air flow around your laptop helping (at least a bit) to cool it down. Depending on where you’re working, overheating laptops can be a major problem. I’ve had to let my macbook take a break more than once! Find out more here.
5. Hella Good Wifi/4G
This should go without saying but more than one digital nomad has come a cropper to terrible wifi or 4G speeds. Make sure wherever your working can absolutely guarantee good connections. If you want to run a business remotely, there really is no other option. For mobiles and tablets, get yourself on a good international phone plan if you’re away for a long time or grab an extra SIM card to use mobile data. They’re cheap and simple, plus if you’ve got someone at home answering your calls as above, it doesn’t matter if your phone number is different for a while.
6. Cloud-based Accounts Software
Usually with accountancy I’m instantly like ‘snooze’ but hear me out. My VAT return is due in a few days. Did I get it done in advance? No I didn’t: Quel Surprise! But thanks to Jamie and the lovely team at UHY Hacker Young, they can log-in remotely to my system and sort it all out for me. Plus I have a handy Receipt-Bank app for all of my purchases whilst I’m here. That Roost is going on the top of the list!
Uber really does speak for itself. I know it is MASSIVELY disruptive for the taxi industry, I honestly do get it. BUT again hear me out. Uber makes different agreements all across the world according to the level of vetting their drivers need and the salaries etc. It’s a personal decision that you should make if you’re happy with the agreement Uber has with the city you’re in, and the lisencing they practise there. Why? Because it really is the easiest way to get around. Provided you have mobile data it will find your location, send you a driver that you can check is the right one with their name, face and registration. All this and no cash to be exchanged as it uses your card directly. I used this in Dublin at the ABFA conference and as I was only there for 12 hours it meant I didn’t have to get any Euros out at all. You can also fare-split with anyone that you’re sharing a ride with easily and your receipt gets emailed straight to you (or to receipt-bank if you’re super clever).
8. A Solid FirstAid Kit
Yes, it’s that time where you’ll get a tale of woe. I am a happy camper and previous Millets super sales-woman, so I know my first aid kits, I really do. Did I bring one? No I didn’t. My fully stocked, wonderful first aid kit in it’s happy bright red packaging is sitting pretty in my bathroom cabinet in Cardiff. Did I need it? Yes and it’s only been 7 out of 30 days…
Both myself and my mum suffer badly from insect bites. There is something about us that the bugs really love, and something about them that our skin really hates. One of my hands is currently very swollen and was very painful until I marched myself down to the local pharmacist where the man might as well have said ‘Ahhhh your British… have all of these drugs – you’ll need them!’. Coffee and pastries also helped.
Another great app, Splitwise helps you set out who owes who what after several group dinners so you can square up with one another without any awkward conversations! I’d also recommend a tip calculator especially if you’re visiting America as their waiting system and server salaries rely far more heavily on tipping than ours do in the UK.
10. A Community
I saved this one until last because there really is no way you can replace having a fantastic community around for when you travel. I know first-hand how lonely travelling can really be. It might seem all lovely sunsets and instagram selfies on the surface but travelling and working can be stressful and scary. An awesome community like the one I’ve found at Hacker Paradise makes all the difference. They’ll share skills with you, teach you how to ‘drive stick’, take you out to dinner when you don’t know where to go, show you where to buy rosé for just one euro, bring you ibuprofen when you forgot your first aid kit and generally be an awesome bunch. Even if you’re not travelling with a group, go out and find other people and communities wherever you are. This could be whoever is staying in the same hostel with you, people at events, friends of friends or simply people you meet along the way.