A home office is much cheaper to set up than a commercial one. You get to ditch the expensive commercial printers and rental fees, and you can design your office however you want. Seriously, take a look at these wacky desk options you could install in your home office. In other words, your home office doesn’t have to be boring, dull, and, well, corporate.
With all that said, when it comes to building a home office, what should you be spending your money on? A yoga ball office chair? Maybe. Helpful technology? Definitely.
This article will highlight five technology subscriptions that were designed with freelancers in mind. We’ll steer away from sector-specific subscriptions like media databases for PR managers or keyword research tools for search engine experts in an effort to make this list relevant for all readers. That’s right — each item on this list will work for your personal business and is totally worth the monthly fee.
eReceptionist Virtual Phone Plan
Image courtesy of eReceptionist.
Let’s kick things off with an obvious essential — a small business phone plan. If you work from home, your business plan surely states you need to keep in touch with team members, stakeholders, and, most importantly, your customers. For ultimate professionalism, this should be done using a professional business number (rather than a standard cell phone number).
Not only does using a virtual phone number give you added legitimacy, but it also ensures that you don’t mix business and pleasure too much. Using the eReceptionist phone plan, you can manage business calls via a mobile app. This way, you can keep your business contacts in a separate directory to your personal connections. The same goes for your inbox and voicemail system, which are kept in a separate in-application file.
If you’re the type to work on-site or you like to do business on the move, you can even transcribe your voicemails so that you can listen to urgent messages while in the car. Needless to say, a virtual phone plan is an affordable yet essential way to organize your communications. At the very least, it’s a solid way for those who have escaped the rat race to retain their professionalism.
QuickBooks Smart Accounting
Image courtesy of QuickBooks.
One of the most dreaded parts of starting your own business is having to figure out your own business accounts. Most entrepreneurs succumb to paying extortionate amounts of money to an accountant to rid themselves of mundane tasks. But if you’re tight on cash — or if you’re just a frugal owner who likes to get things done the most cost-effective way — QuickBooks is the right choice for you.
If you’re not convinced, you can even take the accounting software for a test drive using a model business to test the service’s features. Key features include a singular automatically generated spreadsheet that lets you easily track your labor costs, expenses, and income, financial project reports, and a profitability calculator.
The great thing about this software is that it works for both beginner and expert freelancers. For those at the start of their self-employment journey, QuickBooks makes accounting less intimidating. For experts, the system is a clear way to assess multiple projects and decide where to make investments both in terms of time and money.
Zoom Conference Calls
Image courtesy of Zoom US.
If you need to speak to multiple people at once and host a virtual meeting from home, Zoom is the ultimate conference system. Nothing beats face-to-face communication, which is 34 times more effective than using email. It’s a no brainer — you need a video communication tool in your home office.
Unlike a straightforward video-calling system, Zoom allows users to share content while on a phone call, facilitating all your meeting needs. You can plan meetings using Gmail, Outlook or iCal so that you can invite potential customers, high-profile clients, and team members in the most professional, streamlined manner. Sometimes, Zoom calls are even used in office-based businesses because its features are just that good. For example, some firms with remote employees promote the use of continual video conferencing or live streaming to create the illusion of a single, unified office. Systems like Zoom support this idea, allowing home-based workers to constantly interact with those in an office.
The best part is that if you’re not keen on using all of the features that Zoom offers, you might be eligible for a low-cost monthly fee or, in some cases, a free plan.
Image courtesy of Grammarly.
You don’t need to be a professional writer to enjoy and benefit from Grammarly. You might have already been swayed by the brand’s relatable advertisements, including one where a love-struck man struggles to write the perfect wedding speech. In fact, over 30 million people have enjoyed this ad on YouTube — proof that Grammarly isn’t just talented at language correcting; it’s also a master of modern marketing.
Grammarly can now be used as a plug-in on Google Docs and email, single-handedly saving poor proposal writing and caffeine-deficient replies to important clients.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out how Grammarly works, either, unlike most technical tools, where the transitional period is almost enough to put you off installing them. The system simply adds a red line to any assumed error and suggests alternative changes when you hover over it. While you can get Grammarly’s premium features on a subscription-based service, most people do just fine with the unpaid version.
Spotify Music Streaming
Image courtesy of O Street.
Perhaps not what you were expecting in a business-based subscription list, but we’d like to close things on a light note. After all, owning your own business or being a home-based office worker has plenty of benefits that are worth embracing. This includes taking well-deserved dance breaks, listening to celebratory songs and performing client work in a feel-good atmosphere. In this office, you really can dance like nobody’s watching.
You might already be one of the 100 million subscribers who pay for Spotify’s services, but if you’re not, you should take the leap, as this will help you curate the soundtrack for your success.
With Spotify’s premium subscription, you don’t have to spend time shuffling through songs to find your favorite or listen to ads, nor do you need to be connected to a WiFi source to listen to the latest music. If you’re sick of being given limited skips and want to listen to the newest music before it’s been officially released, you have plenty of reasons to switch to Spotify’s paid version.