It’s no secret that the advent of the Internet has changed the workforce. Not only has the Internet changed how we do our jobs, but it has also helped change what jobs are even possible (e.g. blogging). The freemarket of the Internet allows people to start up a business such as photography, music production, writing or consulting without the major capital investments of a traditional brick-and-mortar operation. As a result, I see more and more entrepreneurs looking to make their big break while figuring out what tools are necessary to get there.
In order to be successful and put out the best possible product or service you need to have the right tools for the job.
They say a good carpenter is little without his tools. I find the same could be said for many other lines of work as well. In order to be successful and put out the best possible product or service you need to have the right tools for the job. Having the right tools not only helps you more easily and efficiently realize ideas, but will also inspire you to chase after that thought in your head.
Since I’ve started my blog, I’ve been getting approached on questions on how to best develop and market an Internet presence and what tools I use. Questions like: “what kind of camera do you shoot with?” or “what’s a good computer for me starting out?” now seem to occur on the daily. Since I consider my tools important to my productivity and creativity, I thought it might be helpful to put together a short checklist for all those aspiring (and soon to be inspiring) entrepreneurs out there.
The 15″ MacBook Pro is the bedrock of Short Presents. Without this little power-house it would be very difficult to be as creative and efficient as I try to be. This computer can do anything I need to do with speed and ease. Need to do up invoices, letters, or memos? Go pick up a copy of Microsoft Office 365. Need to do some advanced photo-editing? Invest in Adobe Photoshop CC or Lightroom CC. Apple is also great at including some products to make it easy to start-out without having to make additional investments in software (e.g. iWork is a great free alternative to Microsoft Office, and Gimp is a great open source software for image editing). The functionality of the MBP is key, but the portability is also amazing – especially for Internet-focused entrepreneurs like me who are always on the go!
What would a great computer be without a great mouse? Nobody wants to get carpal tunnel right out of the gate, and if you’re a startup working 12 hour days on the computer you need all the support you can get. Logitech’s MX Master is the ultimate mouse in terms of functionality, precision and comfort. If you’re editing photos, this mouse has precision tracking on any surface to help you focus in on the fine details. If you’re scrolling through lots of e-mails or documents, this mouse has what I call a “hyper scroll” to help you fly through. It also has a very handy side-scroll wheel making it great for scrolling horizontally through things like spreadsheets, images, and documents. Save your wrists and realize the efficiency that can be made my making the investment in a quality mouse.
Speaking of saving your body – another thing I highly recommend if you’re working on a computer for any length at time (which, in this world, it’s pretty rare for an entrepreneur not to be), is a pair of glasses. These glasses have an anti-glare computer coating to ease the stress on your eyes. You don’t need a prescription to protect your eyes from the harsh glow of a computer screen, and by protecting them you’ll be able to see the details that matter – whether that be a spec on an image for the photographers out there or a misplaced decimal for those number-focused entrepreneurs.
For those who frequent the blog, you won’t be surprised that I chose to feature the Nikon 1J5 in this section too. This little camera has the ability to swap out lenses making it ultra-versatile. Regardless of whether you’re getting into blogging or photography, this camera is an asset to any entrepreneur; whether it’s taking photos for insurance purposes, recording video projects to promote your project, or simply capturing your early days of your future big business this camera will pay dividends!
Speaking of paying dividends, one thing that I think is important to remember when you’re starting your own business is to be mindful of time, that’s why I always carry a watch (usually my Bulova or Daniel Wellington). This is important not only to make sure you know how much time you’re putting in, and correctly billing for your efforts – but also so you know when it’s time to take a break. Remember, it’s in these moments when we’re taking a break that we recharge our creative reservoir – our heart.
anyone who is successful in any business will tell you – success in business is not so much about the product as it is about the people.
On the topic of heart I want to mention that if you’re starting an online business it’s nice to remember that not everything needs to be done online or in front of a computer or phone. When I go to meet with clients I like to step away from the computer. Instead, in these moments, I take along a nice pen, such as this one from Montblanc, and a notebook for quick note taking. This helps me exercise mindfulness and focus on the person. And anyone who is successful in any business will tell you – success in business is not so much about the product as it is about the people.
One thing people might take for granted when starting a business is a good set of headphones. These wireless Bluetooth ones from Sudio are great and allow me to easy pair them with my Macbook Pro for a quick Skype conference call, and then back to my iPhone for one-on-one meetings. Having a good pair of headphones not only also allows you to listen to music (which is shown to increase productivity and creativity), but also sets up boundaries if you’re working among other people. Whenever I have a project I really want to dial in on and focus on I put my headphones on and people know I’m in the zone.
Although this is by no means an exhaustive list, these are a few of the tools that I found have made me more efficient and effective in doing my day-to-day. There’s a host of other things you should consider when starting your position in this modern world. Finding a great designer who can help you realize or develop your branding is worth their weight in silver. Similarly, finding a good web host is worth their weight in gold. And finding a good accountant/business advisor who can coach you through all the red tape is worth their weight in platinum. Above all, remember that success is not overnight and while these tools will help you get there more quickly, there’s rarely a short path.
Got questions or need advice on starting your own venture? Feel free to ask them below!