Ditching the corporate world and striking it on your own can be an intimidating prospect, but it’s also an exciting one. That said, one of the main keys to entrepreneurial success is knowing how (and when) to market your services. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly half of small businesses fail after five years. Scary, right?
If you’re thinking about transitioning into life as an entrepreneur, make sure you have the right setup so you’re equipped to go full-steam ahead. Start with technology. This eight-point tech checklist will certainly make the transition easier.
1. Update your website.
In today’s competitive market, if your website isn’t up to snuff, you’re going to have a hard time attracting new clients. Fortunately, all-in-one domain hosting and website building services like Squarespace offer dozens of pre-made templates to help your site off the ground. With ecommerce support, 24-hour chat, and a built-in blogging platform, Squarespace has everything you need to turn your business dreams into reality. And at roughly a few dollars a month for domain registration, it’s a steal.
2. Sign up for a LinkedIn Premium membership.
An international study conducted by researchers in Singapore showed that for 78% of new businesses, networking is the key to success. Sites like LinkedIn have made it easier than ever to connect with prospective clients and influencers. If you decide to go Premium, you can expand your reach and open a whole new world of new opportunities. LinkedIn now offers various versions of its Premium account—including a one-month free trial to test it out—so it’s worth taking the time to research each and see which best suits your specific business needs.
3. Secure your network with a VPN.
It’s no stretch to assume that a good percent of your work will be conducted on the go. Unfortunately, public WiFi is anything but accommodating. That’s where VPNs come in. Short for virtual private network, A VPN is a simple tool that protects your online information by both anonymizing and encrypting your entire network.
When you connect to a VPN server, you’re able to browse the web as if you were in a different location, thereby protecting yours from unwanted eyes ExpressVPN is extremely user-friendly, and it’s available on basically any internet-enabled device on the market. Which brings us to the next point…
4. Invest in a decent tablet.
Sure, it may seem like an unnecessary expense, but a decent tablet combines the best qualities of your smartphone (like the ability to video chat and send messages on the go) with the best features of a computer (tons of storage space, ability to write email like you’re not always in a rush). They’re easier to carry than a traditional Mac or laptop and they’re also a fraction of the cost.
The latest Amazon Fire, for instance, is on the lower end of the tablet pricing spectrum but offers a robust all-around package with an easy-to-use interface and Android functionality. Plus, it’s extremely lightweight and portable.
5. Get an extra battery for your phone.
This one’s a biggie. There’s really nothing as frustrating as having your phone or computer die with no outlet in sight. Airplane mode may help conserve your phone’s battery, but it still drains it. That’s why having an external battery bank on hand is so useful. When your phone or tablet is running low on juice, simply pull out your power bank and plug it in. It’s really that easy.
Most portable banks today offer more than 10,000 mAh of power and are incredibly discreet. In fact, most brands are able to fit snugly in your pocket. Just make sure you look for ones that are compatible with your various devices.
6. Save space with a Cloud storage account.
You may think that 32 or 64GB is a lot of storage, but you’d be surprised how quickly that space runs out. Instead of investing in numerous storage devices and extra data, sign up for a Dropbox account or a similar service, and store your files safely in the Cloud.
Dropbox offers a quick and easy way to send, save, and store your various digital files. Plus, you can set up specific folders and invite both members and non-members to access them. While there are different subscription packages based on bandwidth and user needs, you can use the free trial before you sign up for a plan.
7. Personalize your business cards.
Who says business cards are dead? It’s all nice and dandy to have your online accounts sorted, there’s always room for a well-designed business card. That’s where DIY sites like Canva come in. With a wide selection of professional pre-made templates, layouts, and fonts to choose from, you can up your business card game without having to worry about which font looks best on which type of parchment.
You can also choose from a range of other image services including design, photography and more. They even offer their own educational services to help you learn the ins and outs of good design, which may come in handy when you want to print something a little bigger than a 3.5 x 2 business card.
8. Use a reputable tax service.
It’s also worth investing in a decent payroll service to help keep your books in check. Because one of the hardest parts of dealing with any small- or medium-sized business is having to worry about payroll, online tax services are a breath of fresh air. With the ability to create invoices, track sales, and more, services like Intuit take the headache out of money management and lets you focus your time and energy on more pressing issue.
Even if you’re not looking for a payroll service, Intuit also offers a number of side services like tax preparation software and accounting information.
Above All, Remember to Stay Organized
The internet’s made it easier to turn side hustles into full-time career opportunities, yet at the same time it’s important that you do your due diligence and research first what it is and want to do and then look at all the tools you need to help you get there.
After all, one of the main keys to success is in the details. These essentials make it easier to stay focused.