Just because you're go-go-go, doesn't mean you can let organization waiver.
If anything, you need to be more organized than your office-dwelling counterpart.
But, I'm just telling you something you already know.
So, maybe you're like me—with a home office, yet prefer the flexibility of working out of a coffee shop every now and then.
Maybe you travel often for work and need to get a mobile system in order.
Or maybe you simply want to be prepared for a trip or future one.
Regardless of why you're an on-the-go solopreneur, there are a few factors that can leave your mobile office an utter disaster if gone unchecked.
Might as well figure out a way to run your on-the-go business effectively.
Take my top 5 tips and apply them to your travels.
Get a more productive business in 5 days or less.
Grab my 5 super-simple efficiency hacks you can apply in 10 minutes or less. [ Includes the exact list of tools I use to grow + maintain my business with. FREE ]
tip 1. get the right bag
Some may disagree with this being the first tip on the list, but hear me out.
I've been through three bags since I started my mobile freelance journey nearly two years ago.
The first for it's cuteness, the second for it's spacious, rolling storage, and the third for it's over-the-shoulder storage capabilities.
Currently I'm back to toting cute bag number one, and have seriously limited what I carry.
My Top Pick: Laptop Totes or Messenger Bags
When deciding on the bag, you're also deciding on how much you want to haul around. Do you want to have a simple messenger bag? Over-the-shoulder laptop bag? Briefcase? Rolling case?
Make an inventory of what you NEED on a daily basis. How large of a bag do you want to carry?
You have to choose a bag that'll work for you, your body/build, and your business.
I'm built like a linebacker—broad shouldered and all—so carrying a full, clunky bag like Timbuk2 out of California (below) isn't a big deal.
For a more petite frame, it may not be a great choice for long-term use.
The bag itself is heavy enough without anything in it.
tip 2. Get the Right Organizer
You may prefer completely concealed organization.
Or maybe you're a visual organizer like I am, or you prefer to have a "fancy" case that rolls out and carries everything you want in one place.
Regardless, you need to decide what form of organization you prefer before selecting your organizer.
When I say organizer, I mean a small case or insert that can be carried inside your bag that organizes all the loose items. For example:
My Top Pick: The Grid-It™ by Cocoon®.
This product, by far, is my favorite bag organizer.
As a visual person (if you don't see it, you forget you have it), I love organizing in this elastic strapped grid—easily accessible.
(And quite a conversation piece.)
I can't tell you how many new clients and contacts I've made working from my favorite coffee shop with this organizer and my planner out.
I originally purchased the Grid-It™ to add "pocket organization" to my Kailo Chic bag. But I've got to say, it's been a wonderful addition to all workspace occasions.
It's worked with every bag and for any reason.
(Speaking of that, I need to order another one for all the wires in the office closet...)
Thirty-One® (if you didn't know) is a direct selling company that makes bags and organizers.
I like most of the products they have, and if you don't mind waiting a week or longer to get your order in (Amazon Prime has ruined my patience on deliveries...), one of these functional organizers might be up your alley.
tip 3. Get the Right Tools
The tools you use are one of the most important aspects to getting and keeping your business organized.
Your workspace can be a functional disaster and you'll be just fine. But, if your schedule is a disorganized hot-mess, your business isn't working.
If you missed the last posts in the organization series, a couple will be recapped here. However, I do recommend checking them out (links at end)—a lot of tips and insights.
For now, the right tools come down to your preferences.
I can't get a hardcore digital calendar-lover to fall in love with my paper planners. And I wouldn't want to try to persuade them as a customer in that area, either.
(Waste of my time, money, and resources.)
Instead, I'm going to encourage you to work with what is best for you.
But of course I'll suggest my planners as the paper options since I created them when unable to find great paper systems for my business and personal life.
So, what do you prefer?
Paper or digital? Do you prefer month view, week view or daily views? Or all of the above?
Some planners available offer too much—digital and paper, alike.
Some planners don't offer enough.
My top pick: Paper Planners
Because working with paper brings me clarity and focus.
I'm not distracted by email, tempted by social media or diverted by any tech while I plan, write, and build my professional future.
Paper planners allow me to lay out successful days, expertly, for work and family.
- The Content Strategy Planner is my baby. Available on Amazon, the CSP was created for bloggers and content marketers to assist in the development of your content and email strategy planning for 12 months. Get more info on it here »
- #MyBestWeek Planner is a 52-week (full year) planning tool for those who love a digital calendar or use an external calendar form, but really want to nail down their activities, to-do list(s), and schedule each week. Check it out here »
- The Content Planning Workshop is a 90-minute planning video course which includes a 45-page blog planner with it. Although it's not a "planner" in the traditional sense, its a great planning tool for any solo entrepreneur looking to increase their business online. Check it out here »
If paper isn't your thing, then here are my suggestions:
And for Apple users, my favorite budget-friendly planner option is the Planner Plus by Appxy.
This was the only digital planner that I could use and commit to for over a week, and would recommend it to all the paper-haters. Simple and effective. Not too much and not too little.
tip 4. pick the right system
If you need some help deciding what would work best for you and your business, check out the first post in this series: The Secret to Organizing Customers and Leads the Best Way for Your Business.
tip 5. pick the right spot
"Location, location, location" I've heard coined enough by my ex-real estate agent father.
It's all about the location.
If you're like me and don't like working from the same place 5 days a week, finding your ideal location(s) is key.
I enjoy a few different spots but each personality type is different.
You can go the noisier, bustling Starbucks route, the more quiet, less chaotic local coffee shop, or that retro, turn-of-the-century-house-turned-café.
Whether you choose spreading out over your bed or out at a coffee shop, you've got to find the right fit for you.
I started with a home office that I just wouldn't leave when (at the time) I should.
Then my husband started working from home full-time so I gave up the office space.
From there, I worked solely out of coffee shops.
It was great for a year or so, then I started to miss the "private space" where I could film videos and maybe even start a podcast!
So, we created another home office space for me, and now I comfortably juggle the choice of the hustle and bustle of the local Starbucks or the quiet (very lavender) office.
So what's your style?
Do you like the constant go-go-go of Starbucks?
The quiet neighborhood coffee shop?
Propped up on the arm of your couch?
Spread out across your office desk?
Even in businesses that do a lot of traveling—like salespeople for instance—it's important to find "a spot". This spot is the place you can go that brings you the best focus.
We all have to slow down every once in a while to truly give ourselves and our customers the right amount of attention, anyhow.
You've found the perfect spot.
You've got the right bag, the right organizer, the right tools and the right system.
How can so many rights be wrong?
The point of this post is to give you options, ideas, inspiration, and help you discover answers by planting questions you may not have thought about for your mobile experience.
The point of this post is to give you clarity.
I want you to really think about what you've got going on in your mobile office.
If you loved what you have already, you probably wouldn't be reading this.
So I'm going to challenge you.
I challenge you to brainstorm all of the questions I've given you and see where you end up [organizationally].
Don't go investing hundreds-plus dollars into this.
Check and see what you have laying around your house or something you have that can be repurposed.
Like that tote bag up in your closet that's been collecting dust. Do you see potential in it?
Make a list and decide on what you need to get to set your mobile office up successfully. What do you already have that'll work great? What can you bring new life to?
Avoid my hundreds of dollars in business-based bags mistake...
Plan it. Get what you need.
Ooh, and be sure to check out Pinterest for clever organizational ideas. And get your mobile office...moving.
P.S. Comments, emails, running a business and being a mom of 3 were just too much for me to handle. So, blog comments got the boot. But the lack of a comment box doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with me via @GoffCreative on Twitter or directly via email.
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