The world is daunting enough for the new entrepreneur or freelancer, but if you’ve been coddled in a traditional business, then you might have taken some of your tools for granted. A MacBook, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Creative Suite can set you back well over $5000 — and that’s before you’ve even done any work!
So here are some of the things I’ve done, or seen others do, to be just as awesome, but without the wedge of cash.
Make do with your hardware
You’d be surprised what an older desktop or laptop can do with a bit of care. Archive old files, delete software you don’t use, buy a some extra RAM (crucial.com is the place), plug into a larger display, and it’ll feel like a new machine. Avoid upgrading the operating system if possible — it’s a good way to wish you had a new machine. And start saving up for a new computer — it’s probably one of your key tools, and you deserve it. When you do upgrade, see if you can cash in your old brick on Gazelle.
Back up, back up, back up
Once your machine is running sweetly, make sure you’re backed up. You’re on your own now and can’t afford a catastrophic failure. Carbonite is an inexpensive way to not only keep a constant backup, but also to access your files when away from home. You could use Dropbox or Google Drive in a similar way. But don’t stop there. You also need a reliable local backup — for Mac get a spacious drive and set up Time Machine, or buy a Time Capsule. For Windows, look around for options, or use scheduled backups from the Backup & Restore control panel. But don’t stop there. I also make a bootable backup drive every week, using Carbon Copy disk cloner. This way, even if your drive fails completely, you can boot a recent version and get on with your day. If you’re not using cloud-based backup like Carbonite, keep at least one backup drive in a different place from your actual computer.
Software for superheroes
When it comes to business apps, there are more options than I can list. But there are a few must-haves: