Imagine working from a sailboat, 2,500 miles from your home office, without your own personal computer. Imagine replying to emails, loading blog posts, creating spreadsheets, even taking part in a weekly team meeting, all while being away from your office and personal computer.
Sounds impossible, right? It isn’t. I’ve done it.
Got wireless? Then you can work “in the cloud”
Cloud computing offers entrepreneurs, small business owners and bloggers the luxury of working virtually anywhere. When you work “in the cloud” you aren’t tied to one computer, your files aren’t saved on your personal computer, rather they are saved virtually, online.
Cloud computing can also offer peace of mind. With files not being housed on your computer, there’s no worrying about a computer crash. Best of all, you do still have the ability to save any important files, to say, a USB flash drive, should you want extra security.
Who should work in the cloud?
Cloud computing is a fantastic option for:
- Entrepreneurs who travel for business or pleasure. Plain and simple, it allows you to take your entire office with you virtually.
- Bloggers who travel for conferences or on brand ambassador trips.
- Small businesses with virtual teams. Working in the cloud is similar to a brick and mortar office having an Intranet. You can share files, edit documents, work on presentations together – perfect for teams who are spread out geographically or work from a home office.
With cloud computing, wherever you go, there you are, able to work, get to important files and share information seamlessly.
Tools that let you work virtually anywhere
The Mack Daddy of cloud computing: Google Apps
Google Apps is nothing short of amazing. This one stop shop can handle your email, with custom email address extensions (i.e. YourName@YourCompany.com), a calendar that can be shared with whomever you’d like (you can even embed it on your site), and the ability to add multiple users as you add employees or virtual assistants.
Google Apps also has an entire suite of document creation goodies:
- Text documents
- Forms (these make perfect contact forms for your site or blog)
Consider Google Apps your traveling office, with you where ever you go. It will change your life. Best of all? It’s free.
Other amazing tools to use when running your business in the cloud:
Yammer is a twitter-like app for your small group or small business. It allows you and your team to share status updates on projects, alert to any problems, and stay connected. Messages are immediate and Yammer can be put on your computer so that you see a little pop up each time someone yammers. If you are away from your computer, you can check in online or on your smart phone. It’s free!
This online task tracking tool helps you stay on top of your to-dos, you guessed it, virtually! It can integrate with your email, making creating tasks a breeze. It’s in the cloud, so no matter where you are you can get to your tasks and get ‘em done. It’s a fantastic tool to help virtual teams stay on track. Wrike isn’t free, but they do offer a free trial with full functionality.
Dropbox is the place to go when you need to share large files or ones that aren’t compatible with Google apps, such as videos. This can be put on your computer or accessed online when working out of the office. Dropbox is free for up to 2GB.
Get On the Cloud
As you can see, cloud computing makes it possible to work virtually anywhere. And for mom entrepreneurs whose kids and work always have them on the go, this is a wonderful thing.
Do you work “in the cloud?” What’s your favorite virtual tool for your business?