There are so many apps to get you started working from home it’s not even funny. Actually, it’s kind of overwhelming. But, I’m not exaggerating when I say you need them. Last week I wrote up a few questions to see if you’re ready for remote work, but this week I want to prepare you for the leap. If you’ve scored a W2 job, your company will likely provide you with what you need, but if you’re going the self-employed/contractor route, you’ll have to come up with all of this on your own. There’s an app for everything, but I don’t want to scare you, so we’re going to start with the basics.
Four Types of Apps to Get you Started Working From Home
To-do List or Project Management App
We know I’m obsessed with my to-do list. I do encourage you to read my guide to choosing your app, and I plan to do one of those posts for each of these, but let’s ignore my obsession for a minute. You might be thinking you don’t need either of these since you’re a small company or you’ll remember what you need to do each day. Did you know pilots have to use checklists every single time they do the basic functions of their jobs (and doctors should)? Yeah. What makes you think you’re better than a pilot? Get something to keep track of your work or you’ll wind up letting something slip through the cracks.
You’re probably wondering why I don’t write a whole bunch of posts on finance since I am a bookkeeper. I might eventually. But, I already have to do that for work and I draw up the articles for my CPA client’s blog, so I’d go crazy if that was my only thing. Regardless, a finance app is absolutely an app you need working from home. You’ll probably have a good record of your paychecks at the end of the year, but there’s so much more to taxes when you’re self-employed. You need to check your quarterly payments and log all your expenses. I use Quickbooks Self-Employed. Here’s a great review about that. Another option is Mint, which is free. You’ll probably also want an invoice system. Paypal’s a good place to start, but there are lots of other options. Remind me to talk about those in their own post.
This seems obvious, but a timekeeper is an app you need working from home. How else are you going to know how much to charge your clients? There’s a gazillion of them and you can link them to your finances or to-do list or whatever, but you have to have one. But, depending on how detailed you need it to be, you might not need much. Check out my article on choosing timekeepers for help figuring out your needs.I use a really simple app to switch between my two clients. I found it by searching timekeeping in the app store and that was that. But when I’m switching between the CPA’s clients, I use Toggl. It’s up to you which kind you use, but it’s totally possible to start with a free simple one and move up.
Document drives aren’t exactly just apps to get you started working from home. They’re more like whole filing systems. Don’t freak out though – you probably already use one without thinking about it. I can’t convince my computer to stop saving things to One Drive, for example. My work is all done through Google Drive. There’s a good chance this kind of thing slips your mind at first, since you can just save documents to your computer. But, eventually, you’re going to want to take advantage of the remote work and leave the house. You might not have your computer with you and still need to access a document. Even more likely, you’ll start to get annoyed with the eight thousand folders mixing and mingling with your regular life documents.
Okay, so those are a few types of apps to get you started working from home. I would knock those out before you start downloading each and every little “work from home” app you find. Good luck!