May 27, 2020
If you’re like me and the idea of sitting indoors in an office for the rest of your life with only 4 weeks holiday – sounds more like a death sentence that something to strive for – this post is for you. My favourite tools as a digital nomad. These are the tools that have got me through being location independent (and trapped in overseas in a pandemic).
Something to know about me if that I’m a little bit of a cheap stake. I love a good bargain! The less money I spend on programs, the more I can spend buying a cool activity here or there. However, I know the value of paid tools that save me time, money and stress. So on here, you will see some free versions along with some more expensive options. Depending on your particular job, you might decide it’s worthwhile, or you might not. Either way, I hope you find some tools that are helpful to you as you step into your location independent lifestyle.
Heads up! Some of these links are affiliate which means I get a kick-back if you decide to purchase from them. Just another way us digital nomads can make a bit of side money – I would love to show you how to do the same!
I LOVE Dubsado and always seem to manage to convert most of my clients to the platform too. I use it for so much of my business! Sending questionnaires to clients, sending and signing contracts, sending website and branding proofs that are legally legit. When someone enquires on my website, Dubsado takes care of emailing invoices, reminding people about appointments and SO. MUCH. MORE. It’s honestly like having another staff member on full-time. While it’s a pretty expensive investment, it’s made a scatter-brained business owner like me, super organised.
The best part is Dubsado has a trial period which lets you trial 3 clients for free. After that, you can choose whether it’s worth it to you or not (I am pretty sure though you will love it!)
Get a trial here
I’m #teamAsana when it comes to Project Management Systems. Better still, I actually only use the free version of Asana. I keep everything in Asana! Blog Post ideas, Marketing, my Client Project Boards and my Passion Project plans!
I took so long to purchase dropbox.
Deep down, I knew it’s what I needed, but I couldn’t justify the prices. An external hard drive was so much more cost-effective – and don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful for them. But when my laptop started filling up and my external started bugging out, I needed a reliable option.
Now, I’ll never go back.
Is it bad to say Dropbox changed my life? Because I honestly think it did. As someone who likes to take a lot of photos, it has been GAME-CHANGING to be able to access all my archived photos, videos and files from any device. My only regret is that I didn’t invest sooner. I would have saved myself a lot of tears and lost photos.
Zoom is another one of those tools that I can’t live without. The value you can get for free from this tool is insane. My favourite thing about Zoom is that it allows me to share my screen so I can easily go through my client websites while my clients are on the phone. These collaborative features save me millions of emails back and forth.
Otter is a voice to text transcriber. I like to use is when I’m not really in the mood for typing or if I’m alone and have a lot of ideas that I need to get out of my head quickly. Basically you talk into your phone as normal and it transcribes it into text. I have used it before to help transcribe videos to use later for blog posts which makes it a great productivity tool!
You get 600 minutes a month on their free version – so it’s definitely a good deal! You can try it out here
I would kiss every Google employee if I could. They have changed the whole game of running an online business. Sometimes I think about what my business would look like if I still used Microsoft Office for everything… Let’s not go there.
I use Google for, like… almost everything in my business. You can’t even scare me away with ‘privacy scares’ at this stage.
Here are all the things I use Google for:
Email Hosting & Domains – Before I used Google for Domains, I purchased my domains through GoDaddy. And while GoDaddy is a pretty good email host, it’s pretty sneaky in its pricing structure. While it may seem cheaper to go with GoDaddy, after the first year, prices go up significantly. On top of that, if you actually want decent domain security, you have to purchase an additional package – and it’s pretty unnecessarily expensive IMO. Google Domains keeps everything in once place – which I like. Adding on email-hosting is so easy and lives in my Gmail so it’s easy to switch between my personal and business.
Analytics – I have Google Analytics set up on my website and help every single one of my clients set it up for their own websites. It’s accurate, efficient and oh-so-insightful.
Google Business Listing – Massively important for any business, but especially for those who target local customers or businesses. I drove a lot of traffic to my website in the early days just by using Google Business Listing.
Google Calendar – I use Google Calendar for my day-to-day scheduler. I like to time block my days, meaning I have about 90mins to spend on a particular task before taking a 15min break. The Google Calendar is the best tool I have used to help me do this. Additionally, both my Asana and Dubsado feed into that calendar so I never have conflicting events and always know what is happening in a day.
GSuite – Lastly, I use GSuite for all my documents, spreadsheets, slideshow presentations and client surveys. It’s so easy to share documents with people and collaborate on your work. I love to use it with clients by creating folders containing website copy documents and allowing them to drop in photos for me to use.
For designers, the Adobe Creative Suite is a no-brainer. Here are the different programs I specifically use as a web designer:
Illustrator – Creating Logos, Manipulating text, making graphics
InDesign – Designing Workbooks, Brochures and documents
Photoshop – Creating mockups for clients like computer screens, business cards, etc.
Premiere – Editing Videos & Tutorials
Adobe XD – Wireframing Websites and apps
Lightroom (For Mobile) – Editing Photos I take ( I use a preset bundle to get a cohesive look!)
Spark (For Mobile) – Creating Instagram Posts and graphics using my brand colours and fonts.
Creating Graphics, Pinnable Images, Youtube covers, and more. Canva is the best free alternative to the Adobe Suite. There are loads of free templates (including logo templates) for anyone just getting started in their business and DIY’ing a lot of it.
I have the Grammarly plugin installed into Chrome. As someone who is pretty fast at typing, I know I do make a lot of mistakes in my writing. Grammarly is a ‘darl and picks up on pretty much every single speller without fail. When writing an email it also analyses your writing and measures the tone of your wiring (so you don’t sound too aggressive – unless you want to.)
I use Loom to record tutorials and videos for my clients. I have the plugin installed so that anytime I have something I want to record, I just press the button. Loom gives me the choice to record just my desktop, my face, or both at the same time. It also stores them, so you can just send the link to your client for viewing without downloading the video or trying to attach it to an email.
You guys KNOW how much I love Showit. And if you don’t, here is an entire blog post I dedicated to all the reasons why I do.
I use the Advanced Blog subscription for my website. It’s a bit more on the pricey side, but well worth it in my opinion. My website is my ultimate lead generator. Since it’s kinda what I do. My website is the tool that allows me to nurture clients, bring in new leads, and automate the scheduling process of just on a consult call with me. If you want to find out how a professional website could do that for you, click here.
I have a secret… I actually still don’t pay for an emailing marketing tool. While they’re vital for your business, email marketing tools are expensive. After trying out Mailchimp and feeling defeated by the lack of actually useful features and automation, I stumbled across Mailerlite.
The Mailerlite is a great alternative to Mailchimp in terms of their free plans. You can set up multiple groups, automated emails and conditions. You get 1000 subscribers or 12,000 emails a month. That’s plenty for me at this stage! Maybe one day I will make the switch to a paid tool (I’ve heard great things about Flodesk!) but for the moment, Mailerlite is serving me well! Why fix what isn’t broken?
I have recently got started with Tailwind, but I will be sure to update this when I have a full overview of this tool, but so far so good! Tailwind is an automatic scheduler for Pinterest which lets you schedule pins and gain traffic referrals to your website. There are a heap of fab tutorials on Youtube of how this works!
I hope you find some of these tools useful! If you have your own favourite Tools as a digital nomad that YOU use on the daily, let me know!
I'm Madison; a tea drinking, adventure obsessed Brand + Web Designer working remotely around the world.
I help solopreneurs, digital nomads and bloggers build strategic online spaces that help them achieve FREEDOM.