When you work from home, you need the right tools. And there are a lot of work from home tools out there…and some of them are incredibly expensive. If you’re starting a business, it can be overwhelming to choose the right work from home tools. You could also be shocked by the price tags attached to many of them. I’ve worked from home as a copywriter, editor, ghostwriter, and SEO expert (all rolled into one fun-sized human standing at only 5’2) since 2014. Here are 3 work from home tools I use every day (and a simple breakdown of how I use them).
OneNote by Microsoft
Yep, you read that right. The first work from home tool I want to discuss is OneNote by Microsoft. If you don’t have Microsoft Office, you can use Evernote or whatever Evernote-like product you have. I use OneNote like a never-ending monthly/weekly/daily planner. I also create a planner for each client and for each client project. I love journals, planners, time management systems, and project management systems. The problem is that they can get expensive…and I get bored…and over time, I discover that they are all just missing something. Using OneNote means I can change it up however I want.
If you have Microsoft, OneNote is free for your use. Here’s an example of my old layout from 2018:
My actual layout from OneNote from 2018.
Microsoft OneNote is nice because I can search it. I can insert live links. I can change up how I keep my lists. I can pretty much do whatever I want with it.
Zoho Invoicing is my invoicing software of choice. When you work form home, you need an invoicing software…and there are lots of invoicing software options to choose from… Even PayPal offers invoicing services (and there’s nothing wrong with choosing them). I’ve been with Zoho Invoicing for probably six years. They are affordable. They offer several payment gateways for clients. They also provide online help if something happens with the software. Out of the close to six years I’ve used their software, I’ve had very few issues with their software. I know that they plan to raise their price for their monthly rate next year, but from what I understand for one-person businesses (like me), it will still remain under or just at $20 per month so it’s still very affordable.
Zoho Invoicing gives me the flexibility to set up my clients (as many as I need or have) for hourly, flat rate, or per service needs. My clients can login to pay if they want. They can pay with ACH/checking, debit card, or credit card. I’ve had a few who were interested in mailing a check so my business mailing address is on the invoice as well. I can record single expenses or repeating expenses (such as what I pay for Zoho Invoice). It makes it quite convenient for tax time. I can create reports to see what I make weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
I use the reports in a very specific way that I’ve explained in my community.
LinkedIn & Twitter
As far as social media goes, LinkedIn and Twitter are the two that I am currently most active on for business purposes. Most of my new clients find me on Twitter. They come to me. I don’t go actively soliciting. More recently, LinkedIn has also become more active. As I’m sure all of you know, social media is free. Facebook banned my writing page for a three year old Jeffrey Dahmer Valentine’s Day meme that read “You’re so cute I could just eat you up.” It was supposed to just be a 90 day ban, but it’s still banned. They’ve also prevented me from using my agency page which I do not post memes on. Of course, I disagreed with the ban…to no avail. But…it’s their platform and their rules.
So, how do I use LinkedIn and Twitter to my advantage? Well, it’s simple: I don’t go around antagonizing people I disagree with, for starters. Despite the fact I could, I don’t bother with it. It doesn’t accomplish anything. Yes, yes…I know fReE sPeEcH. Listen, Linda…
Private platforms can make their own rules…you agreed to terms of service when you signed up…and that includes them being able to decide what they take down (such as when FB decided that a three year old meme on my page somehow supported a dangerous person…who is dead. Thankfully, my business doesn’t really rely on that page and is well established.). Don’t like it, don’t use their platforms.
Second, you are free to say what you want. You are not free from the consequences. Ever. Them’s the facts. It’s just as much true for you as it is for me (my page is banned for a really fucking stupid reason, remember? You don’t see me stomping my feet about it. It’s just a fact).
So, as someone who runs social media accounts on LinkedIn and Twitter that are part personal and part business, I realize as a writer I can get a way with a smidge more craziness than most because people expect a bit of nonsense from me. But…while I may express some opinions, I don’t ever go for low blows. It’s just not nice. While I sometimes say:
Everyone knows that I am not out to attack anyone on a personal level…because that is bullshit. I will be a logical, sane human. If you have to make personal attacks and can’t stick to the topic, you lose. You aren’t as convinced about your position as you think you are.
So, instead, I may state my belief/opinion, but I won’t argue with people for the most part. I just don’t reply if it gets ugly. Arguing with nobodies on social media drives away potential clients. Read that again.
I use my social media to be the expert on my topics. I give out tips about copywriting, SEO, etc. When doing SEO research, I’ll share how much certain PPC keywords cost so that people understand why PPC often is not they initial way to go and invite people to contact me about organic SEO. I’ll invite them to visit my business website or my Upwork link. I’ll answer questions privately. I’ll give free information because it showcases my knowledge.
It costs nothing to be nice and to be the expert. It cultivates relationships. In the long run, that pays off.