I love my phone. You probably do too. It’s the first thing you reach for in the morning, no matter how much you try to detach from it – that little box of magic is a firm part of your life.
And if you’re a digital business owner, running your business from wherever you are, then your phone is your pock office.
And yes mines an iPhone, because; designer over here – what designer doesn’t own Apple everything!
I’ve always been a fan of making things simple.
Making everything as easy as possible to get the best results. And running my business from my phone is one of those ‘business hacks’ that means I don’t have to be tied to a desk all day. Which is perfect for this laptop lifestyler – and no I’m not writing this from a beach somewhere sipping some fancy health juice! I’m grabbing 5 minutes while my 1-year-old naps to get this week’s ramblings out of my head and into my phone! While enjoying a cup of hot coffee, something that I didn’t realise a year ago would become such a rare moment!
That I can easily keep my business going while also living my life, just by having some simple apps connected to my phone, is my version of freedom.
And no, I don’t subscribe to the hype that being able to work from your phone is bad for you, just because you can work any time using your phone as an office, doesn’t mean you should – and that choice is up to you.
So before we continue, I want to be clear; I am not advocating being tied to your phone all day.
Converting your phone into your office doesn’t mean you should be tied to working alllllll the time just because you can. It should mean that you have the freedom to go anywhere and do anything because you don’t have to be in a physical office tied to a desk to get your work done.
First on my list of must-have tools for your phone office is…. BOUNDARIES.
If you don’t have good boundaries when it comes to work-life balance then the phone office is not for you. Stick to a physical office you can walk away from. The phone office should only be activated when you know you can go a whole day without checking work stuff if you want to!
So repeat after me.
Just because I can work any hour from my phone does not mean I should work any hour on my phone.
Set your boundaries now. Know what is acceptable for you, don’t let your work life take over your real life. I’ve been there. It’s not fun for anyone.
Ok… so now we have our boundaries set. Let’s look at my phone office set up.
THE SECRET LIFE OF THE PHONE OFFICE: 19 Apps I can’t work without…
I’m writing this via the good docs app on my phone which I access via drive so I can keep all my docs organised. And they sync to my laptop so if I want to switch to my laptop to finish off this article it’ll be there ready and waiting in my beautifully organised drive.
Like word but its google so its way better! It syncs with my g-drive, I can share with team members and track our edits, history and even have conversations right there in the doc – time-saving genius when it comes to editing copy. Oh, and voice typing – the one transcription tool that understands my Bristol accent, and it’s free, just waiting for you over there in the tools section. Those are the basics i use all the time, but there’s so much more, you could get lost in the add-ons for days!
I never thought I’d be that person that loves a spreadsheet but I am! And I put it down to google. Excel just seemed too stuffy, but sheets, well google sheets is my planning tool of dreams. I use it to plan out my annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly & daily goals… yes, I break it down that far. With everything easy to access across tabs, formulas set for auto calculations… I never thought this visual designer heart would love a spreadsheet so much, but I can honestly say the system I have set up with sheets is far better than all the business planning tools I’ve paid for. Why? because it’s totally tailored to me.
* if you want a peek at my business planning spreadsheet on google sheets, hit reply and let me know and I’ll create a version to share with you *
Ok, so if you don’t know my deep routed love of google slides already – where have you been.
Disrupt The Timeline is a collection of over 400 social media design templates all created using only google slides. All the graphics on my website, the blog, emails, social media – ALL created using google slides. In fact, I’m not sure why I even have a creative suite account anymore, pretty much everything you might have needed InDesign & Photoshop & a designer for you can do in Google Slides. And you can do it from the app on your phone too. Yup. You can sit there in your pants, in bed, writing your latest blog post, upload it to your site, and create the graphics to share online all from your phone! In fact, with the phone office must-haves I’ve listed below you can do everything in this process all from you pocket office.
* want to know more about how I use Google slides, AC, WP & Later to run and manage my content creation from my phone, in less than 30 minutes a month? Hit reply and let me know and I’ll share more about this process with you *
Gmail & Boomerang
With my love of all things Google it’s not surprising I’m a Gmail user. I set up my business emails through Gmail when I changed my business name after a year freelancing under my oh so bland freelancer business name, when I set that up I didn’t know about Gmail for emails and had the old fashioned email set up using my hosting – BIG mistake, that is shaky ground, when your site hosting goes down so does your email! I learnt that the hard way, and promptly moved my email to Gmail – email life had been happier ever since. Especially with the add-on ‘Boomerang’ this sneaky tools lets you schedule times for your email replies – so if you need to email someone a reminder tomorrow but if you don’t write it now you’ll forget, you can do it now and set it to go out at your chosen time in the future! So handy. But that’s not al this genius tool does go check it out and thank me later!
Ok, so this isn’t an app, yet – but it’s one I access from my phone all the time, well, once a month anyway when it comes time for scheduling these weekly blogs and emails. I’ve been around a few email marketing systems, from Office AutoPilot, to Get Response, I even flirted with Kartra for a while, but ActiveCampaign is the best I’ve known for email automation, campaigns, and customer relationship stuff. There’s so much you can do with AC if you’re looking for an email system I highly recommend taking a look at ActiveCampaign.
Slack & Whatsapp
Two of my favourite communication tools for day to at connection with business buddies and mastermind groups. Slacks ability to have multiple channels for various topics is genius for team projects. If you’ve got a team and you’re still using email to check in on projects then check out slack and don’t look back!
Because sometimes ideas hit you at the most inconvenient times for writing, and you need to just get it down somewhere before you lose that idea. I love using voice memo when working with my copywriter on big projects, I can ramble on about everything that I want to say and rather than just a brain dump of words, we’ve got that layer of emotions you can hear through the voice that gets missed on notes.
Because stock images are so 2010! With the camera technology most phones have these days there’s no excuse not to start building your own collection of branded photos. Get your camera out and start snapping behind the scenes of your business. Take pics when you’re heading to meetings when you’re at your desk – whatever your desk today looks like. These photos are perfect for sharing on your social media channels, and your blog, and if you’re handy with the camera they might even make it to your website pages.
* phone challenge, take a photo right now, well when you’ve finished reading this. Take a picture of wherever you are right now reading this post. Then upload it to your social media channel of choice, Instagram probably the best for this if you have an account there, and caption it with something along the lines of ‘STOP. Join me in a moment of appreciation for however you run your business and your life right now, checking this on a train, grabbing 5 mins to yourself while the baby naps, sat at your desk doing your planned social media time – go you if you’re that organized. Take a picture that sums up what you’re doing right now and share it with me, use the hashtag: #lifebydeesign’ & tag me: @deewoodward so I can share in your world today.
iPhone screen record
One of my new latest obsessions is screen recording from my phone as I navigate through the pages on my phone. If you’re selling a digital product, like DTT, then this is a quick and easy way to showcase your offerings. Take a peek at the video I recorded for dtt to get a feel for what’s possible from your phone
One of my most recent finds. Simple video editing right there on your phone. Need to crop out sections from your screen recording, trim the start, cut out bloopers, add text overlays, or music, tie together a few videos into one… do it all from your phone with this handy app
Instagram & Facebook
Goes without saying that these two feature on my go to business apps. You’ll find me in there most days, connecting & scrolling, sometimes for ‘work’ most the time just for fun. Is it really work when you love it so much?
This tool has been my saviour when it comes to creating and sharing consistent content. Between google slides, later & active campaign I’ve managed to perfect a process for getting my content created and shared each month in under 30 minutes! Which really deserves a blog post on its own, if you’d be interested in finding out more about how I use these tools to create content every month in under 30 mins, hit reply and let me know and I’ll get cracking writing that process up for you.
* if you haven’t tried Later yet and what to give it a go, click here and you can get 10 free posts on me *
PayPal, Stripe, My Bank
And finally, let’s talk money. Because without it your business is just a hobby! And with these apps on my phone, I can get those lovely pings pop up every time someone buys one of my products. Right now DTT is on pre launch sale and I still get the fuzzies every time someone buys and my phone pings me a note telling me a new member has joined. Celebrating every sale is something I’ve started doing recently, it’s not something I used to do, but now I have a mini party on my phone for each and every person that invests with me.
PHEW… that turned into quite the list. Although I’m sure there are more I use on a regular basis, these are my current go-to favourites, ones that mean I can, when I want to, run my whole business from my back pocket!
What’s your must-have business app right now?
Is it one of the ones I’ve mentioned above or do you have a secret business tool of your own? I’d love to hear from you, so hit reply and let me know