Our team has built virtual offices for more than 10 years, and so we’re always on the lookout for useful tools from around the web. Here, we share with you some of the most useful tools we’ve found to build low-overhead, highly effective paths to getting done what you need done for your business:
(1) Voicerecorder hi def: this app is available for iPhone. Our team doesn’t know about Android or other platforms. It is ideal for recording thoughts on the go and having them transcribed later. It allows files to be uploaded to dropbox from within the app. Of course you could share the dropbox folder with whomever you would like, such as a transcriptionist who could type your final document and email it to you. Where would you find someone like that? Read on.
(2) Dropbox: the best application we’ve seen for sharing files between all your computers. Works on mac and PC. Use with ECM, sendtodropbox and efax to make a great way to get documents uploaded to all your computers at once.
(3) Sendtodropbox.com: this does exactly what it says. It gives you an email address you can use with your smartphone to get documents into dropbox (and therefore all your computers) to truly go paperless.
(4) Peopleperhour.com: People per hour is one of several platforms where you can find independent contractors to do many different things. Tasks like transcribing your audio files from dropbox, maintaining a calendar, creating a logo, and many other things are available from this platform which is by far our favorite.
(5) Getfriday.com: this is another of the most useful tools on the list. Getfriday is a team in India that will allow you to retain a virtual personal assistant. You can get a great assistant if you specify excellent English, etc., up front. Your assistant will do anything that does not require physical presence, like: place calls, maintain a calendar, online shopping (they protect your credit card with certain techniques), fill out online applications, and many other tasks. Many of us on the team now have a virtual assistant and it is really excellent.
(6) 1dollarscan.com: This will allow you to send any book to an address (eg from Amazon directly or anywhere else) and will then turn it into a PDF for you to download. Excellent quality.
(7) Doodle: this tool is a great way to get a group to commit to a meeting time.
(8) Boomerang: this tool is an add-on for gmail that will show you when an email you’ve sent has been read, send a reminder email, etc.
(9) Gotomypc: best way to have your office computer accessible from home and vice-versa. Will usually install on your office computer despite firewalls and other network blocks.
(10) Gotomeeting: if you work with a team that’s spread across North America, or if you want to talk with your family on a night you can’t be home, Gotomeeting works great. It’s even better than free apps because you can record meetings you host, upload them to dropbox, and get a transcript for later.
(11) Efax: you can setup an efax number to receive documents and email them to you as attachments. You can also have it send to dropbox. In other words, you can fax things from any fax machine and have it quickly on all your computers for e-signature or whatever you need. Go to efax.com
(12) Textlater: this is a clever iPhone app that lets you program when and where you’d like a text sent sometime in the future.
(13) Postal methods: this allows you, from your phone or computer, to write a letter and mail it anywhere (at least in the US). You do the typing and they do the mailing. Google postal methods. Obviously you can use this even if you’re out of the country. Google postalmethods.
(14) Click2mail: this is a great option for sending certified letters. You can do it all from your computer. Google click2mail.
(15) Uber: this app allows you to get a private car (instead of calling a taxi) in most medium to large cities.
(16) Pocket Scanner: this app creates PDFs from anything you can snap with the camera on your smartphone. Available for iPhone.
(17) Evernote: this service allows you to keep notes, photos, and anything else you need. You can have it available across platforms and on your PC. Available at the app store and online.
(18) Google Voice: this service gives you a free phone number. You can create a message and direct the number to any phone (or phones) you’d like. You can change the phone number whenever you need to be less available. The service will also transcribe the message and send it to you as an email.
(19) Badnews robot: this is available on the iPhone app store and also on the web. This clever app will call any number you specify and deliver a message you specify that contains bad news. Hysterical and anonymous.
(20) Google drive: this allows you to upload documents and files that you can share across computers.
Hope you find these 20 tools as useful as we have. Tools like these allow us to setup low overhead business models and experiment to find ones that work. Interested in more useful business tools from around the web? Let us know.