What do you do when you suddenly need to work from home? If you’re a coach, consultant, educator or service provider you likely have a lot of face to face time with clients and that has to stop.

But don’t stress! You can continue serving your customers like you did before, however, you might need to make a few changes to HOW you’re doing it.

Luckily we live in the world of technology!

Brilliant tech exists that can make our lives so much easier and best of all it mean we can do much of it from our homes and on our laptops!

I’m here with a few tips on the systems I use to run my entire business from home, and hopefully help you adapt to this sudden change.

And, if there’s a silver lining I think it’s a chance to move your business forward into the technology age and gain some efficiency advantages too.

So here are my recommendations for the best tech to use when working remotely. A few of these platforms I am a referral partner for, however, these are all programs I use in my own business today, and my recommendation is based on my own experiences.

If you need to hold consultations or meetings

Zoom

Zoom.us is an online meeting platform that you can get set up on and start immediately. And it’s free for 1:1 meetings, or small group meetings up to 45 minutes long (you’ll pay a small fee if you need to hold meetings with multiple people). I use Zoom for all my coaching sessions, meetings and small workshops.

Why I like it: 

It’s great because you don’t need to ‘connect’ with another profile like you do on Skype, you simply send someone your personal Zoom room link and they can join you online from any browser. It’s just like a face to face meeting, but from the comfort of your own home or office.

You can also schedule meetings that get a unique zoom room link so there’s no chance of people joining a meeting they aren’t invited to.

It integrates with Google calendar, making it super simple to set up and manage meetings.

Sign up to Zoom for free here.

 

If you need to host a workshop or deliver a presentation, or hold a team meeting

Zoom

Yes, Zoom.us again! It’s a great solution for hosting a small live workshop or giving a presentation, especially if you want the participants to be able to ask you questions directly, or even interact with each other.

You’ll need to pay for a licence to host these larger workshops but it’s a low monthly fee and you can downgrade back to the free plan anytime.

Why I like it:

You can have the participants muted and videos off, but it’s easy to un-mute and put video on as needed. You can easily present your screen, do a slide show or demo a system.

Sessions can be recorded so you can let people who missed the live session watch the replay later. You can even let others present their screen, so it’s a very flexible platform for collaborative meetings and workshops.

Sign up to Zoom for free here.

 

Webinar Jam

Webinar JAM is probably one of the best webinar platforms out there at the moment. Certainly it’s the best one I have tried myself.

It’s ideal for presentations to large audiences where you want to deliver a presentation and be able to talk to camera. You can even allow participants to speak, but usually I would recommend having the live chat for questions.

Why I like it:

It’s browser based so it’s easy for anyone to access the session. It’s really simple to set up and user friendly. It also supports the entire event set up with registration forms, confirmation and reminder emails, and post event messages too so you can literally just sign up and create an event without any other systems.

It integrates with a lot of other systems so you can also use your existing tech. And you can leave your workshop link live so people can access the replay, or even download the recording of your session.

You can try Webinar JAM free for 14 days at the moment! Worth having a test run of it isn’t it!

 

If you need to manage your team or collaborate with clients 

Asana

Asana is a brilliant tool for team productivity. You can set up multiple ‘projects’ with tasks, task owners and due dates. Everyone in the team can have access to the team’s workstack, view projects and manage their own tasks. Questions, comments and updates are attached to each task so it’s really easy to track the communication trail on each one.

Why I like it: 

It’s free to use the basic plan, and if you want more features you can easily upgrade. I find I have enough on the free plan, it let’s me manage my tasks for my team of VAs, keep track of everything they each are working on and give feedback easily.

Sign up for a free Asana account here.

 

Google Drive

If you need to share documents with your team, or clients, I would highly recommend Google Drive as a simple (and free) option. If you use a personal Google account you can have 15GB of storage space in your Google Drive, and securely share files and folders with other Google accounts.

However if you’re keen to use the Google apps for your business too (Docs, Sheets and Slides are versions of the Microsoft programs we all know well), then upgrading to G Suite would be best as it adds a layer of security for document sharing.

Why I like it:

It saves and updates in real time, which means that when you’re working on a document, it’s always saved.  You can edit a document at the same time, and all changes are recorded so there’s no need to save new versions of a document – ever! Gone are the never ending versions and poor version control.

It’s easy to share documents or whole folders, and to remove access when you need as well. And you can download and sync your Drive to your PC to make file access even easier. 

Sign up for Google Drive here. 

 

Loom

Loom does video recordings of your screen, microphone and camera which makes it perfect for recording quick demos, training or instructions to your clients or team.

Why I like it:

It’s free to use and the video quality is great. Super simple, just install the Chrome extension and click the icon to create a new Loom video. You choose to just record your screen, yourself or a combination of both!

Get a free Loom account here.

 

If you need to take payments (and bookings) online

Calendly

Calendly is great for handling online bookings plus payments for consultations or sessions. This app is one I’ve used for years and I love it for the time it saves me! It’s a calendar based online booking app, which allows customers to book one of your consults/ services online.

Why I like it:

Your customer can select an available time from the booking screen and book themselves in, reshedule or cancel without you needing to be involved! The whole booking experience is automated and instant for your customers which makes it so much faster and easier.

It also integrates with your Google Calendar(s) which means there’s no double bookings, it only shows available spaces in the time slots you’ve specified. You can have any number of different meeting types, all set up with different booking information, so the whole experience is customised.

Calendly allows you to embed your booking calendar into your website too! And it integrates to your CRM or email system to allow you to capture the booking details automatically.

Sign up for Calendly here.

 

PayPal

PayPal offers a range of payment processing options that you can add to your website – no need for a full-blown ecommerce solution.  It also integrates with most other payment processing apps so it’s very handy to have a Business PayPal account set up to take payments (and it’s free to have an account, you just pay a fee when someone pays you.

Why I like it:

It’s secure, and gives your customers the option to pay from their bank account, credit card or PayPal balance. Super easy with instant payments that go into your account immediately.

 Get your PayPal business account here.

 

ThriveCart

ThriveCart is a ‘cart’ plugin for WordPress websites. It’s ideal for services businesses because you don’t need an ecommerce solution, you can use ThriveCart to handle the online payments for your services and simply have the information displayed on a normal web page with a button to purchase. No more shopping carts, you customers will have a greatly improved online experience.

Why I like it:

It’s been designed with your customers in mind, making it easier to sign up and buy without the unnecessary bits (like shipping address). It’s high-converting layout helps more people complete their purchase and you can add upsells in the cart for those last minute add-on ideas.

It connects to both PayPal and Stripe which means you can offer credit card payments as well as bank account payments.

Sign up here (They currently are offering a lifetime access deal, rather than a yearly subscription).

Few extra tips on going online

When you take your business processes online, you suddenly have a huge opportunity to sync your systems and save you lots of admin time. So save this blog for later, once you have set up some of your new systems, come back and check this out next: 

Zapier

Zapier is my secret sauce! It’s the glue that links systems and sends data between them. You definitely want to explore what you could automate for your business. 

Good luck!