Dateline: Cancun, Mexico
What do the top nomad entrepreneurs use to keep their businesses running, organized and on schedule?
We asked each of our guests on the Nomad Capitalist podcast about the top tools that they use for their businesses.
Nomad entrepreneurs name their top business tools
Ep.35, Kathleen Peddicord – Skype
“I couldn’t run the business that I run without Skype. It’s how I communicate with writers, contributors, vendors and people who produce products and services that we market.
They’re all around the world, in different countries, in different time zones, traveling all the time. I communicate with them all via Skype every day.
It’s also how we communicate in the office. We have 30 people in the office and it’s almost silent all the time. No one talks to anyone because we’re all on Skype, using different Skype chat groups. Marketers, editors, writers. It’s easy, it’s efficient, it allows you to talk to anyone, anywhere and it’s free.”
Ep. 34, Keith Perhac – Skype
“That’s how you get in touch with your clients, that’s how you get in touch with your potential clients, that’s how you have a phone number in every country that you have a client in so that they can call you at any point at a real number that they think is right next to them in their own country.”
Ep. 33, Paige Donner – Facetime
“If you have a smartphone and you can use FaceTime, it’s a great little tool. I use it to augment Facebook and Skype as it gives you a more tangible connection than emails do.”
Ep. 32, Eric Highsmith – Cellphone
“It makes my day easier. International calling, Skype, whatever, you name it, it does everything. I use apps like Skype and Line. In this day and age, you just can’t be disconnected. The internet was down two hours today and I was lost, I was looking around not knowing what to do.”
Ep. 31, Sylvie McCracken – Trello
“I try to stay out of email, especially to communicate with my team. I like to use a product management tool called Trello. It keeps everyone organized and on the same page as my team is everywhere, I have one in the US, I have one in Serbia, and one in the UK. Even though we’re all in different time zones, we can stay on the same page.”
“For distributed teams, we love Slack, it really helps us manage everything. As far as communicating, for short messages we like to use WhatsApp. People think it’s just for teenagers, but it’s not. It’s great. It works a lot better than text messaging.
If something is ongoing business that we need documentation for, we use Slack. But if someone says “hey, I forgot the code to get into the parking lot” then people use WhatsApp for that, it keeps miscellaneous information out, which you don’t want bogging the system down.”
- Mark Peters – Cam Card
“You get some very tech savvy people on your podcast and I’m going to go old school on you. I’m still of the generation that collects business cards. And I’ve come across an app that’s called Cam Card on iPhone. With it, you can take a picture of a business card and it’ll load up as one of your contacts. I’ve got a stack of business cards going back decades and I think it’s a wonderful tool. It’s been a recent find. Like everyone, I use Evernote and all things Google. But Cam Card is the best one that I’ve found.”
- Horst von Wendorff – Smart phone, anything cloud-based, Office 365, cheap laptop, and TimeandDate.com.
“Anything on a cloud server I love. Office 365 comes with 1 TB of storage. Anything cheap, a laptop that you don’t mind getting stolen. A Chromebook is great because everything is immediately on the cloud, and they’re only $150-200 so you don’t mind getting them stolen.”
- Tony Simola – Timeboxing
“Not a tool, but a great technique that pertains to productivity is “timeboxing”. What you do is set up artificial deadlines for things that you want to accomplish if you’re very ambitious. And you’ll accomplish the things you want to if you hold yourself accountable.
Instead of sitting down and saying I’m going to get some work done, say I’m going to get this 500 word article or this batch of emails done in an hour. Even in high school or college, most students complete their work right before a deadline and that’s not accidental. People procrastinate up until the point it needs to be completed.”
- Nadine Hays Pisani – Skype
“I use it for everything: I record great podcasts with you, connect with family and friends in the States, stay connected with people I meet. You don’t feel so isolated now, it’s not like it was when I first moved here and you just couldn’t talk to anybody. Now it’s different, you see the faces and voices of people around the world. You need a computer, and you need Skype and that’ll keep you focused and you won’t feel so homesick.”
- Ana Gusso – Audible
“I’ve been using Audible so I can still be learning while I’m traveling. Instead of reading a book, I’m listening to a book. It’s easier than reading a book. I’m a blogger so I use my eyes a lot, so it’s relaxing to just listen.”
- Matt Newton- Minaal backpack
“My favorite tool is my Minaal backpack. This is a backpack that was a released on kickstarter a while back and it’s $250-300. It’s an excellent backpack, everything I own fits into it. It’s perfect for carry-on, it has a laptop case, it has all these little additional things that have been added to it in terms of thinking creativity that you don’t usually see in mainstream luggage. And, given the amount of time that you spend with a piece of luggage, it should be really excellent quality.”
- Ladan Jiracek – Calendly
“Since I’m a podcast host, the thing that’s saved me the most time is a calendar scheduling application. The one that I personally I use is Calendly. Having it has saved me an average of three back and forth scheduling emails per appointment. Sometimes I would have crazy scheduling after just saying whatever after the 3rd email. Living in Germany or India, I would speak to people at 4 in the morning.”
- Andrew Reich – Basecamp
“I have a new business that we started about 2 years ago with some other partners called China Manufacturing Consultants, where we help the factories improve efficiency, and for that business we use a product management tool named Basecamp, which I fought doing for so long, but once I embraced it and started getting my clients into it as well, it’s become an absolutely unbelievable tool for us.”
- Ben Wolford – Google Docs
“For Laterally we use Google Docs exclusively. It’s the only place we can really keep all of this content moving easily.”
- Tim Tibbitts – Prime Cost Wizard by RestaurantOwner.com
“RestaurantOwner.com is fantastic for our business. They have an online tool called Prime Cost Wizard and it’s a subscription based tool. It’s kind of like Quickbooks, but it’s specifically designed for restaurants. We can link multiple restaurants, so for every concept we can link them all together. It keeps track of all of our vendors, all of our payments, everything pending, it sorts out what all my prime costs are when it comes to gross and net. It does everything for me on the cloud, so we don’t ever have to keep that information at the restaurant, it’s already virtual.”
“Basecamp or Trello. Those two are project management tools. Some clients prefer Basecamp and some prefer Trello, so I use one or the other with them.”
“We’re superfans of Google apps and the whole Google tribe ecosystem. I’ve shifted everything in my life to the cloud. If I lose my laptop, it doesn’t matter what the device is, I can sit here and be in touch with the people I’m working with, keep working on documents, it’s all there. Shift it out to the cloud as fast as you can.
Gmail is amazing. Docs, spreadsheets, slides, if I have to give a presentation on the fly, just log in and it’s there.”
“Facetime is one of the most important things for us. Because we communicate with a great deal of people via Facetime and Skype and certainly those are tremendously important for us as expats outside of the United States.”
“I use a CRM called Solve360 that helps organize our client database. Asana is a good task manager.”
- Jeremy Levine – Microsoft Excel
“It keeps me organized and it’s easy to share with employees, does everything I need to keep my business up and running.”
- David Feldsott – Rescue Time
“It blocks off websites for you so you can be more productive. Facebook groups, Meetup groups, anywhere you are in the world, it’s great to meet people and network.”
- Erica Taylor – Evernote
“If you’re not using Evernote, then you’re missing out on life. It’s by far the greatest tool that I’ve ever come in contact with for keeping my entire life organized.”
- George Millo – A pen and paper
“I’m big believer in keeping it simple. Sometimes the best solution is just a pen and paper. I’m a big believer in shutting the laptop lid as much as possible and just working in the most traditional environment possible and avoiding distractions. Distractions can be very difficult to avoid in this day and age.”
- Brendan Tully – Zendesk & Zapier
“Zendesk and Zapier are the tools that we use the most in our business. The Zendesk ticket system manages all of that work for our consulting business and combined with Zapier’s “if this, then that”, probably saves us 2 full times’ equivalent of work.”
- Mike Darnell – Get Base CRM
“I’m huge fan of a CRM called Get Base. It’s just a CRM that I played around with and implemented that works better on a smartphone than it does on computer. If you’re a nomad entrepreneur you need to get stuff on the go.”
- Reid Kirchenbauer – A debit card
“I would say a good debit card because cash is king in many places and balance transfers can get a bit expensive. Very important to get a debit card that you can travel with and won’t shut you down because you’re in Cambodia and it looks suspicious.”
- Bob Martin – Feedback
“This is an unconventional answer, but the best tool that I have is my readers and my customers. Because what I’ve done is when people write to me and ask me questions, which I get a lot of every day, I’ve taken the 50 most popular questions that I get and have written books about them.
Then instead of having to give a detailed answer, I can send a link to a book.”
- Gregory Diehl – Skype
“If I had nothing else to work with but Skype, I could still make a decent living for myself connecting with the right people and having the right conversations with them. It’s a complete game changer. It’s like being in the same room as someone when you’re halfway around the world, as long as the connection is good enough.”
- Lisa Vexler – Remote mail reading service
“A remote mail service is really important. There are still some places that won’t send you anything through email or fax. Esnail and snailmail.com are ones that we have in Canada.”
- Tim Beiko – Expat Facebook Groups
“Facebook groups help you get settled in your new environment. They help you get a lot of the things that are really, really hard to get figured out in a new place.”
What are the different tools you use to keep your business running and organized and would recommend to other nomad entrepreneurs? Feel free to comment below.