The Nomadic Worker’s Mobile Office

Many people dream of working when they want and where they want, but is this really possible?  Can you fit your office into a small bag and still remain in contact with your office?  Can you run a business from the beach, a coffee shop or hotel room?  Certainly you can and here is how you set up your office.

First thing you need is a really sturdy bag and if it does not scream “computer bag” it will be much less likely to be stolen.  However you should really get a strong, waterproof one in order to protect your office supplies.

Next is your laptop and you can now really get some lightweight laptops with some real power in the engine.  Chromebooks are really lightweight but a little constrained on what they can do.  The Macs are very desirable but other brands are now challenging them.  Just remember that you will be lugging this around with you, so make it as light as you can afford.  If your work involves long documents and/or graphics and movies then you really need some power.

Next you need to get yourself a cloud back up system such as drop box, so that you can save those big files off line and also back up your files all the time.  You should also get some memory sticks – those really small USB based storage systems.  You can now get some really large storage in these; I have two 64gb memory sticks that clip onto my key ring if I want them to.  This gives me two copies of all my files on my computer with space to spare.  I also back up my all important emails regularly.  Most business correspondence is by email now and to lose these would be disastrous.

If you use a mouse, and I prefer to, then buy a small Bluetooth one and a small mouse mat.  The mouse mat travels inside the clam of your laptop to provide a little more security for your screen.  Get yourself a couple of cables for your various gizmos such as your phone and tablet. Add a printer cable so that you can print off things if you need to.  I put these cables, plus a few spares and some USB plugs and plug converters into a small bag so that I know where they all are.  You can get a cable bag as well as a neoprene bag from eBay quite easily.  Keeping your laptop in a small neoprene or leather slip cover allows you to take it easily out of the bag for security checks or to place into a safe.  It also protects it as it is carried in your bag. Do the same for your tablet and phone and they should all arrive safely.

Talking of printers, if you work better with a printer you can get some really small ones now.  Put this, plus some spare paper and ink cartridges into a separate bag.  That way it will not bounce against your lap top. Many people no longer need printers or rely on hotels to print the odd document for them. 

If you are in the presentation business you can buy very small projectors that will fit into your hand.  Most people rely on their host companies to lend them a projector, but your own projector saves a lot of comms problems.

Now throw in a pencil case with basic supplies such as a couple of good pens, a small stapler and ruler and you have your travelling office.  I always include a couple of bulldog clips and small carbineers, as these are really useful.  The latter I use to hold my memory sticks – they are so small now that I keep losing them.

I am a scribbler when I plan out things so I keep a large notebook to keep all my notes.  If I meet a client I keep the meeting notes there as well. If you date each page, you have a record of all your work.  Using a book is far better than individual pages that need filing and may get lost.  I also have a few small notebooks to keep messages and jottings.  Lastly I have some clear folders to keep my receipts, notes, brochures etc.  Luckily modern life does not need much filing now.

If you are travelling and not using hotels or are in problem areas then get yourself a travelling safe such as a pacsafe.  These are mesh bags with a long cable that you can attach to a piece of heavy furniture or structure.  These can be a slight problem to get through security as they look like a mesh of wires on the security screen so carry it in hand luggage.

Talking of luggage put it all on wheels so that you are as mobile as possible.  However strong you are, lugging a case around soon gets old when you lead a nomadic life.

You now have everything you need to work around the world except for one thing – wi fi.  When travelling you soon get adept at finding wi fi hot spots but in some places they are just not there.  So get a phone contract that gives you some data and work out how to tether your phone.  This will give you your own wi fi for your lap top.  However if you want the free stuff, you are going to be drinking a lot of coffee or eating burgers.  Most of the chains now provide free wi fi for their customers.  Sitting in an armchair drinking a latte is a pleasant way to work, however if you get fed up with this, sit in the car park like many others do.  Many shops and retail stores also offer free wi fi so you can wonder around a mall with your phone, chasing a hot spot.  Most airports also provide free wi fi, particularly in their lounges.  Many Amex cards also offer cheap entry to airport lounges and you can get annual memberships if you are a frequent flyer.

Just remember to keep your hand on your laptop and memory sticks at all times, which means if you drink too much coffee, they go into the facilities with you.  Much easier for us ladies I think.

A little bit of planning and you will soon be able to manage your business wherever you want to be. Have a happy and productive nomadic life.


© Copyright 2015 Biz Guru Ltd.

Lee Lister, writes as The Biz Guru, for a number of web sites including her own  and where she sells her informational products.

With over 20 year’s management and business consultancy experience with businesses large and small as well as being a serial entrepreneur, she now helps others set up, develop and market their businesses. 

This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.