Whether you’re starting a business or maintaining an existing one, there are a few key pieces of equipment you need. These will assist you in creating a solid foundation that is both sustainable and expandable.
Tired of struggling with your PC (Windows computer)? Been there done that and won’t go back. Yes, there are some decent PC’s out there and I won’t bash PC’s too hard here. You have to go with what works for you. PC’s do not work for me (at least not at this time). I used to be that PC owner who invested $500 or so almost every year in a new computer. It was a nightmare.
I used to be that PC owner who invested $500 or so almost every year in a new computer. It was a nightmare. I never had a PC that lasted more than 2 years or so. I refused at the time to buy Apple because of the cost until I worked somewhere that only used Mac. That’s when I realized why it pays to have a Mac. I am on my second Mac and it’s only because I needed something faster. My Mac has lasted me over 5 years with no major issues. I replaced the trackpad on my first Mac after 2 years because it was sticking, but Applecare (warranty) covered it. It’s night and day.
So what’s the alternative to a Windows computer? A Mac – A.K.A. Apple. You can get a brand new iMac (desktop) for $1299 and if you are a college student or a teacher, you can save on the computer costs as well as the Applecare (extended coverage). But Ed, Mac’s are so expensive and I don’t want to drop over a $1,000 for a computer.
Listen, I get it. Costs are an issue, especially when starting a business. I know because I’m frugal and I also worry about expenses. I know Mac’s are expensive upfront, but let’s break down the options here, and I know many PC users are going to be shaking their heads here, but stick with me. Again, go with what works for you and your business.
PC’s are generally cheap and average costs range from $300-$900 depending on what you need. The price alone is very attractive especially when you only need a computer to get up and running. The problem, at least that I’ve experienced and know many others have, is that a cheap PC soon needs programs that cost extra as there was only a 30-day trial version installed when you buy the PC. Then a year or two goes by and you start looking for another computer to replace the one you have because something has gone wrong or it’s bogged down with viruses. Then the process repeats at least 2-3 times on average before deciding to go with a Mac.
Now, let me clear the air here and say, a Mac is not perfect, no technology is, and you might have some hiccups. It happens, it’s technology. That being said, Mac’s have a tendency to last on average 5-8 years. So yes, the upfront costs are more ranging from $1,000-$2,000 but let’s look at what you get. A solid computer that comes with programs you can use without having to buy more. Programs that allow you to create and edit movies, music, and documents. It’s that old saying,” you get what you pay for.” A Mac pretty much gives you everything you need to start and run your business. You
A solid computer that comes with programs you can use without having to buy more. Programs that allow you to create and edit movies, music, and documents. It’s that old saying,” you get what you pay for.” A Mac pretty much gives you everything you need to start and run your business. You have to remember, the equipment you use establishes the foundation for your business.
Don’t buy your Mac at Best Buy, go to Apple. If you see Best Buy has it cheaper, Apple can price match. Bonus: If your business needs are going to need more than one Apple device look into Apple’s business program. Apple has sales guys who only deal with business owners (small and large) and has basically what can be described as a loyalty program for buying at Apple. Also, know that Apple is not commission based so you don’t have to worry about them trying to upsell you just so they can get a bonus – no commission as it’s about the customer experience.
Now I won’t get myself into any more trouble with the buy Apple, drink the Kool Aid, here as you already know my answer to what phone you should have. What I will say is, you need to get yourself a smartphone that has a good camera. That’s it. No, if’s, and’s, or buts about it.
Today we do so much on our phones including photography and video which means you need a good camera. You also need a phone that has plenty of storage (64GB or more). Why so much storage? If you have a good camera the images and video files will be larger, therefore, they take up more room. These days you can upgrade your phone much easier as there are no longer any 2-year contracts.
What I love (and yes this is an Apple moment) is if you get an iPhone at the Apple Store using the Apple iPhone upgrade program you can get an upgrade every year if you want.
What does that look like? I had an iPhone 6s Plus last year. Great phone! Best iPhone I ever had. I was on the S-curve (the second model of iPhones) every 2 years because of contracts. Then the iPhone 7 Plus came out with a better camera (I always go for the camera). I did the math on what I pay each month for the phone (everything is on that leasing/renting payment plan) and it was going to cost me about $2 more every month to have a faster phone with a better camera.
Fact, I am running a business and it requires photos and video. My stuff needs to be high quality and that is why I went with the upgrade. Again, you can go with any smartphone that works for you just make sure you have a good camera and plenty of storage.
A library card
You need to read books – Not just online posts, articles, and ebooks. You need to read actual books because it disconnects you from the computer, the phone, and really lets you sink into the book.
You need a library card because you don’t need to buy all these books you are just reading for research. Save the money and just borrow from the library. Not only does it save you money but it also gives you a deadline to finish your book. This time frame helps you stay on top of your reading.
I’ve read more books in 2016 than I ever have in my entire life. No kidding. Heck, I use to be on Hooked on Phonics. I hated reading books. There was only about a handful of books that I actually read without falling asleep. I would buy books like crazy only to let them sit on my bookshelf. Money down the drain. Now I only buy books that I really want to read but cannot find at the library.
You do not want to run your business through your personal phone number. Trust me, you are opening yourself up to a world of pain if you do. You need a separate line that you can direct all business calls to. A line that you can also put on “do not disturb” when you are “off.” Google Voice allows you to have one phone with two phone numbers – your personal line and a new Google Voice line which you can pick your own number.
I didn’t invest in this right away and I now realize that I should have. When starting or running a business you need to account for every penny that comes in and out of your pocket. You need a good program that can keep track of all your finances. Not only can you keep track of your expenses, upload receipts, and hook up your bank account for easier importing, you can even hook up your credit cards to help with that categorizing. I don’t care if you spent a dollar or earned a dollar, you need QuickBooks. There is a reason why they are the industry standard and the over the phone support is beyond amazing.
Lighting and audio are key when it comes to your videos. I left mic off this list only because most smartphones come with a mic and almost every headphone on the market now comes with a mic built-in. Not to say those are the best mic’s but at least you have something to get started. If you are looking for more you can check out this simple lapel clip-on mic. So lighting, you want to invest in a portable ring light like this one as it’s light and easy to carry around. Having good lighting makes the world of difference.
A selfie stick tripod
You need a decent tripod to set your phone up on for all those videos you will be shooting. This helps give you a steady video without all the shakes and allows you to shoot without hiring an extra hand. Check this selfie stick out
There’s nothing like having a good old pen and paper to get the creative juices flowing. Using a notebook allows you to disconnect from all the electronics and really just let your ideas flow onto the page. Later you can transfer and format them on the computer.
- Domain name – this is your online “street address” to share with people so they can find you and your business
- Web hosting – your digital storage space that will hold all your website information
- Theme – the template, the canvas, for what your website will look like. Try not to go with a free one as most do not have support and can be very limited. You want to look for a theme that is by an Elite author and make sure to look at the reviews and see what kind of support they offer. I use Divi as it has great support tutorials, a Facebook group, and comes with preloaded page templates to help spark that creativity
- DIY or Hire a designer – Many would like to build their own website to save money which is doable when given the right tools. Otherwise, you can hire a web designer which will most likely cost you $1,000+ depending on what you are looking for
Start with MailChimp’s free plan to get you started. You just need something to start building your email list. If you need to upgrade for $10 you get the automation option for sending emails and chat support from MailChimp which is very helpful.
Now, there are many more things I could add to this list, but these are the core pieces to get you going in business. Of course, internet is a big one, but even if you can’t invest in it at home, there are plenty of places that you can go to work using free wifi which is why I did not add that to this list.
ACTION STEP: What would you add to this list? Share in the comments below.