For many of us, running our own business means being the boss, the secretary, the receptionist, the marketing department, the janitor and everything in between.
How do you do all this from one desk? Along with the computer and cell phone there are three things no home office should be without.
This may sound obvious because of course every home office needs a printer copier. But many people get all excited about getting their offices set up and invest in much more printer / copier / scanner than they need. All you really need is a small, inexpensive, flat bed printer / copier. There are occassions when you are asked to send in a photo copy of a passport or drivers license or you just need to copy one page out of a book. I have used the a plain Canon printer/copier line for years and have had been very happy with this little work horse. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but does exactly what I need it to do. It prints. It copies. The cost is under $40. Of course the replacement ink is about $20 but there is no getting around that.
This is the home office product that I cannot recommend highly enough. Even if you have an “all-in-one” printer that includes a scanner check out the Fujitsu ScanSnap. It is tiny and truly does scan documents in a snap. My documents seem to fly through the scansnap. It produces beautiful PDF copies that are then organized in a ScanSnap library.
The reason I recommend this product over other similar products out there is the speed, compact size, reliability and ease of use this product provides. It scans the front and the back of a page in one pass which saves tons of time and headaches when you are trying to figure out which way to place the page so that they line up correctly once they are scanned in.There are other scanners out there that may promise greater organizational features but they may not be as reliable and easy to use as the scansnap. Be sure and read the reviews before purchasing. The Fujitsu scansnap has been around for years and is super reliable.
If you travel a lot or just want to scan in receipts or single page documents you may want to try the mobile Fujitsu scansnap. There is a great video review online that demonstrates how quickly and easily this works.
This is the final piece to the equation. You have printed off your document and signed it. You have scansnapped the document back into your computer and now have your signed document safely stored in digital format. But you have been asked to Fax it back someone. The problem with traditional fax machines is that you first of all need a land line and secondly if you are traveling you need to find a fax machine to use.
Instead I use Maxemail which sends and receives faxes from my computer. The great thing for me is that I have had this same fax number for over 10 years and have never had to send clients a new number even though I have lived in 3 different states and two different countries during that time. My fax number always follows me.
Additionally, when a fax comes in there is a text message alert sent to my cell phone and so I know I have a fax waiting for me and can get to that right away. It is also very secure as it goes directly to your computer and there is never any loose paper sitting around for anyone to look at.
The charge for this service is really reasonable and works out to be much less than having a landline put in, buying a fax machine, and then worrying about whether or not there is a missed fax.
Albert Einstein is attributed with saying, “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, Of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” I think Einstein would like the looks of our new office spaces.