Running a business from your boat is do-able, but there are some tools which will make it way, way, easier to do so. In this article, I’m going to talk about my favorite business tools and gadgets that make running my company from my boat easier.
Some of these tools are digital, and some of them are physical gadgets which help to up my productivity or to keep me sane while I try to do business. Do you need all this stuff? No. Does it help? Hell yeah.
Sending money is a gigantic pain in the ass, and when you’re international it’s also expensive. That’s really, really annoying, and I don’t like getting nickel and dimed by my bank. So, that’s where transfer wise comes in.
This company allows me to easily and quickly send wire transfers both domestically and internationally without hassle or paying my bank $40+ a pop for it.
I use it for everything from moving money around to paying vendors, and I really recommend it if you need an easy and affordable way to send fast transfers.
PS. For a fee, you can also fund your transfers via credit card. That gives you the ability to defer vendor payments for better cash flow if you need some wiggle room but they don’t accept credit cards directly.
Halo Marine WiFi booster
I depend on a good connection to make sure that everything is running smoothly with my business. Unfortunately, when you’re travelling, that can sometimes be a little difficult.
While I do have back-up methods for connection, I like to use free WiFi as much as possible to reduce costs. So, I had a halo marine WiFi extender installed on the boat.
These work surprisingly well, and it really helps you to find a use-able WiFi connection without having to work from a cafe in town. I very much recommend this upgrade.
Wilson Marine Antenna
Okay, so I also have a backup when WiFi is just not happening. Cell phones work pretty well for data while sailing, and if you can get a global SIM card at your port of call, then the rates are pretty decent.
However, this marine 4G antenna makes things even better. You can extend your cellphone data an additional 4-5 miles off-shore using it, and that means more places to anchor and still get important emails and updates.
It’s surprisingly affordable, and I’d recommend this upgrade if cellular data is part of your mobile connection plans.
Skype is still great. Almost everyone has an account, and I can use it to have web or video chats with contractors for my business. Plus, if you need a dedicated phone number and cheap international calling, then Skype is dirt cheap. Honestly though, I prefer Discord for voice these days, but not everyone has that.
A Good VPN
Since you’ll be spending a lot of time using public WiFi connections, it’s important to think about account security. Using a decent VPN is a good way to add a layer of protection for yourself.
You should keep in mind that sometimes services will give you a hard time if your connection is coming from somewhere that your account is not. ie. You’re accessing an American account from India.
However, a VPN will normally allow you to change to a US server, which might help avoid any trouble.
I love Blur. It’s one of my top used apps, and they offer great protection for your email addresses, passwords, and credit cards. Email theft is the number one way that accounts get stolen, but blur allows for unlimited masked emails.
This allows you to create a clean, forwarded email and an auto-generated strong password for maximum account security. Blur stores the logins for you, automatically entering them in saved websites, while still protecting your data.
While it’s not really a business tool, it is one of my most important tools for dealing with stress. Being able to clear your mind on a bad day is important, and headspace provides that for me.
You can stick with the free version to get the basic guided meditations, or you can subscribe to get more, which includes a ton of interesting relaxation stories, sounds, and sleep casts.
The Momentum app is a lightweight productivity tool which helps to keep me on-task throughout the day. You have a single focus task, and then a few other smaller tasks on the right.
Every time you open your browser to goof off, your to-do is staring you in the face, reminding you to get work done. The paid version has some extras like deadline timers and what not, but the free version does everything I want.
Believe it or not, some places still insist on getting a physical signature. So, if you’re running a business from your boat, I’d recommend a small mobile printer.
It allows you to quickly and easily print documents that need to be signed and sent back. The Canon Pixma iP110 is tiny, easy to stow, and is there for you in an emergency.
You’re also going to need a way to upload those documents to send them off, and that’s where this app comes in. While there are dedicated physical mini-document scanners, I don’t see a real need for them.
Scannable does an excellent job of turning photos from your phone into use-able PDFs. It’s free, and it allows you to quickly and easily save any important documents like receipts, contracts, or business cards.
If you have employees or a personal assistant, they can also use your account for things like scanning your mail or sending you important documents.
The business world moves slowly, and there are still people out there using faxes. If you find that you need to send one, then you can easily do so via email with the Hello Fax app.
You can send faxes to other businesses or individuals, and you can even receive faxes via email! Your employees or assistant can also use the app under the account to send faxes on behalf of your corporation if need be.
You can send 5 faxes for free, or if you need to send faxes regularly, then they some very affordable monthly plans.
You should be using this already, but if you aren’t.. get it now. Authentication adds a second layer of protection for all of your accounts, and I use it on everything.
People can easily steal your hosting accounts, domains, email addresses, bank accounts, paypal accounts, and literally anything else you can think of.
For the average person, this is an inconvenience, but for a business, this can mean bankruptcy. Especially if they mess with your website or social media accounts, which you’ve spent a lot of time and money building. Protect yourself.
Need to hire somebody quickly to do some work for you? Upwork has a huge network of professionals that are ready to bid on your tasks. You can hire graphic designers, developers, writers, editors, virtual assistants, and pretty much anyone else that can do work remotely.
Upwork manages the payment of those workers so that you don’t have to deal with it, and it’s easy to view feedback, samples, and other important things before you agree to a contract.