I help edit SPEAKER Magazine for the National Speakers Association (NSA). Each month I curate the Relevant Resources column – a list of time-saving tools and technologies.
The July / August 2012 edition listed web-based resources for professional speakers. This is the last column I will edit, as a new editorial team takes over in September.
Experienced speakers know that they need all the help they can get. It is a mistake to try and do everything yourself. However, most tasks that used to require a full-time person can now be completed with the help of web-based software or a virtual assistant. What’s more, today’s cloud-based apps give you access to projects and allow for easy collaboration with your staff from your desktop, laptop, or mobile device.
The Grass is Greener
The Grasshopper® Entrepreneur’s Phone System lets you run your business professionally using cell phones. With a local or toll free number, unlimited extensions, live call forwarding, on hold music, name directory, and more, your small business can function like a Fortune 500 company. With Grasshopper, you can be reached on your home, office, mobile or VoIP phone. Plans start at $24/ month.
Hard drives crash. Laptops get stolen. Files are accidentally deleted. Let’s face it; our lives are on our computers. Stay in the clear with Carbonite®, a software that backs up your files to the cloud automatically so you can access them any time. Carbonite also has a free mobile app, allowing users to access their files on the go. Free trial. Pricing starts at $59/year for unlimited backup space for one computer.
Take the “work” out of teamwork with Basecamp, a web-based project management system that makes collaboration easy with integrated email and calendars. Basecamp lets you to organize all of your documents in one place and share them with colleagues and clients. It also integrates with third-party apps like Highrise® CRM, Backpack, and Campfire chat. Starts at $20/month for up to 10 projects.
Done and Done
Recently acquired by Salesforce.com, Do is a social productivity app that works with Google Apps, Dropbox, and Salesforce (of course) to sync tasks and help you manage projects with your team no matter where you are. Do also includes a Gmail gadget that allows users to assign tasks via email. Simply send a short email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the app will automatically detect your address and add an entry. Free.
It’s in the Box
Gain remote access to your files from any web browser or mobile device when you create an account with Dropbox. The app lets you store documents, photos, music files, and videos securely, and access them later from any location – your home, office, or on the road. Works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Free for 2GB of storage; up to $200/year for 200GB of storage.
You’re probably already familiar with Google’s Gmail, but have you utilized Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Drive? Explore the full suite of cloud-based apps from Google that let you create and share documents, sync calendars, send event reminders and attachments, and store files that can be accessed from anywhere. Google Drive is free for 5GB storage. $4/month for 20GB. See them all at Google.com.
Known as a popular email marketing tool, Constant Contact® recently added event marketing to its laundry list of services. Use this web-based tool to create and customize email campaigns from more than 400 template designs, add images and video links, blog content, surveys, and more to help your clients interact with and benefit from your newsletters. Starting at $15/month for 500 contacts.
Like a spreadsheet, but smarter, Smartsheet is a real-time collaboration tool that lets you manage projects, tasks, sales, marketing, human resources, and more. Smartsheet spreadsheets integrate with Google so you can update on the go, and they can be linked to Salesforce accounts, contacts, and opportunities for collaboration on project statuses, files, and discussions. $15.95/ month for up to 10 projects.
Organize, promote, and grow your business with simple, proven solutions that allow you to spend more time speaking and less time dealing with administrative chores. eSpeakers, founded by an NSA member, is the industry standard, offering user-friendly business development tools that make you look competent and polished behind the scenes, as well as on the stage. Starts at $39.95/month.
You can subscribe to SPEAKER magazine on the NSA website.