Cloud Computing for the Self Employed
As a self-employed operations strategist, Susan Shapiro spends as much time working in her clients’ offices as she does in her own. To be able to access those projects from anywhere, Shapiro turned to the cloud.
“Having my desktop in the cloud which includes a fully integrated VoIP phone allows me the freedom to work from anywhere from anyone’s computer,” she said.
Cloud computing has been a boon for businesses of all sizes and industries, but for the self-employed worker, the cloud has been a lifeline. For a businessperson who juggles the roles of boss, secretary, bookkeeper, and everything else, the cloud takes care of IT concerns without the need to hire an IT staff.
“The cloud keeps costs down, which is essential for us as a startup,” said Paul Grossinger, whose startup company developed the MMGuardian Parental Control application for Android mobile phones. “Many tools, like Google Docs and Dropbox, cost nothing and are incredibly useful.”
For Monika M. Wahi, an Independent Research Consultant, said the cloud makes the software she needs for her business more accessible. “Now all that is easy — I buy online, download from the cloud, and install,” she said. “And if it doesn’t work or something doesn’t want to talk to something else, I can click ‘Chat’ on a support page and someone will immediately give me real-time support or reverse my order. Dealing with things like this were not trivial in 2002, when I first began my business.”
Wahi also pointed out another unsung benefit of the cloud for the self employed. For self-employed consultants, writers, designers, software developers, and dozens of other start-up or single-person businesses, the “office” is often space in the house and sometimes that space is a corner of the living room or a desk in the kitchen.
“My little apartment doesn’t have space for binders of paper,” Wahi said. With the cloud, the self employed can have a paperless office without worrying about using up all the space on their computer’s hard drive. Instead, documents, photos, presentations, videos – anything created for work – can be stored in the cloud. And if you want to show off your work to prospective clients, rather than carry around a portfolio, you can quickly pull up samples anywhere, anytime.
The cloud also provides an extra bit of protection to all of that data you are creating. “As an individual in business, I need to ensure that my data is backed up,” said Shapiro. “While some self-employed are good about backing up their data, many do it on a small hard drive that lives next to their computer. If something happens at their office they risk losing everything. With my information located in the cloud, I do not have that worry.”
But perhaps the best benefit of the cloud for the self employed is not just the ability to access the information you need anywhere, but that it can be done on a variety of devices. With the cloud, a project can be started on the office computer. If an idea strikes while waiting in line at the grocery store, just pull up the document via the cloud application on the smartphone. The owner of a small coffee shop can keep track of inventory in the cloud and have that information at her fingertips at a trade show.
Running a small business isn’t a 9-5 job and instant access from anywhere can provide tremendous leverage for the self-employed.
Latest posts by Paul (see all)
- Slow-Mo Cam by Lucky Clan out for iPhone 5, 5C and 5S – October 29, 2013
- Mobile Cloud Computing Fundamentals and Challenges – September 10, 2013
- Mirroring Your Cloud Storage – Keeping Data Safe – June 27, 2013