As I mentioned in a previous post, I am trying to find ways to stay in my home office as much as possible. Not only does this save money and increase productivity, I just happen to love being here.
Far and away the most useful tool that I’ve come across to facilitate this transition is a service called Dropbox. I mentioned it in a tip a while back about my love for Dropbox, but I wanted to restate why this has been so invaluable for my home business.
Dropbox is a service that allows you to sync your files to the cloud. To start, you can get a free account that lets you sync up to 2GB of files. You can upload files to the site, or install an app locally. When installed, it creates a My Dropbox folder, usually in your Documents folder. Anything you put in that folder (providing you don’t go over your 2GB limit), gets synced automatically to the cloud. Now, whenever you access your account online or from another computer with the app installed, those same files are synced up. There is a good mobile version of the website, and there’s even an iPhone app, which I use all the time. If you need more space, they also offer 50GB for $10/month (this is the one I use) or 100GB for $20/month.
There are so many ways to use this service. When I worked in an office, I used to sync one of my iTunes libraries, so I’d have my favourite music wherever I went. Lifehacker has quite a few good articles on creative ways to use Dropbox.
- Sync your Pidgin profile
- Dropbox portable syncs files to your thumb drive
- Synchronize web passwords with Dropbox and Roboform
The limits really do come down to the limits of your imagination. Anything you`d like to have synced up across multiple computers, Dropbox is probably the app to do it.
How Has It Helped Me The Most?
The biggest use I have for it now is with clients. Dropbox makes it very easy to share folders. The first thing I do when I get a new client, or start a new project, is create a folder in My Dropbox. From there, I can share that folder with anyone else working on the project. Anyone who has access to the folder can add, edit, and move files as needed. So, a client can copy new invoices into the folder. Each day, I look for new files, and enter the information into QuickBooks.
As soon as I buy my NeatDesk, I will be able to scan all the invoices, bills, etc. into that folder so that the client can have an instant digital copy of all of their records. That service alone would be something I could charge extra for.
With that, I’ve eliminated 1 more car trip. Tada!
What About You?
Do any of you use Dropbox? If so, how has it helped you out? If you haven’t, and you ‘d like to try it out, follow the link to sign up today. If you sign up with the link I’ve provided, you’ll get an additional 250MB free.