Working remotely can be liberating. It’s also something a lot more entrepreneurs are doing.
“What [people] do not know is that the global workforce is moving toward this direction, and the types of skills required to work remotely have expanded in recent years. I have a few friends who are considering making their work remote. In fact, my friend’s mother is trying to automate her business selling chemical compounds so that she can ride around Germany with her bike. It is truly inspiring to see people adapting their work so that they can pursue their life goals in a way that couldn’t have been possible before.”
Not being tied down to an office and traveling the world while working for clients or building your startup is exciting, but it also comes with many obstacles, including pressure to close deals, creative frustration in areas that aren’t your specialty, and distractions that can threaten your productivity.
An entrepreneur’s efforts can be destroyed for the day if caught going down some random rabbit hole on Reddit or YouTube, instead of finishing an article by a strict deadline, learning a new skill for your next campaign, or scheduling an important meeting.
Don’t give up, though. You don’t have to let distractions, confusion and isolation stand in the way of an outstanding campaign – or your dream to live and work anywhere you want.
Become more focused, better brainstorm, nab leads and much more with these nine tools:
1. Stop distractions with Cold Turkey
The name will tip you off to its purpose: Cold Turkey is meant to wean you from constantly checking your social media feeds.
Here’s how the tool’s makers describe it:
“Cold Turkey breaks the cycle between the cue (a craving for a distraction) and the reward (a distraction). The break in the distraction cycle is important. This is why Cold Turkey is so difficult to get around.”
Users can set blocks of time for concentration, along with a list of sites that will be temporarily blocked (such as Facebook). If you try to access any of those sites before your time is up, you’ll receive an inspirational reminder to get back to work:
Pro users can also block everything except for a few sites they need for their current projects, along with blocking applications (including email and games) and scheduling times for concentration – and breaks, of course.
Cost: Free for the basic application (which includes website blocks and a timer); $25 for the pro version.
2. Brainstorm like a boss with Mur.al
A good brainstorming session can help you and your team come up with innovative ideas and share thoughts that inspire game-changing action. For entrepreneurs, brainstorming is an essential part of crafting compelling marketing campaigns.
Mur.al enables you to brainstorm from wherever you’re working in real time. Using virtual sticky notes, users can type or draw out their ideas and place them on the board. View the notes by zooming in or out and seeing what others have to say.
You can also insert images, links and videos. The tool is compatible with Vimeo, SlideShare, YouTube, Google Drive and Evernote.
Cost: $16 per user each month (or $12 per user each month, if you pay annually).
3. Gather more leads with SalesRipe
You’re used to the hustle, but even the most skilled entrepreneur can benefit from more marketing leads.
Using business and consumer data, SalesRipe offers users unlimited lead views and features such as filtering (by property type, state, city, marital status and more), customer lists (to avoid duplication), a lead manager and more.
One of the coolest features of SalesRipe is a map of your sales leads to enable you to plan the most effective driving routes to meet new and potential customers – assuming your remote marketing lifestyle calls for this kind of client interaction.
Cost: SalesRipe is $79.99 per month for unlimited lead views and 1,000 downloads. The company also offers deals for an annual plan and plans for teams.
4. Stop crunching the numbers with Every Time Zone
If you’re trying to reach consumers and marketing partners across time zones, it can quickly become a headache to keep the hours straight while you’re also grabbing leads, crafting content and scheduling social media posts.
Every Time Zone is here to help. The web-based tool grabs your computer’s time zone, and then stacks it up against other time zones around the world.
Bookmark it and stop doing the math in your head.
5. Get better sleep with F.lux
Late nights and fluctuating schedules are part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, especially if you’re traveling or working remotely. With all of this in mind, however, what do you do when your computer disrupts your ability to function?
Blue light from your computer, tablet and smartphone can suppress melatonin and mess with your circadian clock, which means more sleeplessness (and less creative awesomeness) for you.
F.lux can help you by adjusting your computer screen to look like the room you’re working in.
Just tell the tool what lights you have, and it’ll make your computer look more like the sunlight in the daytime – and your lights at night.
6. Communicate better with Brosix
Sure, you still use email, but if you’re tired of endless email threads with conversations that are better suited for instant messaging, Brosix can help.
Brosix is a secure and private instant messaging tool with features such as voice chat, screen sharing, whiteboard and more. As such, instead of searching through your inbox, you can send a text message to a co-worker, quickly send an attachment or set up a chat room to discuss the next marketing push.
The tool also has a spellcheck feature, which is helpful for sending messages devoid of autocorrect errors and typos.
Cost: It’s only $.99 per user each month for the basic plan, and $2.10 for the pro version (which includes screen sharing, audio and visual calls, a whiteboard and co-browsing).
7. Dominate Twitter with Narrow.io
When focused, social media can open a whole new world of marketing opportunities to entrepreneurs. However, using online platforms properly can be a daunting task.
Narrow.io helps you build a targeted Twitter following, so you know your messages are getting in front of the right people. It’ll help you select your target users with hashtags, keywords and location, and can help you better understand who is following you (and who you want following you).
You can also track your keyword performance to find out what’s working – and what’s not.
Do you manage more than one Twitter account? No worries – you can work with several different accounts under one login.
Cost: Narrow.io is $19 a month for one account, $49 per month for three accounts and $99 per month for 10 accounts.
8. Craft better marketing messages with MakeMyPersona
One of the cardinal rules of effective marketing campaigns is to know the audience to whom you are selling. MakeMyPersona can help you focus on your target customer.
The tool asks you a series of questions and asks you to name your buyer persona (such as “Marketing Bob” or “CEO Laura”). It’ll then spit out a Word document with your persona’s details, making it much easier to visualize your customer and create effective goals.
9. Make your content sing with ClearVoice
Content marketing is hot, especially for entrepreneurs launching a new product, service or startup. Because of this, good stories are always needed to entice journalists and bloggers to bite on a marketing message or pitch.
Use ClearVoice to search for trending stories, analyze your content’s performance, create blog post outlines and manage your content – all in one place, mind you.
You can publish directly to WordPress, HubSpot and other major CMS programs too.
ClearVoice can even pair you with freelance writers and content creators, who can then fulfill assignments you set up.
Cost: Both pro and enterprise solutions are available on a direct consult basis. You can request a demo here to learn more about pricing.
Wrapping things up
These tools can make you a more effective marketer, no matter if you’re working from a Starbucks alongside other entrepreneurs, your home office, or on a flight to your next destination.
Embrace the remote lifestyle, but leave the stress and confusion behind.
Last but not least, in your opinion, what tools did I miss that are helping you better avoid distractions, power your marketing and boost your bottom line?
Guest Author: Lucas Miller is a Freelance Copywriter and Founder of Echelon Copy. When not writing, tweeting or attempting to play pickup basketball, he’s working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the “World’s Greatest Pompadour.” To get more tips on how to start your own six-figure freelance copywriting business, join his free newsletter.