tooling around: taking your tools to go

Last week I went on my first official business trip. Actually, it was a week of firsts: first trip to Philly, first time meeting several of my indiepreneur idols, first time traveling with a laptop…

Wait. What?

It is true. Last year my husband bought us a shiny, new replacement for our decade-old, slow-as-molasses electronic paperweight. Unfortunately (from a business standpoint), most of my trips are to see my folks in a land without internet so I always figured “why bother?” But I just knew I could put a laptop to good use during my trip to the Art of Earning LIVE.

I was wrong.

Turns out, you actually need to practice using a travel office before you get the hang of it.

There was so much to do and see, I often forgot to log in. I simply wasn’t used to having access to my business during travel. Did I mention I also lack a smartphone?

Some of the other attendees, however, are on the ball when it comes to taking their passion on the road with them.

L’Erin Alta-Devki started SisterFire to help women craft bright, beautiful, powerful, fun, and fulfilling lives. She also rocks a fashion sense like no other. How does a muse of lifestyle, expression, and self keep her business world centered when wanderlust strikes? Three things keep L’Erin connected to SisterFire and its subscribers: a notepad, her iPhone, her MacBook Pro. I was lucky to spend an entire afternoon wandering Philly with this fierce fashionista, and, while I often caught her snapping photos with her phone, she was by no means tied to it.

L'Erin really connected with the people in Philly. I snagged this photo from her twitter stream.

Engaged with the city? Yes. Engaged with some amazing summer rolls? Yes. Engaged with people? Most definitely. But not her phone. According to L’Erin, the right apps can let you be connected and free at the same time. She specifically mentioned Time Trade for scheduling and meeting with her sister femmes-on-fire.

Carla Smyrl reigns over Crown Bindery, a home office supply shop based in Austin. I love that she describes herself as matchmaker of pattern, color, and texture. Since she produces physical products, Carla can’t exactly bring her “work” on the road with her. But she certainly doesn’t leave it at home, either! During a break between teaching sessions she let me peek at the notebook that goes everywhere with her. Page after page was filled with product descriptions, mission statements, business plans, and any number of other thoughts.

From Elise Muller via Pinterest

In other words, Carla uses her time in transit to tweak all the “extras” involved in running Crown Bindery.

She also keeps her camera, a simple “point and shoot,” handy so she can capture inspiring color combinations and patterns. As an afterthought to those “essentials,” Carla mentioned toting a laptop or her smartphone in her traveling office.

Dave Ursillo is an alternative leadership writer and speaker harnessing the power of written and spoken word to positively change the world. I swear this guy goes everywhere! In the past week he’s shown up in Philadelphia, New York City, and back to his Rhode Island home to plan a trip to Austin! Where Dave goes so goes his iPhone 4 (aka his personal secretary). It tells him where to go and when, and keeps him tuned in to his fellow leaders on the ‘net. Dave also mentioned a laptop and a notebook among his favorite traveling companions, but he stressed the importance of pens.

“I have to have several pens for writing things down. When I need to get something down, I’ll write on anything even if I  have to write on my arm!”

From ici-paris via Pinterest. Click on the image for details..

I don’t know about you, but I definitely caught a theme here:

Mobile devices are good, pen and paper are essential.

That part, I have down. And, with a little more practice, I think I can put my own laptop to better use.

Are you a newb or a total expert when it comes to using your mobile office?

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