It’s no secret that freelancers and virtual assistants enjoy a bit more freedom and flexibility when it comes to work. You get to work from home and set your own pace, which is something many people are envious of. However, being a freelancer means you’re on your own when it comes to obtaining the necessary equipment. Whereas in the office, you’d get what you need.
Nevertheless, when looking at the bright side, you still get the freedom to choose which equipment you’ll use, instead of having to work with what you get. Without mentioning other necessities, you’ll most definitely need a computer. After all, without the modern computing power and fast Internet speed, freelance work as we all know it wouldn’t even be possible today. That being said, here’s how to choose the right computer that suits your freelance work.
Desktop or Laptop
Deciding between a desktop or a laptop computer manly comes down to a personal choice and your needs. Still, there are a few things you should be aware of to help you make the decision. Desktop computers are stationary, which makes them difficult to move around. However, they’re mostly a lot cheaper than laptops and you can easily upgrade or replace hardware components. As for the laptops, they are light and mobile, which makes it easy to bring them along with you wherever you go.
For example, if you head to a vacation, but decide to work a bit regardless, a laptop will come in handy. The drawback however, is that laptops generally cost more, components are oftentimes impossible to replace because they’re integrated and you can’t always add hardware as you please. Therefore, if something breaks down, you may have to replace the laptop altogether. Nevertheless, they are a bit more convenient than desktop computers.
How fast should it be?
As mentioned before, computing power has increased significantly in the past few years. Nowadays, modern computers are easily able to meet your needs based on the hardware they pack. That being said, how fast should your computer actually be? Again, that comes down to your needs and even if the computer is faster than you actually need it to be, it’s always a good thing.
Therefore, when determining the speed of a computer, you need to focus on the processor (CPU) and working memory (RAM). If your work doesn’t require high-end hardware, a 2 GHz CPU and at least 8 GB of RAM should meet your everyday needs. For instance, a reliable Lenovo X1 Yoga is both a laptop and a touchpad which has enough power to match your requirements. Computers with more than 3 GHz CPU and 16 GB of RAM are considered top-performing machines.
However, if you’re not a freelance graphics designer or a game developer, you needn’t worry too much about the graphics card component in your computer (GPU). Laptops often come with integrated GPUs, which are quite suitable for everyday needs. On the other hand, gaming laptops, which can also be used for work and not just games, come with more powerful GPUs.
If you opt for a desktop computer, you can choose which type of GPU it will have. If you work in a highly visual environment, a strong GPU is a must. Nvidia and AMD are leading GPU manufacturers and they both have unique offers. It comes down to what you need and what you can afford. Basically, a GPU with 2 GB of RAM is sufficient, anything above that is for more demanding work or gaming related tasks.
Don’t forget the storage space
Storage is an essential feature when choosing a computer. Once again, your needs are a determining factor for choosing a desktop or laptop and choosing a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or Solid State Drive (SSD). If you opt for a desktop computer, you can always add more storage by adding additional drives. Laptops, however, don’t have the space for more drives and you might have to choose to add external drives instead.
The difference between HDD and SSD is in performance and price. HDDs are mechanical and they break down eventually. On the other hand, SSDs are electronic and they are much faster than their predecessors. As for the storage, 1TB of space is considered a standard these days. You can always add more or choose a drive with more space if you need to do so.
Working as a freelancer gives you some freedom, but you still need a reliable computer to help you do your work efficiently. Choosing the right computer may be difficult, but make sure you choose the one that will meet your everyday needs.
In order to see your business as efficient, you need to ensure that your clients get a satisfactory service and that your operations remain profitable. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s no rule about whether your company’s processes should be handled in-house or be outsourced to other agencies. Sure, in theory, it would be better to be self-reliant, however, this is not realistic in the present-day business landscape.
Look at it this way, even some of the world’s greatest conglomerates like Microsoft and Apple outsource their production to countries like China, whereas SMBs and startups tend to outsource specialized functions like IT and general virtual assistant services. Either way, outsourcing is an option your business is bound to encounter sooner or later and the choice you make here may just play a deciding role in its future course. Here are several benefits of outsourcing that you should take into consideration.
The first thing you need to take into consideration is the cost of starting your own specialized department or initializing an in-house business process. Think about one of the most basic examples – the delivery system. In order to handle this in-house, you would have to acquire a sufficient number of company vehicles, hire a fleet manager and pay for the specialized software.
Aside from this, you would also have to hire a sufficiently large number of capable drivers and ensure their discipline at all times. It goes without saying that the costs of such a thing would be stellar. Therefore, outsourcing is not only the best choice you have but the only viable choice. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, for instance in a scenario where you need a single vehicle, for the time being. Still, a purchase of such a vehicle, alone, would probably surpass the available space in the budget of an average startup.
The next problem you will encounter when trying to establish an in-house department is the problem of proficiency. Think about it, even if you do hire an entire team (let’s say legal team for the sake of this argument), as a startup, you won’t have the privilege of hiring veterans. Instead, you’ll have to bring in inexperienced people (despite their talent and credentials) and wait for them to become proficient enough.
Another thing you need to understand is that the majority of processes that your startup will face will depend on you. The thing is that, as a person with an idea, you probably have some knowledge or previous experience regarding the core tasks of your company. For instance, the majority of people who decide to start marketing agencies have probably already worked in a marketing agency before. During the research for the startup alone, you can acquire so much knowledge on the topic that you may become somewhat proficient at it.
However, the same does not apply to every single aspect of running a business. As a seasoned marketer, chances are that you don’t know the first thing about HR. This is why it’s easier to outsource your HR than to start your own department. Think about it, the very process of vetting the right head for the department can be a nightmare. In this way, you can just have someone else oversee it.
An outsider’s perspective
The next thing worth mentioning is the fact that in some scenarios you need an outsider’s perspective. For instance, when hiring a marketing agency to do a branding for your startup, you get the privilege of getting an outsider’s opinion of your business. Think about it, your own marketing department is still a part of your team and has a biased view of your organization.
As a part of your structure, they also start from the point of brand awareness instead of going through the stage of brand recognition, in the beginning. This is also great for customer service, seeing as how they start from a position that’s much closer to that of a client than your in-house customer service team ever could. This ability to distance themselves from your company, if only just a bit, can make a world of difference when it comes to the outcome.
Most agencies work with multiple clients and have different arrangements with different businesses they work with. This means that, as your company grows, you can change your contract and switch to a more encompassing plan or change your partner altogether.
The problem with outsourcing lies in the fact that most entrepreneurs prefer to keep everything under direct control. This, however, is a psychological problem that they will eventually have to overcome in order to grow their business and future-proof it in order to endure the long run. In other words, outsourcing gives them more room to focus their attention and resources elsewhere.
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