Over the past 18 months my business has changed a lot. Now that the CMA is not a traditional client services business, I have been able to completely change the way that I work.
I now find myself fully embracing the fact that I can now run my business from all over the world.
These are the main business activities that I need to be able to do:
- Membership management
- Speaking & facilitating
- Video publishing
- Vlogging/Mobile video
- Social media and live video
- Email & Skype/Zoom
In this article I’ll share with you exactly what I use to run my business from anywhere in the world – from my kitchen at home, to the top of a mountain in Austria.
Let’s get the big stuff out the way first: MacBook Air (2015) , MacBook Pro (2016), iPad Pro, iPhone 7s Plus. Ok, now the other stuff…
Thule Backpack – #BringYourLife
I have searched high and low for a backpack that meets my needs.
Also, I didn’t want it to look like a traditional ‘laptop/tech backpack’ – you know, bulky, boring, and square looking.
I wanted all the equipment I need for ‘day-to-day’ work to fit in to one backpack, and I found it.
I use the Thule EnRoute Explorer 2. It’s a 27 litre ‘daypack’. It looks great, it’s comfortable for travel, and it’s great for tech.
I use this every day for work and for travel. For example, I went to Austria for a week with just this bag – I was able to take a week of clothing, several books and all the tech I needed to run my business.
Amazon doesn’t have the exact model available, it could be that it’s not part of the line anymore. I went ahead and looked for a few other options that look very similar that I would also consider:
- Thule Crossover Backpack – Almost identical, in fact it looks like a newer version. Very similar features, look and with a larger capacity at 32L. (Video – No.4)
- Thule En-Route Blur – Again, very similar in terms of features, but it is a little smaller in capacity. This is a 24L backpack. (Video)
When I need more capacity I will use my Thule Carry On. This is also a ‘crossover’. In other words, it’s great for travel and for tech.
Matching luggage. Get me!
Anker – #PowerOn
When you are travelling, and you are running your life and business, you don’t want to run out of power, or always be searching for the nearest power socket.
I like to be in control of this as much as possible, and Anker is the solution to this problem.
- Anker 2-Port USB Charger – Handy for quickly charging more than one device
- Anker Micro USB Cable – Having a few of these is good as a lot of devices, including the Anker power bank, use Micro USB.
- 6ft/2m iPhone/iPad charging cable – The extra long 6ft cables provide the best flexibility, especially when travelling and charging on the move.
Headphones – #QC35
I don’t hate travelling, but there was a moment in 2016 when I questioned if I really wanted to travel as part of my business.
I have big aspirations to speak at and attend events all over the world. I reached out to a group of professional speakers and they fired back a whole tonne of advice – mainly that travelling can be done very well and stress free if you treat it as part of the job.
This includes upgrading to business class, fast track services, picking the same seat on the plane, eating well, etc.
One of the big tips was to get a pair of noise cancelling headphones.
Towards the end of 2016 I had my eye on the Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless noise cancelling headphones. Noise cancelling and bluetooth, which means no stupid cable.
Have you tried them out? I had a shot of them in Dixons at the airport, and they are amazing. Cara was with me at the time.
She must have said something to Santa…
Hands down, best headphones I’ve ever owned.
They come with a protective case, charge cable, flight adaptor, and a 3.5mm cable in case there’s no bluetooth.
Note: New model now available: Bose QuiteComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II
Video and sound equipment
Video is a big part of my daily working life. Both in terms of social media and coaching/consultancy.
So, I’ll break this up into two parts – the mobile/social equipment, and the desktop/consulting equipment.
This is how I spend most of my afternoons. Sometimes 3 hours of calls back-to-back. Not always in the kitchen, I might add. ? This might sound mental, but I have just recently accepted that I run a (mostly) online business. I wasn’t resisting it before, I just wasn’t letting it grow. It’s amazing what happens when you know accept your reality and let it in. Bring on the online coaching and consulting, bring on the online networking, bring on meeting more amazing people.
Mobile & social
Almost every day I’ll be on Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and/or Snapchat. Images and video are a big part of how I communicate with the world.
I currently use an iPhone 7s Plus for everything mobile, along with the following gear:
I only carry one of these at a time (the straps on the bottom of the Thule backpack are really handy for this).
You will need smartphone mounts for these tripods too. Again, I have a few versions.
Depending on the kind of video you are shooting, and the environment, you may require a little more control over the sound quality. This is the smartphone mic I use.
A lot of people ask me ‘how do you make your pictures and videos look like that?”
I use a special lens that you can pop on to your iPhone to give you a wider angle.
The lens I use is the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens. It’s an amazing piece of kit and transforms what you can achieve with both video and photography.
However, it doesn’t work with your normal iPhone protective case, and I’m a little wary of using my iPhone without a case. Guess what? Olloclip have create special iPhone protective cases so you can use your Olloclip lens and continue to protect your iPhone.
iPhone 6s gear:
iPhone 7 Plus gear:
Coaching and consultancy equipment
I like to stand when I’m working, I’ve had a stand up desk in my office for a number of years.
I spend a lot of time on Zoom and Skype and I want to have the best image and sound quality that I can – it makes a big difference, especially if this is the only contact you have with the people you are talking to.
I use the tripods I mentioned earlier along with a Logitech C920 HD Pro USB camera, instead of the onboard camera on my MacBook Air.
The big difference here is camera position and quality – I’m not sitting hunched over my laptop looking down at my camera (you know what I’m talking about) – I’m standing and you can see pretty much the top half of my body and I have more energy. The HD camera also lets in more light and the quality is dramatically better as a result.
The quality matters even more if you are recording these video calls and using them for content later.
Sound is also a big deal, and I have a beard, which might not seem that important, but when you use iPhone or smartphone headphones, it’s a bit of a problem. It’s also a problem for people with long hair and neck scarfs.
Because the microphone is typically on the cable, and close to your mouth, you get this scratchy sound over the microphone when anything rubs against it, and if you’re on a webinar or a call for over an hour, this can get a little grating for people.
In the office I have different set up, which is not portable:
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone – Silver
- Blue Radius II Microphone Shock Mount for Yeti and Yeti Pro
- RØDE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm
- Blue The Pop Adjustable Universal Windscreen
For portable sound I use the Sennheiser PC-8 USB Headset. The sound quality is excellent, and it’s incredibly affordable, durable and lightweight. I’ve had mine for over three years and it’s been everywhere with me. I use it for podcast interviews, webinars, online coaching calls, networking calls…everything!
Here’s a picture of me on top of a mountain in Austria running our CMA Membership Weekly RoundUp call!
Speaking & facilitating
In most cases, when speaking at events, they will have much of the AV equipment that you require, however I still like to make sure I have the essentials to make sure it’s a great experience for everyone.
I carry the following speaking and facilitating equipment with me:
Kensington K33374USA Wireless 2.4 GHz USB Presenter – As a speaker, you don’t want to be without a clicker. (I have a back up too)
I also like to play music at my events, which isn’t something that most organisers think of, so I carry a Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker, which I can link up to my iPhone/iPad/MacBook.
I call these my gibbles – all the cables, adaptors and things that are crucial, but a very prone to being lost. I hate losing stuff!
Solution? The Cocoon Grid-IT. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this at first but after a few weeks of using it I can tell you that it’s the business!
I have the medium size in black, which is perfect for dropping into my back pack – it’s about the same size as a 13″ laptop.
There are lots of other sizes and colours too. Check out the Cocoon Grid-IT.
So there you have it. That’s the main gear I need and use to run my business anywhere in the world from my kitchen at home, to my office, to the top of a mountain in Austria.
What’s your favourite gear? Let me know in the comments section below.
Note: This article contains mostly affiliate links, which means when you buy something using these links, Amazon sends me some money to say thanks. I use this money to buy Johnny Cupcakes T-Shirts.