Essential Tools of Chris CreeBy
This week’s Essential Tools features one of my long time friends, Chris Cree. Chris was one of the founders of SOBCon (and like me, he is totally bummed he couldn’t make it up to Chicago this weekend for it!). Chris is a new media speaker and systemizer, which means he has the tech skills to create user friendly systems for small businesses to power up their marketing efforts by effectively tapping into new media. And more than that, he can translate the geek-speak into normal language so people can understand not only what they need to do to be effective, but why they should be doing it.
Chris came into this business through the blogging door and has been working with WordPress for several years. His primary company is SuccessCREEations, Inc. He offers free video tips on ChrisCree.TV and has just launched a video training site to help businesses get started in social media at NewMediaProfitPath.com.
If you are Mac based, you are in for a treat as Chris shares his essential tools for success – in his own words.
- Mac OS X – When I launched my business three years ago I made the strategic choice to move to Mac’s from Windows machines. I hesitated to move to Mac’s because I thought Windows was for business. In retrospect I am so glad I made the move from the get-go. There was a bit of a learning curve transition where things seemed more complicated. But once I made it over that hump it has been a huge productivity boost for me. Routine maintenance is just that – routine. I now have 4 Macs in my business and in the three years I don’t think they’ve locked up a total of 3 times combined. I can focus on working rather than troubleshooting my computers. (And no, I don’t have an iPhone or an iPad.)
- Google Apps – I’ve been using Google Apps, Standard Edition from the very beginning. It’s like having a Gmail account with email for your domain. Being able to share Google Docs with my team is very handy. We can edit a doc simultaneously, very handy for remote meetings. I coordinate everything in my Google Calendar. A new feature they just added is Short Links, which is like having my own private URL shortener. It’s very handy for links that we share on a regular basis like our strategic referral partners and affiliate programs.
- Office Time (Mac & Windows versions) – This has been a life saver as far as tracking actual time spent on client. In the beginning I was way undercharging for my work because I didn’t track my time. Office Time has allowed me to fix that, and made my business more profitable as a result. We just click on the project in Office Time when we start and stop working on it and the program will tally the time for us.
- JungleDisk (Mac & Windows) – Offsite backups of your critical data is a MUST. I’m too embarrassed to admit how long I ran my business without doing this. Fortunately I got set up with Jungle Disk before I had any data loss. It ties into your Amazon S3 storage account and only costs $4 per month per business user, plus storage and bandwidth to Amazon. That’s incredibly inexpensive insurance should you have a major data loss event such as a hard drive crash, stolen computer, fire, or other natural disaster. We back up all our computers nightly via Jungle Disk. And we back up our project computers locally via Mac’s time machine to external storage drives. Oh, and between now and this June, Amazon isn’t charging any bandwidth fees for uploads so get all of your data uploaded to your S3 account now before the price goes up! And as a note, your first backup will take a long time, several days probably. But it is worth going through that because once you do subsequent backups usually only take a few minutes each.
- 1Password (Mac Only) – This password managing program is a lifesaver. It securely remembers all our logins for our social media profiles, client accounts, etc. Not only is it secure, but it allows us to securely share them between computers so all my passwords are always securely synced between my desktop and my laptop. And, because the program remembers the passwords for me I use much more secure passwords than I did when I had to remember them all.
- PixelStick (Mac Only) - This handy tool lets me measure pixel distances on the screen, which is incredibly handy for the WordPress design work we do, expecially when troubleshooting people’s broken sites in our WordPress Support business. Just drag the ends of the measuring stick to the points you want to measure on your screen and the readout tells how many pixels are in between the ends.
Thanks Chris for your “all-Mac” Essential Tools!
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