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Remote Work

How Remote Work Saved Me! Conquering All Odds

How Remote Work Saved Me! Conquering All Odds

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Employee Management, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way | No Comments

 LinkedIn: shahzadyaqoob/  Facebook: shahzad.yaqoob.125
 Upwork: shahzadyaqoob
Email: shahzad@osbprovider.com

Shahzad Yaqoob (aka Nick) is an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a family man, and a human being with a strong resolve. He is an avid reader, a keen sports fan, and loves to spend time with his kids.

He has travelled across the oceans and built a remote career for himself, which no one except his brother believed could work out. He has been successful in establishing an award-winning company that not only offers a professional and flexible work environment but is productive and rewarding for all those involved—the IdeasUnlimited Family.

He is the founder and CEO of IdeasUnlimited, a business support services providing firm that is headquartered in Houston.

Self-discipline and a strong drive can help you overcome any situation and Shahzad proved that in quite short time. He has become an inspiration for all those who know him in a professional capacity.

A chat with him revealed much more about his struggles and relentless efforts to gain a reputable position for himself and help others see the light at the tunnel’s end.

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Social Anxiety and Remote Work

Nick's Story of How Remote Work Saved Him

Like me, most of you must have heard of and may have met people dealing with some kind of psychological struggle. But it is hard to fathom the agony they must be going through in order to meet day to day expectations as a family member and a worker. Typically, our society does not consider them fit to be a part of normal life.

Social anxiety impacts a worker’s life as soon as the day starts. A worker starts worrying about commuting to work, meeting people, deadlines, and the office environment. These worries also have spillover effects in their personal life.

It is usually advised to work on your anxiety disorders and then re-enter the workplace. However, it is neither financially nor professionally feasible. There are many different types of anxiety conditions but the proven key to success despite anxiety issues is to find an outlet and not let anxiety control your life.

Remote work has been a blessing in disguise for many of us facing geographical, health, and social constraints.

Shahzad had been struggling with acute social anxiety since his teenage years but in 2010 it worsened as a never-ending turbulence for his social existence. He was so perturbed that he could not contemplate any other solution other than ending everything, including his life.

As he left his regular job, he got called in for a part time remote job as an outbound caller. Halfheartedly, he accepted it and soon realized the opportunities that remote work could offer.

It gave me hope and that was a big thing… remote work can give you time to settle. You can explore the possibility of making likeminded friends or exploring other avenues of tackling social anxiety, or any other psychological or physical limitation you might have.

IdeasUnlimited’s existence shows me the importance of a support system in your life. It might be just one person. But someone to support and understand you, someone to show trust in your strengths and help you overcome your weaknesses, can take you a long way in life. For our CEO, this constant support has been from his brother. Today Shahzad considers all his colleagues as his support system, but it is primarily his brother, Shahid Yaqoob, who recognized Shahzad’s potential and guided him well at every step.

My brother has been the most positive influence in my life and career, my strongest support…I must thank my brother who helped transition everything without a hassle. I still look up to him for business advice…

IdeasUnlimited Making Lives Better

I had a chance to talk with Shahzad recently and it made me realize that everyone has their own battles and you never get a level field to achieve your ambitions. It is important to fall and then learn to stand tall. I realized that every company was once just an individual struggle, and every CEO-ship was once just a start…

In 2010, Shahzad took his brother’s advice and registered his company in USA. He worked day and night and built his credibility in the remote work industry and continued to build his team. Despite all hurdles, he stayed consistent and expanded his business to hundreds of workers from Pakistan, Philippines, India, USA, South America, and Europe.

I have been running this business remotely for nine years now! I manage call center locations myself in Karachi (Pakistan) and in Houston (USA), and then have partners run several call center locations in the Philippines.

Shahzad initially faced the common issues of remote team members. However, after sporadic work and trials and errors, IdeasUnlimited developed a very effective recruitment and monitoring process that facilitates competent workers in achieving the results expected by the clients. There is no discrimination and IdeasUnlimited promotes an inclusive workplace for anyone who is willing to unleash their potential and achieve results.

Now we have highly professional and trained HR and Administration teams, along with precisely tested processes to assure top productivity and efficiency, and a workforce that possess the required skills, attitude, and intent to do well.

Over time Shahzad has trained himself to stay calm and not let anxious thoughts take over his decision-making ability. He did not let initial failures deter his perseverance to achieve his dream. Interestingly, his dream has never been to succeed alone, it has always been about allowing people suffering in any way find HOPE for their future. And quitting was never an option.

This [quitting] never crossed my mind even when we went down to only one major project in 2013 for three to four months. We had a major downfall for no discernable reason, but quitting was just not an option.

The beauty of a struggle is that it helps you relate to those who are in the same boat. But the beauty of success comes when you work to let others be a part of the new possibilities too. It is when you build collaboratively to help others benefit from it as well. Shahzad proves how honest struggle creates empathy and the desire to improve the lot of others like you.

Knowing and having gone through such feelings [anxiety] and then finding remote work, which helped me gain my confidence back in life, has convinced me to show this path to others as well.

IdeasUnlimited in the Future

Shahzad often talks about mutual growth and giving back to society. He frequently initiates discussions about global social and economic concerns on the company’s platforms and I find him very ambitious towards finding solutions to major world problems. He envisions an inclusive company that provides opportunities for those with talent and one that sponsors education for orphans and the less fortunate all over the world.

He sees the remote work industry expanding in terms of innovation, coverage, and workforce. But he is looking forward to this industry getting globally regulated and judicated to meet new challenges of fraud and digital deception.

IdeasUnlimited is one of the highest-ranking companies for remote contracts and has recently won recognition on Clutch Awards and The Manifest. Shahzad thinks it is because of his team that his vision is gradually becoming a reality.

Shahzad values his workers and strictly believes in mutual growth. He always mentions each one of the senior members of his team in connection to IdeasUnlimited’s consistent upward track record.

With the same regard and passion, he wants to take the company forward in a way that it is rewarding for all those involved.

IdeasUnlimited is aspiring to become a company that meets the expectations of its clients at competitive pricing while the workers grow professionally, without being restricted by any personal circumstances.

IdeasUnlimited gives me hope for all the conditioned workers in the labor force today—they too can work with a vibrant, growing company and build their remote careers. I will always be proud to have worked in an organization that values and builds its success with people, without discriminating or benching someone for something beyond their control.

It is a company that is future forward. It has the potency to help millennials choose their lifestyle as well as workstyle.

Shahzad Yaqoob has been successful in creating an organization that has commendable work ethics and quality of service while focusing on agility and technical standards required by their fast-paced, modern clients.

Shahzad has learnt the art of balancing life and work and not taking anything for granted. He is helping others strive for this balance too by believing in their strengths and conquering the odds set against them.

If you are interested in Shahzad’s complete narrative, you will find here a detailed question and answer session I had with the CEO of IdeasUnlimited. It is a story of his perseverance and personal struggles that have led to the success of many.

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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The Future of Omnichannel Customer Support is NOW!

By | Backend Support Services, Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Employee Management, Entrepreneurship, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant | No Comments

Not very long ago, customer services were predicted to get revolutionized leaps and bounds by the end of next decade. The future is already here! A future-oriented customer service center focuses on all key aspects of modern consumer preferences delivered jointly, through groundbreaking interactive technology and optimally skilled call center support teams.

Plenty of new trends have infiltrated into customer services and support services over the time.  Many predictions were called and some of them have stood the test of time well. Digital innovation has transformed a customer service center in terms of communication channels, modes, services, time zones, and digital and human interactions.

Today, customer service is rapidly weaving into the core and unified systems of a business setup. Thanks to cloud-based technology, a customer service center is now a successful integration of skilled humans, innovative processes, and cutting-edge technology.

Creative disruption is playing a critical role in this integration. Work centers are decentralized, and innovation is elevating and sharing operations across desks and boundaries. In such an environment, a reliable firm can play a vital role in creating such synergy for you, and that too cost effectively. It can help you set a truly omnichannel customer experience by knitting marketing, PR, helpdesks, and social media together.

Why do you need a specialized customer service center if digitization is taking over? Let’s answer this question after we consider some features of a future-oriented customer service center that are proving to be absolutely necessary and seem to be bringing in the revolution at a faster pace:

  1. Personalized Omnichannel Support

Customer experience has been bombarded with several buzzwords, new concepts, and practices since last two decades. Creating value for customers has taken the forefront in service delivery and communication has become the key. This ‘communication’ is multifaceted and multichannel-ed; therefore, it is polarized into automation and live person-person talking.

Companies are using customer demographics extensively to sieve customers through their communication network. They have social media, telephone, and email to connect to its customers. With social media customer services as a first priority for Gen Z, Millennials preferring live chats and video calls, and Gen X reaching out to a live customer service representative, the newest ways of integrating social media, voice infrastructure, and CRM systems have to be worked on. However, telephonic conversations are a priority for they bring the most personalization, better Customer Effort Scores, and ease of shifting between mediums to resolve complex issues in a timely manner.

  1. Voiceprint Identification

There has been an exponential increase in the use of smart devices since 2000s and this will further increase by 2025. This takes us to the next aspect of personalization and customized customer support.

A future-oriented customer service center is now working towards ‘Token-ising’ the identity of a caller through voice recognition. This information is passed through the data channels and information is sorted and displayed for the customer service representative accordingly. This will help in end to end encryption, identification, and verification of data through core contact centers and CRM applications. Moreover, this helps the agents deliver exceptional level of personalized services without wasting time on gathering primary information each time. Long wait time for retrieving customer history puts off the modern consumer. Nor do they like repeating themselves at each interaction.

  1. Shopping the Customer Experience

Another complementary feature is the growing trend of letting the customers ‘shop customer service experience’ for themselves. This means customers can see a list of agents available, their characteristics, experiences, lingual skills, technical skills, location, and reviews. Depending upon their preferences, they can select an agent and a communication channel.

Customers can further decide if they want to share their profile with these agents for all future interactions and solutions. This signifies the worth and impact of quality human-to-human interaction. This also emphasizes the fact that consumers are not ready to compromise on time or quality of their interactions. They are comfortable in share their profiles if they expect credible value in return.

  1. Video Sessions

The key is to avoid any communication break, which might lead to customer churn. This has led to a movement between different communication mediums at a given time. Resultantly, there is a growing need to manage the shift from interactive channels to interactive sessions in customer dealings.

Nothing works in isolation in this new customer service center model. Therefore, these customer engagement sessions can start from an interactive self-help library search and move to real time

chat, then to voice and video chat in one complete session.  A smart contact customer service center needs to incorporate video support calls, which will be the main differentiator of premium services.

Video calling will be augmented through rich data, content, and tools. Just like telephonic conversation with a customer service representative, looking at an agent on your mobile screens will help develop a better and more emotionally stronger bond of understanding and credibility for the customers. It will help meet the quintessential need to employ technology but keep the human contact intact.

Future of Customer Service Center - IdeasUnlimited
  1. Data Enrichment and Advanced Analytical Tools

Data Enrichment and Big Data are proving to be game changers. Tools for capturing data, analysis, and transforming insights into valuable actions for customer experiences will continue to gain importance. Detailed analysis is required for understanding customer journeys, identifying bottlenecks, improving customer touch points, and reducing customer effort in order to increase brand loyalty.

Customer feedback and survey analysis, social media traffic analysis, and text and speech analytics can help in highlighting issues as well as in bringing continuous improvements in the future. Smart workers in smart contact centers will be able to generate and handle data analytics in a sophisticated manner to yield maximum benefits for the company. A well-rounded team in a customer service center can not only record data but also gather individual and specific feedbacks and use advanced tools for results.

  1. Proactive Sales and Marketing

The customer service center is also becoming a part of proactive sales and marketing operations. It helps businesses monitor and track service or product usage to offer resubscriptions, updates, or repairs. These marketing offers target customer engagement and customer loyalty by making it easier for customers to decide, purchase, and use.

This task is informed through data analytics but captured by humans sitting in a customer service center. Your future-oriented customer service center requires a unified system of information exchange and strategy to provide value to their customers in order to build brand value.

All the above-mentioned features are the uncontested need of the hour and requirement to be part of the future. It is very evident that human factor has not been and cannot be discounted when it comes to the future of customer services.

To step into the future you require a technically adaptive customer service center, where a multitasking agent can competently resolve complex issues by escalating between channels and take a customer interaction from start to finish without breaks. As you cannot drop communication to change channels, you can also not drop communication to change agents.

A 24/7 diverse and dedicated multilingual customer service center is not just an add-on to reap the benefits of globalized business environment, it has become the necessity and a basic need for globalized business operations. You do not have to wait any further to shift to a more sophisticated, and digitally advanced customer support that is inclusive of the winning human factor. Contact a specialized call center support provider and get a customized solution right away!

Partnerships That Build Value in Healthcare Transformation

By | Administrative Support, Call Center for Small Business, Customer Service, Employee Management, Healthcare Call Center Support, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Medical Virtual Assistant, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Time Management, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

The healthcare industry is busy responding to the growing expectations of their patients. Like other evolving industries, this industry is also facing demands of personalized care, convenience, value add-ons and options. Patients now are actively involved in informed decision-making, owing to the influx of online reviews and ratings and self-payments.

Current healthcare consumers research and look for a provider that can consistently provide them a good experience. The significant decrease in funding, rising self-payments, copayments and deductibles, have resulted in a greater demand for finding healthcare options at competitive rates.

Resultantly, healthcare providers are working to create better relations with the patients based on trust and reliability. Studies have shown that long-term patient relations uplift revenue and are directly affected by improved and coordinated care delivered by engaged workers.

Patient Experience

From the point that an individual starts looking for a healthcare service to the time care is delivered, everything constitutes the patient experience. On the basis of this patients decide whether they have been satisfied with the facility or physician’s practice or not.

Positive patient experience is an important goal in itself. Every interaction with the healthcare system adds to the patient experience. This includes their health plans, insurance policy, treatment from doctors, nurses and general hospital staff, laboratories and other healthcare facilities.

Healthcare processes and outcomes such as clinical diagnosis and outcomes, medical advice, and safety practices are the obvious factors that structure a patient’s experience with any health provider. However, another very important set of factors is often neglected during medical services delivery: Communication and Administrative Support Services. Patients expect a service that is not only available but also respectful, convenient, and compliant with their preferences and special needs.

IU Healthcare Call Center Support - Important Stats

Many CAHPS studies have shown significant results that link

  • good communication
  • timely appointments and follow ups
  • easy access to information, and
  • immediate response from the providers

to positive patient experience. Therefore, it is mandatory to look at each aspect of delivery and association between patients and healthcare providers. In order to improve and deliver overall care services to engender positive patient experiences, non-medical staff also has to be trained and motivated to deliver effective support services to the healthcare seeker.

Employee Engagement and Quality of Patient Experience

Quality patient experience and employee engagement are two positive forces that reinforce each other. Among other macro benefits, this cycle also benefits the facility with lower employee turnover, greater patient and employee satisfaction, improved medical processes and systems, and certainly, an improved bottom-line.

Research has shown that employee engagement motivates and develops the current workforce to perform better. All healthcare staff, be it administrative support, general support services, nurses or physicians, needs to be empathetic, professional and efficient. Engagement of employees—at all tiers—influences them to do their best and provide medical care in the most personal and effective manner. In short, employee engagement is an important goal that leads to the achievement of another goal: Quality Patient Experience.

If a patient rates your facility 5 stars for the great care experience they received, then it’s a win-win for all. Researches have shown that organizations with engaged employees report a lower mortality rate around the world. Similarly, the incidence of medical errors also reduces, which is the third largest reason of deaths in US today, after cancer and heart diseases.

Evaluation of a complete healthcare quality picture shows substantial proof that many aspects of non-medical tasks and services are also key determinants of a quality patient experience. When a care seeker reaches out to any healthcare facility, they expect immediate response and effective solutions. Quality interaction with the administrative support team and hospital reception, as first contact points, are as significant as the medical procedures for a positive patient and family experience.

Stress-Free Work Environment

It is not only doctors and nurses who work under pressure in a medical facility, non-medical staff that renders support services is equally taking the physical and mental toll of the work pressure.

Here it is important to understand that employee engagement is a long-term process that can yield customer-focused, profit-generating benefits in the longer run. Thus, it is not a human resources initiative that can be implemented every year or so. In fact, it is a cultural change—strategically embedded motivators that influence the employee’s performance, patient-focus, safety measures, accomplishments, and continuous improvement throughout the year.

One of the main determinants of employee engagement is a stress-free work environment that helps the employee work hard, in an efficient and timely fashion. Such an environment filters unnecessary delays and miscommunications. It fosters cordial coworker relations, teamwork, employee development, and quality patient care. Resultantly, a healthcare facility needs to invest in tools, resources, and trainings that would generate such a conducive environment.

Support staff like receptionists and other administrative support workers, accounts service providers, customer service staff, and technical support staff knit the work pattern and culture in a healthcare organization. Their duties are as vital as those of the medical staff. Their support and coordination for carrying out medical processes and delivering positive patient and family experiences is invaluable.

Patients and families are not very satisfied or cooperative when:

  • they are not immediately connected to the right medical staff,
  • when their inquiries are not answered satisfactorily, or
  • they face problems in clearing payments.

Online and telephone inquiries, data entry and coordination, insurance claims, appointment scheduling, follow ups and feedback, are some of the repetitive, routine tasks that take up a major chunk of your support services employees’ energy and time. These tasks seem very basic but are most crucial in improving patient satisfaction. During busy hours it becomes difficult for administrative support teams to catch up and coordinate with medical staff and patients simultaneously. Similarly, insurance claims, ERM and feedback calls exact a considerable toll on hospital resources and manpower.  With multiple insurance plans, multilingual and multiethnic patient groups, it is not easy to multitask and deliver care process timely. Running on tight budgets with several safety and coordination concerns, support services at a healthcare provider need to be most organized, relaxed, and efficient.

You must free up the time and resources for your healthcare administrative support workforce so that they don’t feel trapped or overwhelmed. It is more important to let them focus on core care activities and their specializations. A support services employee who is not overburdened or burned-out will feel more engaged and will endeavor to give personalized advice, directions, and full attention to each case.

What are you waiting for? Make the changes to your set up today so that you are not left behind as the healthcare industry evolves. Overwhelmed? Contact an expert healthcare call center support provider to get a customized solution for your business.

Best Project Management Software and Tools for a Remote Team in 2019

By | Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Customer Service, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

A New Era and the Use of Project Management Software and Tools

Ever wondered how technology has encompassed every field of life today? For businesses, small or big, technology has enhanced the way teams are created and the way they work. Projects can now be delivered by a remote team spread across the globe, an in-house team, or a combination of both.

How is that convenient, you ask? Are you also wondering if such work arrangements will be productive?

The global remote workforce has been growing over the last few years because collaborative and interactive technologies have dissolved all geographical barriers to create efficient virtual workspaces. Reports on remote work show that 35% companies have currently employed a remote workforce, while 89% respondents are involved in fulltime or part time remote or virtual work. Moreover, a remote team shows 10-43% higher productivity as compared to an in-house team.

Benefits of Project Management Software and Tools for a Remote Workforce

Are project management tools effective for virtual teams?

Project management is difficult with an in-house team, and with virtual teams it becomes even more overwhelming. But technology provides the ideal solution. An ideal project management software helps a remote team in project planning, time management, resource allocation, and change management. As virtual workspaces are here to stay, effective project management is a must to build a remote workforce that is competitive, responsive, and successful. A good project management software serves to overcome the time-consuming communication issues and aids in efficiently streamlining processes and tasks.

Project management software and tools serve as a classic solution for keeping things organized and meeting deadlines—leading to greater profitability. Just like for an on-site team, the benefits of using project management software and tools for a remote workforce are innumerable:

 Better planning, execution, and monitoring

 Maintaining work schedules

 Better and clearer delegation of tasks

 Better collaboration

 Efficient problem solving

 Meeting deadlines

 Faster delivery of projects

 Better evaluation of performance

To give you a head start, we have compiled a list of the best project management software and tools for managing a team, especially a remote workforce. These have been handpicked based on ease of use, agility and advanced features, free trials, and quality of customer support.

Wrike is a cloud-based leading project management solution for team collaboration that serves well for both in-house and remote workers. It has won the Best Project Management Software award in 2018 and has 99% positive user reviews. It has a user-friendly, convenient interface, easy set up, and it works just as well on mobile devices. Wrike provides tutorials, documents, and live webinars for training.

It works well for prioritization, visualizing workflows, and analyzing results. Wrike’s features such as Gantt Charts, templates, built-in time tracking tool, scalability, and workload view are equally popular among project members and project managers.

It also offers cost-to-completion tracking for better budget management. Therefore, it has a dual functionality as a resource management cum project management tool. Wrike is a comprehensive software which comes with flexibility and customization to suit each team’s needs. Furthermore, it gives you the flexibility to easily integrate with various tools.

It is particularly beneficial for a virtual workspace because of its many data management and collaborative features. It helps in creating a remote team that is self-sufficient and productive.

Teams up to 5 members can reap its benefits for free. Bigger teams or enterprises can try it and then opt for a professional plan. However, reviews show it works best for marketing and design teams with 20+ members. It comes with a 24/7 support through a live customer service representative, which most definitely is a big plus!

Previously known as Dapulse, Monday.com has revived its image and has emerged as a fun, visually appealing, intuitively easy to use, and organized project management resource.

It offers collaboration and communication tools and provides integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack.

It is popular for remote workforce management because it is easily customizable, provides in-built tracking and monitoring, and can seamlessly become part of any established software system.

With a common dashboard, centralized communication and data management, the entire team stays in the loop. Different bright colors for each project stage, easy to add to-do lists, and member-designated tasks help the teams efficiently plan their timeline and use resources.

Its strongest feature is a URL mirrored Mobile Application. This is invaluable for those who are always on the move—as is the case for most remote workers. Monday.com offers the same interface on mobile as on PC/laptop, edging Monday.com over its competitors because of the easy integration and connectivity with the team.

It is most popular with creative agencies but is equally convenient for all other industries. It does offer a free trial and has different plans depending upon the features required and number of team members. Users find Monday.com intuitive but in case you have any difficulties, its robust customer service is always available to respond to queries.  This excellent and reachable customer service sets them apart from many other viable options.

This is one of the cloud-based software from Zoho with a focus of providing all basic features of project management. It has a simple pricing plan for both the web and mobile applications.

With clear user design, its best feature is its strong integration with other services from Zoho as well as Google and Microsoft. Moreover, the in-built chat option saves the user the hassle of opening external tools and keeps things simpler and timely.

It helps a remote team become organized through its time tracking, problem resolution, and document management tools. Progress tracking is also easy and quick due to easy-to-access Gantt charts, reports and analyses, and individual workflows.

It has a multiple view option and the members can choose their own style, depending on their preference for tasks lists. Impressively, Zoho Projects has shown continuous improvements, giving its users a better interface with many stable, customizable, and advanced features.

Along with tutorial videos and webinars, it also provides in-person trainings for the optimum use of the software. It has a free version for unlimited users, but the features remain restricted. For paid plans, you can enjoy a 10-day free trial to see if the plan suits your specifications or needs any revision. All their plans are flat rate and are very cost effective for larger teams.

Do you often find yourself scrambling at the last minute while trying to manage routine tasks and organizing work schedules for your remote team?

Asana might be a solution to your needs. It is another popular cloud-based project management suite that effectively helps you track the progress of your remote team and meet targets. It offers a simple layout, where all project and task details can be added for easy view.

The easy, flexible layout and mapped-out details for each task benefit the team in staying organized, identifying and rectifying any loopholes or errors, and adjusting schedules instantaneously. Thus, a remote team not only collaborates through Asana but efficiently completes a project by setting priorities, adjusting work structure, and assigning tasks—eliminating overlaps and delays. For routine tasks, a process timeline can be used and

shared as a template for all similar future tasks.

Asana can tie it all together for you with more than a hundred tools for integration, be it email, file sharing, data security, anything you can think of! It has gained popularity among small as well as large businesses and has 96% user satisfaction reports. It also acts as a resource management and collaboration software. Moreover, the mobile application helps with real-time updates and tracking.

It has a basic free version, while the premium and enterprise plans—with advanced and collaborative features—are billed yearly. For a larger team, the premium plan can come cheaply, and it offers exclusive projects, unlimited guests, unlimited dashboards, data export, central administration and other advanced features. Enterprise plans provide agile tools and customer support. Other than higher security and backup options, this plan also guarantees a dedicated customer success manager and instant customer support throughout the year.

Basecamp is most popular in creative agencies and it is very similar to a personal assistant who takes care of everything from assigning tasks and tracking the progress, marking them as done and then moving onto the next stage of the project. It is equally popular among entrepreneurs, contractors, small and medium businesses, and departments of larger organizations.

It has an easy, efficient system that helps in long-term planning and resource management as well. It gels conveniently for multi-customer and multiple projects firms.

It has all the features for collaborating on a project such as to-do lists, message boards, schedules, documents and file storage, and group chat. Since a decade Basecamp has been helping teams to organize, delegate, and monitor tasks.

It has a good file management system and integrative tools that helps virtual teams easily access what they require and finish tasks uninterruptedly. Team members can store, link, tag, share, and comment on project documents and files. The built-in real-time chat room is great for sharing ideas, proposals and discussions, and keeping the entire team on the same page. Therefore, Basecamp is your go-to tool when groups need to efficiently monitor their projects and achieve targets in a timely manner.

Basecamp gives you the freedom to set a date range, prioritize and rearrange tasks according to your needs. By the end of each operation, an automated report can be generated to analyze the progress and save time.

Use your google account to log in and you can enjoy a 60-day free trial of this software. The paid subscription is a fixed annual payment and depends upon the type of use.

For paid plans, the best part is that basecamp comes with all updates and IT issues are taken care of by 24/7 technical assistance. Users can also join a live Q&A base for instant solutions to their queries.

Here is another camp for you to join and enjoy some campfire with your team members!

Freedcamp is a cost effective, user-friendly software that has excellent features for seamless and convenient collaboration of remote teams. It is easily used through iOS and android applications too.

It is a project management solution that is not heavy on the pocket. It is used by a diverse clientele from many industries, ranging from retail, marketing, architecture, interior design to IT services, manufacturing, construction and many more.

Freedcamp features and tools facilitate project management through project scheduling, document and issue management, task management, reporting and time tracking. It has an in-built calendar for scheduling, reminders, tasks and monitoring events. It also has invoicing and billing and project templating tools.  Similarly, Wall is the interactive feature which allows instant communication between all parties. The settings can be used to adjust who sees what. This plethora of add-ons make up for the lack of a vibrant interface for Freedcamp.

It has a comprehensive and responsive customer service. Freedcamp has a general free plan for unlimited users and projects. Moreover, the company offers advance plans to non-profits, teachers and students without any costs.

Conclusion

Using the right set of tools is necessary to reap maximum benefits of a remote team and its potential talent. At IdeasUnlimited, we have honed our remote workforce optimization strategy over the last 8 years to ensure the best quality of work from a geographically dispersed team. Our workers have a wide range of experience of using the above project management tool in several industries—be it real estate, sales, IT etc.

We would love to hear from you! If you have tried any other tool for virtual collaboration that has worked wonders for you, then please share your experience in the comments below.

 

IdeasUnlimited Has Achieved Another Milestone: Top Customer Support Company Award by Clutch, 2019

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Call Center Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Multilingual Support, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Endeavoring to provide the highest quality of service, IdeasUnlimited has achieved commendable success in delivering support services to many companies across the globe. These services have recently been recognized by Clutch in its 2019 Leader Awards.

Clutch is a leading platform that provides data-driven analysis, reviews and ratings for B2B buying and hiring. It values the importance of efficient business services and human resources for a responsive and intuitive organization. Therefore, it uses market research, analytics, and verified user reviews to filter the best service providers in the industry to help clients easily identify the best options for themselves.

With an overall 4.5/5 rating, Clutch has chosen IdeasUnlimited amongst more than 470  competitive IT and business services firms as a Business Leader in several categories:

Medical Billing

Customer Support

Inbound Appointment Setting

HR Recruiting

Benefits Consulting

HR Outsourcing

We are proud to mention that we have achieved this Business Leader Award based on reviews from our esteemed clients, industry knowledge and experience, client satisfaction, and our ability to perform a range of support services par excellence. IdeasUnlimited has been a reliable partner to its clients for customized and focused support services across the clock.

Not only this, we received another positive manifestation on Clutch’s sister website, The Manifest. It has mentioned IdeasUnlimited as the best HR Outsourcing Company in Houston on the basis of our wide range of services, projects, and client reviews.

2019 has been a remarkable year so far and IdeasUnlimited’s team is grateful.

We cannot wait to work harder and serve global businesses in an even better manner!

Get yourself a secret weapon

How to Get Yourself a Secret Weapon

By | Backend Support Services, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support Services, Receptionist Service, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, Virtual Assistant Support | 2 Comments

Some Tips to Map Virtual Assistance Requirements and Benefits for Your Business

The owner of a home-based catering service was rude to my friend when contacted for order confirmation and delivery date. As a result, my friend cancelled the order despite an explanatory message from the owner that it happened due to fatigue.

Ecommerce Evolution and Entrepreneurship

How many times have you heard something similar or experienced poor customer service or management while dealing with a small business?

It is becoming quite common as every 1 in 5 small business owners reports burn out. Additionally, one of the major reasons for the closing down of a new start up is that the entrepreneur tries to do everything himself/herself and fails to address customer services and marketing adequately. This results in inefficiencies and setbacks.

The trials of a start-up or growing business

Today, individuals as well as organizations are engaged to and through technology. Remote work is climbing the workspace trends very fast and one of the most popular remote jobs brought in by technology has been Virtual Assistant Support. The nomenclature makes it seem like a high-flying business requirement only as well as costly. But it is very much a technological boon that can aid in several aspects of ecommerce support and backend support for every business.

If you are struggling in your new venture or thinking of a start up, you will find invaluable tips here regarding how to delegate and whom to delegate to achieve long term success and life-work balance while being cost effective.

Scope of Virtual Assistance

In a nutshell, Virtual Assistance covers a broad spectrum of services which provide a business administrative support as well as operational support. These assistants work remotely, providing expertise and specialized skills to your business. You can hire one for:

  • Personal Assistance
  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Social Media and Email Support
  • Accounting and Book Keeping
  • Complete Ecommerce Support
  • Correspondence Management
  • Publishing Services
  • Reports Writing and Presentations
  • Data Analysis and Spreadsheets
  • Research, Marketing, Selling
  • Backend Support
  • Technical Support
  • Reservations and Bookings
  • Administrative Support Services
  • Project Management

The best part is, you can hire a virtual assistant for every imaginable task specific to your industry and language. A well trained and supervised Multilingual Virtual Assistant can give you optimum productivity and broader reach in international markets. Similarly, an experienced and qualified Administrative Virtual Assistant can help you save time and allow you to focus on important matters while taking care of all scheduling, communication with stakeholders, and other administrative tasks.

Benefits of A Virtual Assistant

From Ecommerce Support to Backend Support to Operational Support, a VA can be the secret weapon for a modern business, whether it is a start up or a growing business. The ease of hiring through a dedicated service provider makes it very feasible to hire a separate VA for each project, or conduct seasonal/hourly hiring, whatever suits your business needs. They provide a dedicated service, while you enjoy total control of your time and resources, confidentiality of data, and hassle-free management of a remote team.

  • As 37% of Americans have moved towards telecommuting, and the trend is on rise in the world, the decision to hire a remote worker can introduce you to an amazing and rich talent pool from where you can hire someone for just about any task you wish to be done professionally and in a timely manner.
  • Moreover, these skilled workers cost lesser than an in-house assistant. You are not obliged to pay for transportation costs, trainings, holidays, healthcare, or any other benefits.
  • You get freedom and flexibility with hiring a Virtual Assistant. You can hire them and let them go according to the needs of your business. You can scale their tasks and hours up and down as well.
  • Hiring specialized Virtual Assistants allows to you to get access to a very wide range of skillsets. You can easily get Multilingual Support for your business and even cover different time zones.

Bonus Tip: Remote workers are on average 20% more productive than their counterparts. Contracting a VA through a reliable service provider can ensure trained and supervised staff, which ensures higher productivity.

When to Delegate and What to Delegate

It’s not the 1820s when friends and family would help unconditionally in running your business; you need professional support! Fortunately, it is easier than ever to get it too, but it’s important that you are yourself familiar with your specific needs to select a provider.

  • As mentioned before, new business owners either do not feel they have enough work to hire someone else or they believe they can do everything themselves.
  • Be proactive and hire yourself a virtual assistant for Administrative Support Services when you find yourself doing low value, repetitive tasks, which keep you away from important planning.
  • Similarly, do not over expect from yourself and try to master everything. Instead, hire a specialist for Ecommerce Support and Backend Support for your new business. This will not only save your time and efforts but also keep you relaxed and focused on your key areas.

Bonus Tip: VAs are an expert on the niche they serve. However, no VA comes out of the box for you. A little patience and training about your business can go a long way in establishing the VA as your secret weapon. Or simply contact a support services provider who has a compelling history of successful projects in dealing with global businesses, explain your requirements and then relax!

5 Easy Tips for Creating a Better Brand Image as a Receptionist

By | Administrative Support, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Receptionist Service, Remote Work, Technical Support | No Comments

A good receptionist service constitutes performing a number of administrative support tasks. Administrative support services are the backbone of a successful business; hence, they require a combination of skills for efficient delivery, namely technical, interpersonal, and communication skills. A receptionist typically handles all telecommunication, receives and guides office visitors, manages itineraries and prepares for meeting and training schedules.

All administrative support workers who are responsible for customer support are brand ambassadors since professional receptionist service provides the first contact point in most interactions. Therefore, a receptionist holds greater responsibility of conveying the company image correctly and professionally. Use these 5 easy to implement yet very powerful training tips for a receptionist to define the company image in a better manner:

Positive Language and Tone

Your enthusiasm and warm tone can help you bring in meaningful connections for your office. It is important that you avoid a negative tone and phrases. Avoid phrases that are cold and demanding. Instead, use friendlier, warmer phrases to deliver the same message.

Phrases to AvoidPhrases to Use
You need to…I’ll be happy to find a solution for you
…can’t be doneGladly! / My pleasure!
I don’t know!Happy to take your message
No problem!May I put you on hold?
Hold, Please!Will have the call returned
… not availableI’ll be happy to follow-up with you
Just a sec.One moment please
Who is this?May I ask who is calling?
What?Will you please repeat that?

Usage of correct tone and phrases goes a long way in establishing a positive image of your company and products/services in the minds of your potential connections. Your welcoming language will show that you are concerned and demonstrate your sincerity and ability to help.

Gatekeeping Skills as a Brand Ambassador

Receptionist service training constitutes discerning between clients, potential clients, and mere inquiries. A trained receptionist shields the people in-charge from interruptions to help them focus on their tasks. This is when a receptionist performs the role of a gatekeeper. Like for b2b sales, receptionists take the calls and set appointments. They are rarely involved in final decision-making but they are the ones who decide who gets through to make a pitch and who does not.

Here, a receptionist gets a chance to act as a gatekeeper as well as a brand ambassador. While screening for unwanted calls, keep your questions simple and your tone friendly. Invest your time to identify a potential, new business opportunity and deal accordingly. This showcases the professionalism of your company with which it handles clients and customers.

Connect to the Relevant Person

As you have trained yourself to assess caller/visitor agenda, make sure you refer them to the appropriate department or person without delay. This saves time for all the parties. It also shows that your company is resourceful and organized along with creating an image of specialized and cooperative staff.

A Quick Recap and Follow-Up Message Before the Call Ends

Setting up clear expectations and definite timeframes create a professional environment for carrying out business activities. A receptionist can make callers comfortable by helping them get things done. For quality customer experiences, the receptionist service should include a quick recap of the information gathered and a follow-up time for the caller. This makes things easier and clearer for the one who has approached your company, resulting in higher chances of positive reviews.

Share Informational Material About Your Products and Services

In addition to showing your dedication by reiterating the information received from potential clients and providing them a follow-up schedule, a little marketing could also help create a better brand image.

You can take permission from upper management and then share relevant authorized material with your clients through any channel they may prefer such as emails, fax, post, text messages, etc.

This can provide supplementary information to the clients about your company and its goods and services. Additionally, it can show them how things are carried out in your organization and what range of solutions are offered to clients. This might also lead to further opportunities with the client and a recommendation for potential collaborations.

Are you speaking your customers' language?

Are You Speaking Your Customer’s Language?

By | Customer Service, Multilingual Customer Service, Multilingual Support, Remote Support Services, Remote Work | No Comments

In this new business era where many terms have become buzzwords and many theories redundant, Customer Services and Inclusivity have become the kings of modern commercial activities. However, language differences pose the biggest barrier to their delivery.

The Need for Multilingual Customer Service

Customer services have evolved drastically over time and it is now essential to reach out to your customers before and after sales in their native languages. It is also very important to make all business communications as stress-free as possible on all channels of interaction with customers. In a nutshell, today your business must be able to communicate effectively in the language preferred by and in ways that are convenient for your customers.

According to Wells Fargo’s International Business Survey of 2017, 81% of US companies expected to expand their international business operations and 70% plan to increase their multilingual engagement. All this global expansion has exponentially increased the importance of multilingual support, making it more of a necessity than a competitive differentiator. It is now the only means of effective global expansion and delivering exceptional customer service.

Importance of multilingual customer service

Today in US alone, 51% people prefer online shopping. To expand globally, simply offering your goods and services to international customers is not enough. You can only garner sales when the buyer understands the specifications of the products and services being offered and that is only possible when these are translated into their native languages. According to a survey by Gallup, 40% buyers do not make a transaction on a website which is not in their own language and 19% people never deal with foreign-language-speaking agents.

In this situation, when 86% contact centers have non-English speaking customers, you must ensure your website and offerings are translated into the customers’ preferred language(s) and customers interact with agents speaking their own language(s). This is the only way to broaden your customer base internationally

How to Get Premium Customer Service

In this global business arena where a buyer from Puerto Rico can order goods from a retailer in New Jersey, customer services should also be universally inclusive, to make your customers feel valued. If your designated customer support representative cannot handle calls, emails, and chats in the major languages required by your business, it is certainly time to rethink your customer service strategy. You must speak your brand to more prospective customers in their preferred language(s).

However, opening your business to the world should not break your bank and we have the perfect solution for you: working with a firm providing Multilingual Call Center Services.

Work with a multilingual support services provider who can help expand your business in more lucrative markets, create a dynamic online presence, hire a local remote team, and deal with local customers with English and non-English preferences. Going down this route would eliminate your overhead costs of infrastructure, recruitment and human resource management, IT and other requirements of in-house employees.

Not only will this allow you to communicate effectively with your customers in other languages, you will be getting omnichannel support, creating that stress-free communication loop that guarantees a competitive edge. Moreover, a competent services provider can fully comprehend the nature of your business activities and offer customized solutions suitable for your business’ needs. Best of all, such multilingual support offers scalability for seasonal surges and business expansion.

Look for a service provider who can provide you a specialist bilingual or multilingual call center representative for each target region or to cover specific queues or timings. This will enhance your brand image, improve customer loyalty and increase customer retention, broadening your customer base.

Regions and Languages to Focus On

The best new market for American businesses

European and Schengen countries not only have the purchasing power but are interested in purchasing US goods and services. To take advantage of this, get multilingual call center services that cover:

Conclusion

Do not wait any further to expand your global footprint and do not deny support to customers who do not speak your native language. Let IdeasUnlimited assist you in expanding your business globally. IU can provide Multilingual Support constituting call center support, administrative support and receptionist services, data and customer management support, operational and backend support, and even ecommerce support, among a plethora of other services. With a fully trained and experienced remote workforce, IU can offer these services across several channels and languages, including but not limited to Norwegian customer service, Finnish customer service, German customer service, and Swedish customer service. IU also offers customization of multilingual support services to fully accommodate your business’ requirements and your customers’ preferences.

Remember, improved support means improved business ventures!

30 Invaluable Tools that every freelancer and remote worker needs

30 Invaluable Tools to Make You Better at Freelancing

By | Freelancing, Remote Support Services, Remote Work | 6 Comments

Check out these 30 useful tools to improve your performance at freelance work and help you find more jobs.

Are you a freelancer competing with others from all over the globe for jobs? Honing your skills to remain competitive in the ever-changing job marketplace? It may seem like a rushing tsunami at times but freelancing does not need to be stressful. Enjoy the freedom of working in the comfort of your home, at your pace and in the hours that suit you, and become successful at it by harnessing the power of these tools. They will help you in skill development, time management, and productivity enhancement to transform your freelance career.

We at IdeasUnlimited have compiled a list of our favorite tools that have helped our global remote workforce and call center operators get their jobs done efficiently. Click the links below, and you will see the benefits from them as well!

Skill Enhancement

Skill Enhancement Tools that every freelancer and remote worker needs

In the freelance industry, you need to expand your skillset with the demands of the times, getting better at your work and moving away from generic skills to specialize in areas of high demand. Invest in your career by using these skill development resources.

1. Lynda.com

A LinkedIn resource with an affordable membership and unlimited access to their library, Lynda.com offers courses in fields ranging from business and design to software and web development. Learn from expert teachers on any of your devices. Start with their free trial month and their most popular courses to get a better feel of how you can upskill yourself.

2. Coursera

Partnering with world-renowned institutions, Coursera provides online courses on everything you can think of. You can enroll in their courses, learn at your own pace, discuss difficult topics with other learners to improve your understanding, get certification, and even earn degrees. Evaluate your skillset, figure out the weak areas, and find free courses to improve. You’ll find mentors and translators to help you through the process.

3. edX

Another resource we love to recommend to our remote team and other freelancers is edX. Partnering with 130 institutions globally, edX offers thousands of in-demand courses for business professionals. Work on your professional skills or learn something new like artificial intelligence to enhance the marketability of your freelance skillset.

4. Codecademy

Join 45 million people who have transformed their careers by learning how to code through Codecademy. Their motto is

‘Tell us why you want to learn to code, we’ll show you what to learn’.

Join for free to learn web development, data science, programming, and computer science with easy-to-follow tutorials, immediate feedback, and a tried and tested curriculum. Their coaches, advisors, and graduates are also available to help you through any difficult sections.

Time & Productivity Management

Time Management Tools that every freelancer and remote worker needs

Your personal motivation and willpower are key for a successful freelance career, but these time and productivity management tools provide the extra push needed to ensure wise time use. In addition, they will help you track time spent on each project transparently, so you can easily bill your clients.

5. Toggl

Incredibly simple time tracking for personal and business use, which prompts you when you’re idle for a period of time. You can divide up your time by projects, clients, and tasks, and Toggl will let you know exactly what is making you money and what is dragging you down. You can use it on any device, and with real-time sync, you can start a task on your laptop and end it with your phone, making your life easier all around.

6. RescueTime

This app will run in the background on your computer to track time spent on various functions or projects. It then develops a report for the day, allowing you to see how you spend your time and what activities are eating up most of your day, so you become more focused and productive.

7. Paymo

A free-for-life time tracking and management software for freelancers that also allows you to manage clients. Eliminate all the stress of managing different projects for different clients by tracking the billable hours for each and presenting transparent reports to clients, apprising them of the status of each project. You can even generate three invoices for free and purchase the invoicing add-on to generate more.

Paymo also allows to manage tasks with deadlines and order them according to their priority levels, using Kanban boards to set up a workflow. We love the feature that allows attachment of all the files of each project, so your work is all organized in one place.

8. Thrive

Marketed as the wingman of the solo freelancer, it will help you manage your projects with data analysis to ensure you meet deadlines, remain productive, complete pending tasks, and manage your time effectively. With Thrive, you can then take on new tasks and improve your earning. Not only does it help manage timesheets, it makes invoicing clients as simple as the click of a button with its instant autofill of project details.

Communication Tools

Communication Tools that every freelancer and remote worker needs

These simple tools will facilitate your communication and marketing efforts, leading to a bigger client base.

9. Skype

Contact your clients, team members, and project collaborators through the free Skype app. It allows you to chat to people all over the globe, share all types of files instantaneously, make voice and video calls, and even set up conference calls. You can even add some money to your Skype credit and use Skype for Phone and Home to call those who don’t use the app.

10. MailChimp

The world’s largest marketing automation platform, MailChimp allows you to connect to customers and engage with them, managing email subscriber lists and building your personal brand with email marketing campaigns, updates about new services offered, or availability for projects. You can even automate your marketing emails. Start off with their free plan till you get your bearings.

Administrative Support

Administrative Support tools that every freelancer needs

Each call center operator and remote team member at IdeasUnlimited swears by these administrative support tools for providing 24 hour call center support and remote support services to our clients all over the globe.

11. Google Productivity Apps

The real-time sync feature and editing capabilities provided by Google’s web-based office suite apps are nothing to scoff at. Our remote workforce uses these apps to collaborate with team members all over the globe—forms are used to collect information, sheets manage databases, docs are used to create and edit documents, and slides help with presentation of sales pitches. These apps are free with your Gmail account, which makes them ideal for freelancers.

12. Every Time Zone

As a freelancer, you must work with clients from all over the globe, each with a different timezone. Never again do you have to struggle through the math to figure out what the time is in a particular country. Simply look it up here, like we do!

Managing Projects

Project Management Tools that every freelancer and remote worker needs

Each freelance job is a new project that you need to manage well, completing all the tasks within the deadline. Check out these project management tools to help facilitate your work.

13. Trello

Trello is an essential project management tool for both individual freelancers and those working in a team of digital nomads or remote workers. A Kanban-style project management app, Trello can be used in myriad ways to manage your to-do list, visually organize data, manage productivity, and collaborate with teams. Organized by cards, boards, and lists, it is a perfect tool for brainstorming a new idea. Check out a detailed summary of all that you can do with Trello here.

14. Evernote

Making sure no detail falls through the cracks again by keeping notes, pictures, videos, and voice notes of your ideas. Manage your personal and professional lives with Evernote and become more efficient by keeping track of projects and tasks—online or offline—using any of your devices.

Managing Finances

Tools for Managing Finances that every freelancer and remote worker needs

Freelancing frees you from the restrictions of a 9 to 5 job with a single company but without the associated 401k, managing expenses and savings is likely to get hectic. You also need to keep track of invoices due and received from clients. Don’t worry, we’ve found these 4 tools to make your budgeting and financial management a piece of cake:

15. Mint

Working as a one-person business becomes difficult since work and personal finances tend to overlap, so to keep your boat afloat you must get your business finances in order. Mint offers the perfect budgeting tool, sending you alerts when you’re near your budget limits, push notifications when a bill is coming due, and charts to see how you’re managing your cash flow. It even gives you suggestions based on your budget, allows for instant scheduling of payments, and helps manage your credit score.

16. Shoeboxed

Get your receipts in order and generate expense reports with this verified paperless organizer. You simply scan your receipts, and it will digitize and archive them into accessible human-verified data in one secure location. Shoeboxed will develop expense reports for your clients as well as organize IRS-recognized receipts for facilitated tax filing so you don’t have to manually input any data.

17. Wave

This free online financial management platform allows freelancers and small businesses to record expenses, make invoices, and balance their books. It allows customization of invoices and even tracks them, so you know when to expect payments. You can even fast-track your cash inflows by accepting credit card payments through Wave, simplifying the process for your clients as well.

18. PayPal

PayPal allows you to create and email professional invoices that you can send to clients all over the globe, and they can pay using their credit cards even if they do not have PayPal accounts. You can even accept payments over the phone with Virtual Terminal. Best of all, you’ll be keeping track of all invoices and payments in one place.

Sources of Inspiration

Sources of Inspiration that every freelancer and remote worker need

All of us face mental blocks from time to time. These sources of inspiration can help rejuvenate your creative juices and power you full steam ahead.

19. The Accidental Creative Podcast

Get free advice on improving your productivity, developing creatively, and staying brilliant and healthy at your life and work. Author Todd Henry talks to authors, inspirational leaders, and artists to get their insights on how to cultivate creativity and stay positive. Freelancers love listening to his take on these important topics.

20. 99U

Whatever your field of expertise, 99U aims to creatively inspire you to succeed at your goals. Learn how to create your own signature value proposition by following the experiences of these trendsetters, so you no longer have to compete for freelance jobs as one of a crowd but stand out for the extra value you offer. It teaches you everything from perfecting your sales pitch and getting noticed to generating innovative ideas.

Legal Resources

Legal Resources that every freelancer and remote worker needs

21. The Freelance Contract

Protect yourself by entering into binding legal agreements with your clients using this free resource. Vetted by the Freelance Union, it allows you to customize the contract by adding or removing clauses and notes, and generates alerts when the contract is reviewed and signed. The best feature it offers is generating invoices based on the terms of your contract that you can simply approve and send. Not only can both parties e-sign the contract, you can set up a self-destruct time, so only contracts signed within the stipulated deadline are valid.

22. Bankrate's Mortgage Guide

The current mortgage industry makes it difficult for freelancers to obtain mortgage on favorable terms since they cannot furnish a consistent source of income.

Bankrate simplified the intricacies of the mortgage industry and created a guide full of helpful tips for you to know when applying for a mortgage as a freelancer. Their guide covers everything from real-world financial implications for freelancers, loan assistance options, and potential legislature that could alleviate concerns for freelancers. Make sure you are well-acquainted with this guide before applying for a mortgage.

Backup Storage

Backup Storage Tools that every freelancer and remote worker needs

When asked about their greatest professional fears, the one we hear the most often from our remote workforce and call center support workers is data getting corrupt or erased. Prepare yourself for such an eventuality by backing up your work on a secure cloud storage platform or using an appropriate backup tool. We’ve rounded up three of the best options for you:

23. Google Drive

Get up to 15 GB of free drive storage with your Gmail account on which you can store all kinds of files—photos, videos, drawings, etc. You can sync these files across all devices and access them when and where you like. With Google Drive, you don’t have to email entire files to clients any longer, simply share the files with them to view, download, and edit directly on the Drive. Upgrade if you need more storage space.

24. Amazon Glacier

Do you want a cheap, secure, long-term storage option for your important data? Compliant with strict data regularity standards and using three forms of encryption, Amazon Glacier offers privacy, security, and durability. With three retrieval options to choose from, you can decide how actively you wish to access your data. Store all your project work and data here, paying only for what you need, with no upfront costs.

25. All-in-One WP Migration

Backup your website and your clients’ websites using this amazing WordPress plugin that allows you to quickly restore a site if a bug or glitch brings things crashing down. It also makes site migration incredibly easy, you only have to import the new site and voila, you are ready to go!

Free Resources

Free Resources that every freelancer and remote worker needs

There are tons of free resources, graphics, and tools but not all of them impart significant value. Here are some we have used and would recommend to you too.

26. Free WiFi Finder

There’s nothing worse than going out and realizing you’re out of data. Free WiFi Finder will help you locate the closest place with a WiFi connection that you won’t have to pay for, so you’re never out of touch with your clients. You may need to purchase a drink or small bite to eat, depending on the location, though!

27. Canva

You need graphic design skills to create stunning Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator graphics but Canva requires none of that. For quick and easy designs, use their beautiful freemium templates, vast database of elements and photographs, collaborate with teams, and share designs. You can even upload logos, choose brand colors, and decide on default font styles. Our remote workforce and even internal team swear by Canva for designing brochures, social media posts, flyers, marketing documents, and much more.

28. Freepik.com

Freepik is an amazing source of free vectors, illustrations, photos, PSDs, and icons that you can use in your work. You simply need to credit the author of the graphic or upgrade to the premium account for a few dollars a month to download hundreds of graphics for personal or commercial use. They add to their database daily and have yearly subscription discounts. This should be your go-to resource for all kinds of graphics to jazz up your projects.

29. Creative Commons

Join this incredible global network that shares audio, photos, videos, scientific works, and educational resources by issuing free creative commons licenses, attributing usage conditions to the works. You can use most of these for free by simply attributing the authors, so you have an incredibly vast resource that you can use in your projects and designs. You can share your own work with the community too.

Other free resources

Graphic Burger: Find free to use without attribution—personal and commercial—icons, textures, templates, and photos.

The Deck Stack: With over 60 presentation slides and proposal templates, this can give you an edge in pitching your services to your clients.

30. And Co's Directories

And Co has compiled a few directories of free videos, photos, templates, and much more that can make your work much easier.

For a veritable goldmine of free videos, download this list.

Find free design content for a wide range of needs from this list of 150 resources.

Want to drive up blog traffic but stumped by post headlines? Use this spreadsheet and don’t worry, you can apply it to any industry.

Use these 30 tools vetted by our remote workforce to transform and grow your freelance career. Comment below to let us know about any other tools that you have used and can help freelancers.