John is an online freelancer. He gets his projects from outsourcing sites such as Elance, Freelancer and oDesk. He works from home. He works the kind of work he wants to work on to (sometimes, I’m too smart not to have a variety in my choice of words).
But John wants to know the kind of workstation setup that will work best for him. When we say “setup”, that does not only pertain to the physical arrangement and position of the units. Primarily, that involves the hardware specifications of the units. I’d like to talk about the latter.
John needs suggestions on what hardware specifications he should check. Part of his plan is to buy a computer that fits the workstation setup he desires. He needs a setup that will perfectly match the requirements of his online freelancing career. And when he decides to buy one, he wants it to be one of the best decisions he has ever made. Who wants to upgrade his computer every three months, anyway?
I’m happy that I can still wear my techy-geeky hat from Microsoft whenever I give some pieces of advice to freelancers. For those who do not know my technical background yet, I worked in two Business Process Outsourcing companies (call centers) and I was assigned to the exact and same Microsoft’s line-of-business. I was responsible to come up with solutions to security-related issues on Windows-based computers. I am telling you this background not to brag (I have nothing to brag, I should tell you that) but just so you will feel comfortable whenever I throw a technical solution to your computer-related problem.
Moving on, part of my philosophy of simple living is to buy a computer that can handle my business. I didn’t buy the top-of-the-line i7 ASUS computer just because I felt buying it. I didn’t buy MacBook Pro just so I can write this sentence in this blog, “I have a Mac.” I bought these laptops because I need them in my businesses.
Here are some of things I do in these laptops:
I head the online marketing of my businesses everyday.
I chat, email and Skype with my clients everyday.
I manage the websites of my private clients.
I edit pictures (business or non-business related).
I log in to social media accounts.
I run Search Engine Optimization (SEO) analysis tools (sometimes, they run 24×7).
I monitor my investments on mutual funds and in the stock market everyday.
Now, there’s more that I do but just to give you an idea on how heavy or light the job of my laptops is, those are the tasks I regularly do.
In this blog, I do not want to give you a checklist of 5 or 10 items you need to keep in mind before you buy a laptop or a desktop computer. Well, I can give you a hundred if I like to but I only have one rule of thumb when it comes to deciding whether I need this specific gadget or not.
What is it?
ANSWER: I check the hardware requirements of the software that I’m going to install and use in that laptop. I check the back part of the CD or DVD case and read the hardware requirements. If I need to download a software from the internet, I check the hardware requirements on their website.
You see, I do the exact opposite of what other freelancers do. Some people go itchy and excited in buying a laptop even before they get the chance to identify what they are going to do in that laptop.
Your laptop must be a solution to your problem (or problems) as a freelancer. But for some freelancers, buying a laptop gives birth to a new question, “Okay, I have a Mac. What do I do now?”
Buying a laptop is buying a solution for your freelancing needs.
Know where you’re going to use that computer first. Hardware specs determination comes second.
Whether you’re an app developer or a virtual assistant, you need to check the hardware requirements you need to install. Sometimes, employers proactively mention the hardware specifications of the computer or laptop that you should have before you send an application. But you should not always wait for your employer to tell you that. Don’t inconvenience your employer on something that you can do in your level.
Don’t buy a laptop because your fellow freelancer suggests you should buy a similar unit. That unit fits the job requirements of your fellow freelancer but you may have a different area of specialization.
Did you hear (read, actually) me recommending a specific unit model in this blog? I didn’t. Don’t be very gullible with the recommendations of others to buy this and that specific unit. Very seldom do I get a substantial answer to any of these questions:
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Why an i5 and not just an i3 processor?
Why an i7 and not just an i5 processor?
Why a Mac and not just a PC?
Buy a laptop because your job description calls for it.
So, have you ever bought a laptop or a desktop computer and regretted about it? Share your story to me by commenting below.
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