I couldn’t even dream about living abroad without the following list of (mostly free) online tools I personally use on a daily basis here in Ecuador…
1. Magic Jack App. for iPhone: I wouldn’t suggest ever living abroad without a Magic Jack, a little apparatus you plug into your computer that not only gives you a US phone number people can reach you at (VoIP) wherever in the world you are free but also allows you to call for free to any number in the US and Canada. Cost is a one-time fee just under $100 found in most electronic stores. But if you have an iPhone you can download the free MAGIC JACK app and have a US number people can reach you at that you can answer from your phone, free. You can also make calls to US numbers via the app free as well, but you need to be connected to the internet. VERY useful when staying in touch with friends and family but also in business if you plan on selling to Americans & Canadians from abroad.
2. Teamviewer: Teamviewer is a free software you can use to “screenshare” or share what you’re seeing on your computer with someone anywhere else in the world, for free. You can also take control of someones computer mouse and control their computer if they give you permission through the program or give permission for them to take control of your PC. VERY useful for online working, I used it when developing a software with a guy in India showing him detail by detail what I needed.
3. Toll free forwarding: Toll free forwarding is great for small business owners abroad who want to appear bigger than they really are by having a 1-800 number that forwards to their local number, anywhere on the globe. Very useful.
4. Webgistix: If you’ve been wondering, “jeeze, I’d love to begin exporting to the US little by little but who would receive my goods, unpack them, and reship them to my final customers?” Then Webgistix is for you because they do just that! A game-changer indeed.
5. Virtual Post Mail: As more and more people flock to greener pastures abroad several companies like this one have begun to offer this important service to anyone living abroad. They offer you a US address you can have things mailed to, they open your mail and scan it if you request it, or they can shred it if you request that too. They can also forward your mail upon request to anywhere on the globe.
6. Skype: Skype is not a new thing but is still a must for anyone living abroad. It’s a free way to not only make and receive calls, anywhere, but also it’s a great way to make free video conference calls with up to 12 team members at once. Great if you live abroad and work online with a team scattered throughout the world.
7. Pamela.biz: Pamela is a complement plug in for Skype that allows you to record calls you make or receive via Skype. Great for doing international business or simply recording something important.
8. Club Correos: I had to throw at least one tool in here that specifically helps expats IN ECUADOR. This service is run through the Ecuador post office and once you sign up you can order stuff online in the US and have it delivered to their PO Box in Miami, once there they will forward your items to you in Ecuador. Great if you don’t have a mother or relative in the States that can provide the same service. Thanks mom.
9. Vocaroo: If you’re on my newsletter I’m sure you’ve received and sent emails. But have you ever sent a voice email to someone? Yes, one where they receive an email from you, open it, then listen to your message (not read it). With vocaroo you can send free voice email messages great if you better selling verbally than via written text or also if you’d like to break up with someon from a distance but don’t know actually what to write. “Really baby, it’s not you it’s me… “ I’ve never done this I swear.
10. Faxzero: I know fax is a thing of the past but every once in a while you will have to send a fax maybe when applying for something or to an old timer who doesn’t use email yet, faxzero.com lets you send the fax for free online to US and Canada numbers. For sending fax to the rest of the world I use sendfreefax.net.
11. Dreaminder: Dreamminder is great to send yourself or anyone else an email at some point in the future. In other words, you can schedule an email. Great for reminders but also business tasks.
12. Gmail canned responses: I love this one! Canned responses for gmail is a new feature you have to activate in the LABS section of your email, but once activated you can set fixed responses you can click on and they automatically appear in your email, you can then modify the message as you need and send, no copy and paste necessary, plus you have the saved standard meesages available to you from any PC anywhere if in a jam. Huge time-saver, I use it in all my businesses!
13. Boomerang for gmail: This little complement plug in for Gmail is great for doing the task I enjoy least in business… bill collection. That’s right, when my Italian-American forefathers might grab a baseball bat to collect an outstanding debt, I use Boomerang with Gmail, a simple app that lets you send a recurring email, once every day to a certain recipient until you decide to cancel it (once they’ve paid). Its also great for cyber-stocking that special someone.
14. Drop box: Yes, I have actually spilled a wine glass clear across the keyboard of my lap top. My lap top survived but if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have cried for the machine, but for the info I would have lost. Now, with a free service like DropBox you can automatically back up important files you’d like to back up securely online. That way you have access to them from anywhere and can download them in the case of a PC crash. Useful if traveling a lot and living abroad.
15. Wetransfer: Sometimes when living and working abroad you will need to send a file that is TOO BIG to attach normally to an email. In those cases, I use WeTransfer, the free service works great for file transfers. Important when working online or from abroad.
Breaking the language barrier-
16. Google translator: Still the most accurate tool online to quickly translate sentences or paragraphs of text from one of dozens of different languages.
17. http://www.verbix.com/languages: Anyone who has studying languages knows the backbone to any language is VERBS. This handy tool online will give you the full verb conjugations of any verb in several dozen different languages.
18. Forvo: Is a great online dictionary of PRONOUNCED WORDS. Just search the word and listen to the pronunciation. Very handy.
19. Wordreference.com: When the word is so technical that Google Translator fails you, I use WordReference, similar to one of those fat Webster dictionaries but available for free online, works with English to French and Spanish.
20. livemocha.com: A great, free program for studying languages online and having pen pals in forwign countries that help you along the way.
21. Google Chrome: The official free internet browser of Google that allows you to automatically translate entire websites in foreign languages to the language of your choice. You may have to activate this feature in the settings.
22. Google alerts: Are you a news junky? Or just want to stay informed on a specific topic while abroad? Then sign up for a free Google alert. Every time your topic of interest is mentioned somewhere online Google will email you the exact link so you can check it out. For instance, a lot of people use it to monitor the rep of their business name.
23. timeanddate.com/worldclock: When living abroad it’s great to know the time of another point in the world almost instantly, great tool. Specifically good for when you’d like to watch sporting events in your home country and need to know when you need to tune in.
24. XE.com: Great free online tool updated every few minutes that allows you to convert any currency to any other instantly. Important when living or doing business abroad.
25. USTVNOW / FirstRowSports.eu: First Row Sports is a free service that streams live sporting events from around the world, don’t miss your favorite sporting events just cause you live in a country that lives and dies the mindless sport of soccer. USTVNOW is great for watching live American TV shows online.
Can you tell I’ve lived abroad a while now?
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