When I started as a Virtual Assistant and heck I can even go further back as to when I started blogging the first thing I noticed was since it was all online I had collected A LOT of electronic documents. Between ebooks, PDFs, photographs, headers, images, blog buttons, information from sponsors, documents and spreadsheets from clients, contracts, etc, etc, etc.
Soon my hard drive was getting VERY FULL. I had files EVERYWHERE! I started asking people what they do with all this stuff and they said they save everything in THE CLOUD! So what is “the cloud?” The cloud is just a web based program where you can save things.
The awesome thing about the cloud is you have several options. You can use multiple different services. And the best part is almost all of the have a free version. I have most of my stuff saved in multiple different programs so I currently don’t have to pay. The services I currently use are Dropbox, Google Drive (probably my fav because you get the most space), and ShoeBox (pictures only).
Dropbox is the first program I ever used. I started using it probably when it was very new in 2010ish. At the time I had a computer in my room and my mom had a computer in the living room I sometimes would use when I was watching TV and it was really cool to be able to save documents I was working on in dropbox and just open it on a different computer without having to save it to a flash drive.
When you read that it sounds like such a first world problem but it was seriously the coolest thing ever! And I was in the same house! Then my mom and I started saving work documents and opening them at work and that was super cool for us! Now I use it to auto sync my budget, YNAB (You Need A Budget) from my mobile device to my computer. I can also easily save my photos from my iPhone using the app to my computer.
The main cloud based program I use right now is Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). The #1 thing I like about Google Drive is it’s connected to your gmail. So if you have a gmail account you have Google Drive. They give you 15GB of storage free. Dropbox only gives you about 5ish. And if you need more than 15GB for $1.99 a month you can get 100GB. This is VERY affordable in my opinion compared to other programs. Other programs if you want extra storage it is usually $99 a year a or $9.99 a month.
The great thing about Google Drive is you can create the equivalent of a word document, spreadsheets, and powerpoints all online. You don’t even have to save it..it saves automatically. You can easily share these documents with other people so they can just view them or they can view and edit. Many of my clients will share instructions, spreadsheets of stats they want me to track, or other tasks via google drive documents with me directly and I go in and view it online. Sometimes we both need access at the same time and it’s not a big deal. I really like using google drive documents I rarely ever have to worry about losing files anymore unless I lose my internet connection and even then it’s not really an issue.
The last cloud storage I recently learned about is the ShoeBoxApp. It’s just for storing your photos and videos (although if you want videos you have to pay extra). The great thing about this one is it’s TOTALLY free for photos there is no limit on the amount of photos you have. Right now I have over 20,000 photos in it. I know this isn’t really online business related but we all take SO MANY photos it tends to clog up our hard drives so this is a good way to get them off our computers.
What other cloud storage do you use? Do you have any other tips on using the cloud? Let me know in the comments!
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