I use empire in the loosest possible way. Compared to what was the British Empire the PersonalOpz empire might be the size of a bar stool. And an uncomfortable one at that. That shall change. By the end of the year it might be booth worthy!
Anyway, these are the tools I use on a daily basis. I’m always looking to save time and improve my workflow so don’t hesitate to send any suggestions my way. You can reach me at will at this domain.
I of course have to mention my own product first! With no employees I don’t use most of the features myself but I do use the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable modules. I utilize the email summary so waiting in my inbox every morning is a summary of what is owed and what I owe and the dates it needs to be paid by.
I love Asana. It is finally what enabled me to get to inbox zero. Any email requiring action, that I can’t get to that day, gets forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org where it automatically gets added to my task list.
I also create projects with step by step tasks for all of my processes. They are easy to duplicate and they make sure that nothing is missed.
While I primarily use Asana for tasks, I primarily use Trello for projects. Every project gets a new board. I usually add an “Ideas” column in addition to the default “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done”. The cards in the Ideas column get researched before getting moved into the To Do column.
It has been two years since I first signed up for Evernote. I’m still learning how to use it best with my workflow. As it is now I use it to save articles for reference, articles to read later, and for notes. I scan in physical notes every once in a while and take photos of recipes I want to try from magazine. There is a lot in there about places I want to travel to.
Amazon Web Services (EC2, S3, and SES):
EC2 is what I currently use for my production servers. I like the simplicity of provisioning servers as well as how well all of AWS works together. It is what I know. Unfortunately from a cost/performance standpoint the servers are a bit underpowered so I might explore alternatives in the future.
I use S3 for file storage for my web apps as well as for backup for all of my servers. Every day locally stored files are synced as well as dumps of all of my databases.
SES is the Amazon service for sending email so I have to use that for any emails that my webapps send.
There is a reason while Digital Ocean is the fastest growing cloud host in the world. They are a pleasure to use. It is incredibly quick and easy to launch a server not to mention being very cost effective for a young business. Their guides are also very helpful.
Right now I mostly use Digital Ocean for personal and test servers (I do have one production server there) but I’m likely going to expand my use over this year.
If something doesn’t go on my calendar then I don’t attend. Every appointment, call, and webinar goes on there. Also, every birthday goes in there and every birthday boy or girl gets a personal email every year.
Up until early last year I hadn’t ever collaborated with anybody for programming. When I started I made an attempt to set up my own git repository. Then I realized that I had already wasted $7 worth of my time. I promptly signed up. Even though I’m not currently collaborating with anybody I still love using it.
I install VirtualBox on every system I use and setup Linux (I use both Ubuntu Server and CentOs). I then share my code folder from my host so that I can test code in real time in an environment that is identical to my production servers.
I used Eclipse for years on Linux (mostly) and Windows (a little). It has always done the job but the performance finally got to me after moving to a Mac desktop. I’m not great with Vim so I tried Sublime Text and it is a pleasure to use. There are a few features I miss in Eclipse but I probably just need to search the Sublime Text plugins a bit more to find what I need.
A few years ago I wouldn’t use Google Apps. I spent my days in Excel and Google Sheets fell short. However it now is good enough for most of my uses with the added benefit of being accessible from any computer, tablet, or phone. I also use Google Docs to write all of my blog posts. I recommend turning off smart quotes (Tools/Preferences/User Smart Quotes) so that it is easier to copy/paste into other editors.
I’m still a analytics amateur but I’m using it on every site as well as on my LeanPub pages.
I originally struggled formatting my first ebook in Word. I then stumbled upon an article that recommended using LeanPub. Once you create a new book you can choose various options as to the size, style, fonts, etc. to use. You write in Markdown in text files that you share with LeanPub via Dropbox or use a browser based editor on their website.
Kindle App on Android:
I’ve been using the Kindle App since my Kindle took an ill-fated dive from the second floor of my house. It isn’t quite as nice as reading on the Kindle but it does the job. Need to get myself another Kindle…
I keep my code in my Dropbox folder so that I’m ready to program no matter what system I’m on. It also is a cheap version control system (thought Github is far superior in that regard). I also sync photos from my phone and have a “to read” folder of PDFs.
Box had a special where they gave away 40 free gigs of storage space. The one caveat on their free plans is that no files over 250 megabytes will sync. I save many of my personal and business files in my Box folders.
Stripe is the service I use to process credit card payments. It was simple to implement (the two hiccups I did have were quickly handled in their online chat) and since them I haven’t had to think about it. Where there is a bit of extra work is if you want to send your customers an invoice you need to handle it on your side through webhooks.
I’m still new to the mailing list game. Mailchimp is very simple to use and gets the job done. There are a couple of features with the custom fields that I think could be improved but I’m sure there are reasons why they’re not. Free to start with so you really can’t go wrong.