Making dough on the go can be a good way...

Making dough on the go can be a good way to do business as long as the mobile office is managed efficiently, experts say Credit: iStock

In the digital era, the workplace has no boundaries.

In fact, for many entrepreneurs working outside of the office has become the new norm.

While being mobile offers a certain sense of freedom and flexibility, it does require a certain amount of discipline and planning if you're going to truly master the mobile lifestyle, say experts.

"You can't just jump into it," explains Phil Montero, founder of TheAnywhereOffice.com, a resource for virtual and mobile entrepreneurs. "Like anything else, failing to plan is planning to fail."

In order to succeed, you need to be prepared. Here's how:

1. Assess your mobile strategy: It's not one-size-fits-all when you're operating in a mobile work environment, says Montero. "You could be a mobile worker with a pen, a pad and a folder full of documents," he notes.

Assess your own workstyle and evaluate what tools and or services you may need to operate effectively (ie. laptop, smartphone, etc.), he says. As part of that assessment, conduct a work-flow audit to see how your work falls in terms of information (what type of information you need and how you'll access it); communication (how do you communicate with peers/clients); and collaboration (are you collaborating with others in real time/project basis, etc.).

2. Back up data: If you're going the high-tech route, remember to stay on top of backing up your data even on the road, says Montero, who uses CrashPlan (crashplan.com) as his online backup solution. Other services include Mozy (mozy.com) and Carbonite (carbonite.com), he notes.

3. Update systems and software: Also make sure your operating system and software reflect the most recent updates and security patches on laptops, etc., says Alyssa Gregory, founder of SmallBusinessBonfire.com, who also is a consultant on how to work remotely.

You don't want to be doing this when you're mobile because it could be a major time killer, says Gregory of Stewartsville, N.J., who offers more tips at www.sitepoint.com/creating-an-efficient-mobile-office.(Click here to find it.)

This also goes for key contacts, says Rich Kruse, a Garden City business consultant who has his contacts backed up on his laptop and BlackBerry. "I have almost 13,000 contacts in my Outlook on my laptop," says Kruse, president of ExecuLeaders.

4. Have online capability: If you need to get online, don't just rely on free Wi-Fi, which can be unreliable, Gregory notes. Consider a high-speed mobile access card or MiFi wireless router and always "make sure you use a firewall and data encryption however you connect," she notes.

5. Get organized: Just like your home office, your mobile office needs to be organized to enhance productivity, says Alice Price, president of Organize Long Island, a West Islip-based professional organizer and coach.

"You have to have a place for everything and everything in its place," she notes, adding there are tools to help you keep your car tidy including front-seat organizers and seat-back organizers. She also carries a multi-pocketed canvas garden bag on her jobs to help keep all her items readily available such as index cards, clipboard, etc.

6. Purge: Don't let your car become a personal trash can, she adds. It's your main mode of transportation and needs to be cleaned out daily. "Don't let garbage build up," says Price.

7. Equip your car: There are some basic tools every car should have, says Kruse, such as a GPS system and hands-free Bluetooth headset or system.

8. Find meeting spots: If you don't have dedicated office space, there are ample places to meet (ie., Starbucks, Panera, etc.), Kruse says. Kruse has an office, but has found these spots convenient when meeting clients on the road. "I have 129 offices from West 57th Street in Manhattan to Montauk Point," quips Kruse. "There's a Starbuck's or Panera somewhere."