Given my relatively new focus on helping solopreneurs (and the fact that the “Work from Home” guide is starting to feel a little stale), I’ve decided to change things up in 2023 and make this a Solopreneur’s gift guide.
I’ve also dediced that, while this more visual guide is available, if you want more insightful context, you can find the full article version of the guide over on Medium.
A Good Web Cam
I picked up the Elgato Facecam recently and love it. Great picture and lots of settings to make yourself look perfect.
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, the Logitech C920 falls perfectly between price and quality.
If you want to go for an upgrade, or your giftee is a streamer who needs that 4K quality, the Elgato Facecam Pro will get the job done!
For a CRAZY good setup, check out this Live Stream kit.
One surefire way to make yourself look better on camera is having good lighting. Your camera doesn’t have to work as hard to capture you, and you won’t look like you’re recording in a cave!
There are lots of lighting setups – here are some of my favorites:
Working by yourself can be tough?—?especially if there are a lot of distractions. But with the right tools, you can better stay on task (or at least easily pick up where you left off)!
Notebooks and analog tools are super personal, but here’s what I like:
Sidekick Notebook: Premium feel, great paper that works with fountain pens, and it lays flat.
Sidekick Notepad: I LOVE this thing. It sits right under my keyboard, and it’s great for taking notes and listing tasks. At the end of the day, I transfer everything to Notion.
If you’re interested in pens, check out my Pen guide.
For digital communication, there are a lot of apps that I love. Here are a few!
- Todoist for task management
- MindNode for mind mapping
- Bear and Notion for note taking
- Ulysses for writing
You could grab an App Store Gift Card so that your giftee could grab some of these
Setapp is also a great subscription service that gives you access to tons of Mac and iOS apps!
Analog To Do System from Ugmonk
I’m an analog guy through and through, despite my penchant for technology. There’s just nothing like writing out a to do list and then checking items off.
The Analog system from Ugmonk captures this perfectly. Beautiful card holder, cards for Today, Next (which I use for monthly planning), and Someday (which I use for Quarterly planning), and easy storage. I feel like it was made for me.
They flash freeze already brewed coffee into pods and then send them to you. Prefer for hot or iced coffee and super easy to make AND travel with.
And it’s darn good.
Other Great Beans
Everyone has their own way of making coffee.But I got a Nespresso last year and it won’t let you down.
If you’re buying beans you should also have a good coffee grinder. You can’t go wrong with this one: OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
If you’re new to working from you, you probably haven’t invested in some important home office gear. The kitchen table or couch was OK for a temporary setup, but longer term, you need a more ergonomic solution. Here are some items that will absolutely make a difference in your posture. Your body will thank you!
Desk Chair! A good desk chair is important for someone who works from home. Steelcase, while expensive, make the best.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, the HON Chairs are popular.
Roller Blade Wheels for Office Chairs: OK here me out on this one. I didn’t think of it until I saw it on Twitter, but these wheels make the chair sturdier and easier to roll on carpets. I’m a HUGE fan of them.
Standing Desk. Sitting all day isn’t good for you (or your loved one). There are lots of sit/stand desks out there. I recommend Jarvis by Fully. It’s what I have and I love it.
I also have an E7 by FlexiSpot, and it’s fantastic.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, they also have a converter that sits on top of the desk.
At Home Tech
Having the right tech can make a world of difference. Here’s a bunch of recommendations that help me work, even with kids at home.
Backups and Storage
External Hard Drive:Everything we do is computer-based nowadays, so a solid external drive is necessary. I’ve used the Western Digital My Book for as long as I could remember. If you need more space, the 12 TB model should do the trick.
Cloud / Off-Site Backups: Another important aspect of working online is having solid off-site backups – especially if you work from home. There’s only one service I recommend for this, and it’s Backblaze.
Network Area Storage
I’ve been considering this for my home office: the Synology 2 Bay Storage NAS. Working across multiple devices and platforms, it would be nice to have a central, network connected drive for me to access. If you work from home, this can be especially nice.
Just a heads up that this the bay only – so you’ll have to get some hard drives too. For the total cost, I know some folks who’ve also on the route of a Mac Mini as their home server. But with the new price hike/refresh, I’m still going with this.
Portable Hard Drive: With “the cloud” there’s less of a need for portable storage, but I still like to have some on me. Here’s a few good suggestions:
My favorite noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones are the AirPods Max. They are pricy but work better than any other headphones I’ve used (with my all Apple setup).
The Bose QuietComfort 45 Noise Cancelling headphones are fantastic. Whether you work from home, an office, or a coworking space, these will help you focus. And they’re great while traveling.
If you’re looking for good, sub-$200 headphones, I recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-M50s. They are lightweight, block out most noise, and sound incredible. They are also one of the few sets of headphones I can wear for a long period of time without getting a headache.
Other Helpful Tech
Things to keep your portable devices charged and docked are perfect desk decorations, so here are some fantastically helpful pieces of gear.
There’s not really a solid category for this, but I LOVE my iPad Mini. If you’re looking for a bigger gift for someone spending time at home. I can’t recommend this enough.
Make Home More Relaxing
Working from home means finding creative ways to relax and make it more comfortable. Here are a few ideas.
Good Clothes. Working from home means being comfortable. Sweats and t-shirts are great, but it’s also good to have some nice clothes for when you need to go out. Here’s a bit of both.
Nice Shirts: UNTUCKit. I have recently started to upgrade my wardrobe and UNTUCKit has been at the heart of it. Their shirts are perfect for me, and look great!
Unmentionables: Mack Weldon. Seriously. Their boxer briefs, undershirts, and everything else they make are incredible. I’m a huge fan. For Women (since Mack Weldon currently only makes men’s clothes), I’d recommend meUndies.
Hello Fresh: A meal box subscription is the perfect way of saying, “You don’t have to Doordash everything.” There are lots of meal boxes out there, but I’ve heard the best things about Hello Fresh. These are especially good for households of 1 or 2.
Choice of travel bag is also super personal, obviously, but there are a few I love.
I’m a big fan of WaterField Designs and their incredible bags. I picked up the Mezzo backpack last year but it looks like that’s sadly no longer for sale. They have several comparable ones though!
I just picked up this Sling bag from Nomatic, another company that makes great bags!
If you like messenger bags, you can’t go wrong with Timbuk2.
Get Out of the House!
Working from home means finding your own recreation. Here are some ideas to pass the time when your remote worker needs to get the juices flowing or just relax a bit. Coworking Space Membership.