Insights
7 min read

11 Digital Nomad Tools And Apps You Need To Run A Remote Business

By Ziwei Chen

Partner Marketing Manager, Relay

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that remote work ✈️🌎 is not only possible but here to stay. In fact, 65% of workers said they want to remain full-time remote workers even after the pandemic. 

Now, this trend doesn’t just apply to individual employees. More and more small businesses are shifting to remote work and moving abroad as new opportunities arise. This is primarily thanks to the numerous apps, tools and services built to help small businesses, location-independent freelancers, and digital nomads efficiently run their businesses remotely. 👩🏻‍💻 

Relay provides one of those solutions — business banking. 🏦 But there’s more that remote business owners need to have in their toolkits. If you’re a digital nomad or small business owner, here are 11 must-have digital nomad tools that will help you with your remote job. 

IN THIS ARTICLE
  1. Business banking

  2. Accounting software

  3. Legal

  4. Business formation

  5. Google workspace

  6. Project and productivity management tools

  7. Slack

  8. Zoom

  9. Human resources

  10. Health insurance

  11. VPN

  12. Nomad Gate 

Business Banking Platform 🏦

When managing a remote business, the first thing that comes to mind is how you organize and manage your money. It’s hard enough managing your money in one country, but when you have money moving from different countries and in different currencies, it can get really complicated fast. 

As a remote business owner, you need a business bank that allows you to bank from anywhere in the world. That’s where Relay comes in — we’re an online business banking and money management platform that serves foreign owners, remote small businesses and any U.S. registered business. 

With regular brick-and-mortar banking, you need to physically visit a branch to open a new card or unlock an account. That’s difficult to do when you’re halfway across the world. 

Read more on how banking with Relay helps Salma’s remote clients avoid month-long delays. 🤯

With Relay, you can bank securely online from our mobile app or desktop dashboard, anytime and anywhere. Relay offers up to 20 free business checking accounts with no minimum balances, monthly fees or overdraft fees. With our multiple accounts, businesses can easily manage expenses, issue up to 50 business debit cards to employees, and set unique spending limits on each card. Plus, with Relay, you can easily send and receive money through ACH transfers, checks or domestic and international wires. 

If you run your business in USD but ever need to send money in a different currency, with Relay you actually know what it's going to cost and what your recipient will get. Our currency conversion feature applies a competitive exchange rate fee — as little as 1% — directly in your banking dashboard when you send an international wire. With many of the other banks, you don't actually know what you'll pay, and often the recipient gets a lower amount.

Best of all, Relay is available for US corporations, LLCs, solopreneurs, and freelancers across the globe (as long as you’re registered as a US entity). And if you business needs to send money frequently, Relay Pro offers accounts payable, faster ACH and free wire payments. 

Accounting Software 📚

On that note, the next thing you must consider using is accounting software such as Xero or QuickBooks Online. They will free up a lot of your time by automating tasks for you, which is essential for any small remote business that doesn't have a full accounting team on hand. 

Cloud accounting offers a way to keep your sensitive data protected. These tools come with a built-in dashboard where you can visualize, analyze, and gain insights from your accounting data to ensure that your business is on track with profit and expenses, ultimately helping you make better spending choices.

Pair it with an online business bank like Relay to get deeper insights into your cash flow and ease your accounting workflow. Even better, Relay directly with QuickBooks Online and Xero for simple, speedy and meticulous bookkeeping. 

Remote Founder 101: How to Navigate Finances

Relay and Bench have partnered to help remote entrepreneurs navigate the financial complexities of running a business outside of the U.S.

Save Your Spot

Not every small business can afford to keep a lawyer on retainer — the fees would simply be astronomical. But every business owner should have access to legal expertise when they need it. That’s where online legal services come in. 

When you’re working remotely, you don’t want to be paying exuberant legal fees, but rather, you need the flexibility of online counsel should you need expertise on business law, employment law or tax law. 

If your business needs to file for a trademark or copyright, companies like LegalZoom can provide consultation for an affordable cost. 

Business Formation 🌱

The first step to starting any business is incorporation. Whether you’re starting a brand new business or you want to take your side-hustle to the next level by forming a LLC or partnership, online incorporation services can help you do that. 

The typical incorporation process can be a hassle: you have to fill out legal documents, complicated tax forms, and go back and forth with your lawyer. It’s not ideal when you’re in different countries and time zones.  

With an online formation service, the process is much more streamlined. You’ll need to provide basic information like your business name, business owners, and business structure and answer a few supplementary questions. But everything else will be handled by the company. Some business incorporation services will even help you create a business bank account as part of the process.  

Google Workspace 📄

Not only is it the most widely used search engine in the world, but Google also has a suite of business tools and apps to help “teams of all sizes connect, create, and collaborate”. 

From communication tools like Gmail and Hangouts to creation tools like Google Drive, Google Documents and Google Spreadsheets, Google Workspace has all the apps and services you’ll need to help manage your remote team.

If you’re just getting started, there are a ton of templates available to help you build your workflow. Plus, Google Documents and Sheets will automatically save and backup the latest copy of your work should you lose internet access. There’s also offline-mode for in case you’re ever off-the-grid or lose internet connection temporarily. 

Project Management and Productivity Tools 🎧

If you’re looking for additional project management and productivity tools to complement your existing tech stack, then consider apps like Asana and Evernote.

Asana is a project management and time management platform built to help teams organize, collaborate and manage complex work seamlessly. You can build project boards, create automations and track team workloads all in one dashboard. 

If you’re more of a list person, then Evernote is the best tool to build and manage your to-do list. Using the app, you can easily scan all of your documents to go paperless or clip notes from the web as you conduct research. 

Slack 💬

Once you’re organized and set up on a project management tool, you’ll need to figure out how to stay in touch with your team. Yes, email is an option. But nowadays, most companies use remote team communications tools like Slack. Not only is typing in a chat faster, but it’s also more secure than email. 

When you have team members in different time zones, Slack helps to streamline communications through its easy-to-use mobile app. You can send files securely, and huddle with team members for a quick sync. 

Zoom 📹

If you prefer to be on screen, then a video conferencing platform like Zoom is another amazing communication tool.  

Zoom is a video conferencing platform that helps you stay connected with your team, wherever they may be. Whether you’re a solopreneur, a startup or an enterprise business, Zoom is the virtual meeting place where teams can connect, brainstorm and collaborate. 

Primary Health Insurance 🏥

If you are going to be employing a global workforce, with employees spread out across different countries, their access to proper (and equal) healthcare is something you should bare in mind.

A great way to be sure that your employees have fair access to treatment no matter where they are is a decent primary health insurance plan with global coverage. 

Note that such plans differ from traditional travel insurance, which usually only gives access to emergency healthcare while away for a certain time period (commonly up to 90 days). For regular checkups and any other healthcare that isn't emergency, it is generally assumed that you will return to your home country for treatment.

With a primary health insurance plan, your employees can get access to both inpatient and outpatient care, prescriptions, specialized treatments, vaccinations, and sometimes even dental, vision, and maternity care, no matter where they are in the world. 

The best part is that many companies offer affordable plans for remote companies, with pricing as low as $80 per month per employee. But, of course, the pricing can still vary a lot depending on where the employee is (for example, US treatment typically comes at a premium) and the scope of the service. 

Human Resources (HR) 🤓

Compliantly hiring employees and contractors from all over the world is easier said than done. Usually, you need to have some kind of physical presence in the country, know what you need to do to meet local requirements regarding taxes and benefits, and be able to keep on top of ever-changing regulations. 

However, some HR services (such as Remote.com and others) will hire on your behalf using their local entities, so you can hire just as if your business were physically present in the country.

This way, you can hire contractors and employees in many different countries without running the risk of neglecting any local regulations. You can also localize your benefits to ensure your employees get what they need, no matter where they are. Not to mention, these services automate the international payroll process so that they will pay your employees in the local currency with any tax obligations covered. 

VPN 🌐

Finally, a high-quality VPN subscription is recommended for your team. Naturally, there are many personal reasons why you may consider a VPN, but they are not just used for watching your favorite tv shows while you are abroad. Rather, they ensure your team is better protected against data breaches. You can find many VPNs that offer a business plan so that all your employees can gain access to a private network. 

A VPN is something to consider as essential if your remote team, as your sensitive information is a lot more vulnerable when your employees are working from a public wifi connection such as in a hotel room, cafe, coffee shop or coworking space. Compare that to a secure privately encrypted wifi connection, like you would find in a centralized company office. 

A good-quality VPN will encrypt your internet connection, making it difficult for your internet provider to sell your data to third parties, and make you less susceptible to hacks. 

Nomad Gate ✈️: Your guide to a digital nomad lifestyle

Nomad Gate has been providing a platform and community for remote workers, digital nomads, location-independents, and other citizens of the world for more than seven years. 

Their mission is to help people live a more remote-friendly lifestyle by providing detailed articles and discussions about international banking, taxes, personal finance, and other necessities for digital nomads. 

They also provide useful info, guides, and discussions related to investment migration programs, such as the Golden Visa in Portugal and other attractive visa programs. 

Your Guide to a Location-Independent Life

Nomad Gate is a community of 15,772 digital nomads, remote workers, expats and world citizens.

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