Online business equipmentWhat Equipment Do I Need To Start An Online Business?


Well, this is an easy one! In this post I will only deal with the hardware; in subsequent articles I will discuss software, services, personal skill-sets and so on.





You will need a PC with a modicum of performance, though there is no need for cutting-edge stuff if you are just starting up. Unfortunately that old ‘AT’ or ‘386’ is not going to cut it, but my 4-year old Toshiba Satellite Pro (which is, judging by its vintage, a collector’s item) is still chugging along.

If you have a Windows machine, Windows XP with Service Pack 3 is still fine. Yes, Vista was a disaster and Windows 7 will slowly take over, but as an active consulting engineer I can vouch for the fact that at this point in time (February 2012), XP SP3 is still the most widely used Operating System in Industry.


How much memory to you need? Well, it depends on what you will be doing. My old laptop came with 500 Megabytes of RAM and that was fine until I started making videos with Pinnacle, at which point I had to install another 1 Gigabyte. With hindsight, I should have gone further. With RAM, more is always better. Remember; what Intel giveth you, Microsoft taketh away. But for spreadsheets, word processing etc, 500 Megs is fine.


Don’t think that I am in love with ‘PCs’. I will be looking seriously at a MAC for my next machine. However, the point I wanted to get across is that any ‘reasonable’ machine is fine for a beginner.


If you are starting off with one machine only, go for a laptop. That allows you to take it with on your travels, and do some work while sipping a latte at Starbucks. Or a marina in the Med. Get the idea?


At some point (once your cash flow warrants it) you can buy a second machine to run in the background 24/7 and do things such as posting articles to article directories.


Do not worry about space on your hard drive. I just buy these little USB hard drives when they are on ‘special’. It solves my backup problem as well…I use them in pairs, and regularly copy one onto the other for backup purposes.




Regardless of whether you are on the road or at home, you will need a headset so you can Skype.  Unless you want everyone in the vicinity to hear what the person on the other side says. I use a cheap Logitech headset (not USB) because IMHO the sound is better. Do ‘test drive’ a few if you are also going to use it for movies and music, since the sound quality differs a bit. There are also small dedicated VoIP headsets for use with Skype…they attach to one ear only. Their fidelity is atrocious but you are only using them for voice, and they cost next to nothing.




Look, this is totally optional and a standard mouse is fine (unless you like fiddling around with your built-in touch pad). However, if you are going to mark up text or write on slides, then a Bamboo pad or something similar is a good idea.




Modern laptops have webcams build-in. Mine does not, so I bought a cheap Logitech webcam. No, I don’t have shares in Logitech, you just tend to find them everywhere.


At some point you are going to shoot a video.  Please heed my advice, based on lots of research and personal experience. If you have money for a ‘proper’ video camera, buy a fairly good ‘high-end’ one with HD (1080p24, and a microphone jack for an external microphone. Trust me on this one. Do NOT buy one with a built-in microphone only if you want to create professional-sounding videos.


If your budget is a problem, there are lots of cheapies on the market, from about $100 to $250. The trailblazer in this area was the ‘Flip’ (I use one), but it is being phased out by Cisco. Here are some alternatives, as per PC Magazine (I’d go for HD):


  • Sony Bloggie Touch
  • Kodak Playsport Zx5
  • Zoom  Q3 HD Handy Video
  • Canon Powershot Elph 300
  • Kodak Easyshare M580
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX-5V
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • Apple iPod Touch
  • Motorola Atrix 4G
  • Nokia N8


Happy bargain-hunting!




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  1. Keeping Focus In Your Online Business

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