For someone whose bread and butter relies on one machine, choosing the right computer for your online work shouldn't be left to the sales guy to decide. You need to know what specification suits your freelance work.

While this may be a daunting task for someone who's just starting out with freelancing or not really into computers, there are a couple of things that you can consider on how to choose the right computer for freelance work. It will save you time and more importantly, you can make a better choice in purchasing your computer without wasting your money.

Remember the purpose

The best way to determine your computer configuration is to be able to identify the line of work you perform or plan to engage in. For someone who's doing data entry and VA jobs, do you really need a Mac? Well, that's probably an overkill. But if there's one thing I could recommend, take it from me, you can't go wrong if you invest in dual monitors.

There's been studies that the use of dual monitors has increased productivity to about 40% and I can attest to that as I've been loving the dual monitor setup (and have no plan on going back to single monitor) when I'm at home.

To give you an idea of what I'm using, here's the full specs and accessories on my main desktop.

  • Specs: 2 Samsung 21′ LED monitors
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4670 CPU @3.4GHz
  • Storage: 1TB HDD and 1TB external drive
  • RAM: 16GB
  • UPS: APC
  • Video Card: Palit Daytona
  • Motherboard: I use Asus
  • Webcam: Logitech's HD Webcam C525
  • Headset: Audio Technica ATH XS5
  • Microphone: ATR2100
  • Keyboard & Mouse: Logitech's Unifying Receiver for Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
  • Wifi: I have both on board wifi and USB dongle
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro

So with that information listed above, here's the kind of work I'm using it for:

  1. Data Entry
  2. Video editing using Camtasia Studio and Adobe Premiere Pro
  3. Audio Editing using Adobe Audition CC 2014
  4. Transcription using Express Scribe and Infinity Foot Pedal

If you don't know or not very familiar on how to access this information, all you need to do is (aside from checking your purchase receipt 🙂 On your computer you can go to:

For Windows 8 users:

Click on Start –> PC Settings –> PC & Devices –> PC Info or you can also follow this:

Open Windows Explorer –> This PC –> System Properties

Working on PC environment can be very versatile and cost effective. I also love the flexibility of being able to upgrade and have more options in terms of component prices, so if you're cash conscious and just want to get started, investing in a PC is a good option.

On the other hand, if you have plenty of cash to splurge and invest in a computer, a Mac is definitely something you can't go wrong with either.  Just remember, it's not the brand that will make your freelance work successful, but if you invest in the right equipment, you'll have less issues to think and you can focus on what really matters, that is, taking care of your client's projects.

Laptop vs Desktop

Once you have decided on the specs of your computer the next thing you'll need to decide is whether to get a laptop or a desktop computer. If you travel a lot and would like to be a digital nomad, working in cafe's and airport lounges or hotel rooms, definitely your best option is to get a laptop. You wouldn't want to bring your desktop with you while travelling or you'll get some eyeballs staring at you with raised eyebrows.

Here are some other benefits to choosing laptops over desktops:

  1. Portable – great for travelers and digital nomads
  2. Lightweight – with the latest laptop models, you can get laptops that are lightweight and not bulky
  3. A good option if you get a lot of power interruptions in your area
  4. Takes minimal space

That's all from me on this topic. I hope this will help you make a better decision when making a choice on what computer to purchase for your freelance work. Questions and tips are welcome in the comments.