Office 365 for freelancers
Thread poster: Epameinondas Soufleros

Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 08:12
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
Jun 10, 2015

I have considered buying an Office 365 subscription on several occasions, but I am not sure it would be of any benefit. The problem is that I can't find any plan that is tailored to people working alone. The plan that comes closest to what I want is Business Premium. But even this one is for businesses with 1-25 employees. But freelancers don't have any employees. Therefore, we don't need SharePoint Team Sites (or SharePoint at all), we don't need the Lync instant messenger, etc.

Going for one of the "Home" plans is not an option, because their license does not permit using them for profit (and no, I don't want to break the law, even if no one will ever know).

What are your opinions? Have you used one of the Office 365 plans? Are there any benefits of SharePoint and other collaboration features for freelancers? Am I missing something?


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 08:12
Member
English to Hebrew
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Office 365 Business Jun 10, 2015

You need the plan called Office 365 Business. It offers roughly the same features as the Home plan: You get the core Office Desktop Suite that you can install on up to 5 devices using a single license, and some OneDrive storage space, but without any of the "business-class" features like email, calendar, conferencing, intranet, etc. It even costs roughly the same as the Home Plan.

[Edited at 2015-06-10 11:28 GMT]


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Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 08:12
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not good enough Jun 10, 2015

I'm afraid this is not good enough. It doesn't include Exchange Online or any email solution at all. A reliable email service is absolutely necessary. That's why I've been using Exchange Online a few years now.

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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 08:12
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
If you want exchange you should pay for it Jun 10, 2015

So, if you need an Exchange server you do need a "business-class" solution, and should be prepared to pay for it.

I'm not sure why a single person (or even a small team) must use an Exchange server, but even if you do you might get a more cost-effective solution (mainly because you can install the Office Desktop programs on more than one device, which the "business-class" plans don't allow) by buying the Office 365 Business Plan and a hosted Exchange Server service from somewhere else (like Rackspace or whatever).


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Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 08:12
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exchange is not about collaboration Jun 10, 2015

I need Exchange because it is secure, reliable, and works perfectly with Outlook on my desktop PC and on my Windows Phone (it supports all those different types of flag, color categories etc.). Plus, it allows me to use it with my domain name.

As you can see, these are not benefits for companies only, but for people working alone, as well.


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 08:12
Member
English to Hebrew
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Exchange is classified as a business service Jun 10, 2015

True. But while anyone can benefit from using Exchange, it is designed for the corporate world and bundled accordingly.
The issue with Outlook not supporting flags and categories over IMAP (even when the IMAP server supports those functions) is because Outlook is also developed for the corporate world. It is actually silly because under the hood Exchange is just a proprietary package that bundles IMAP, SMTP, and a handful of other common protocols (with some tweaks and adjustments). But I digress.

If you need Exchange, I still think that you are likely to get better value by buying the Office 365 Business Plan and the hosted Exchange service separately (if only for the flexibility you get in using Office on multiple devices) - even if you buy them both from MS in the form of separate Office 365 and Exchange Online plans.
Otherwise you would have to pay for of the more expensive business plans that include Exchange, or opt for using another reliable email service that is not based on an Exchange server.

I don't see any other solution here.


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Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 08:12
Member (2008)
English to Greek
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A business is not a company Jun 10, 2015

A company is a business, but a business is not always a company.

That's what I'm saying: that Microsoft has yet to provide an Office 365 plan for businesses with no employees.

And Exchange has nothing to do with IMAP. The default protocol it uses is called MAPI.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
French to English
Office 365 personnel Jun 10, 2015

I use use this version which ives Word, Excel, (OneNote, which I never use), PPT and Outlook. I have a Windows phone too. This is aboslutely fine for me. If you need Exchange, then I think there is no way round going for something which is more expensive and necessarily including other elements which you don't actually need. Sad, but in any package, there are often things we lack and things we need. It's a shame we can't buy item by item, at an affordable rate!

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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:12
Finnish to French
Google Apps? Jun 10, 2015

Epameinondas Soufleros wrote:
It doesn't include Exchange Online or any email solution at all. A reliable email service is absolutely necessary.

How about Google Apps (which includes Gmail for e-mail)? Would that work for you, or has it got to be from Microsoft?


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Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 08:12
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
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Anything but Google Jun 10, 2015

I would not like to use anything from Google. I have even stopped using Google Search and I have deleted my Google account.

A few years back I was using Hotmail with Custom Domains (if I recall the name correctly), for free, and it was fine for my purposes. But they no longer offer this service.

[Edited at 2015-06-10 16:57 GMT]


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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:12
Finnish to French
Fair enough Jun 10, 2015

OK, I won't try to convince someone clearly prejudiced against Google how great Google Apps is. All I can say it works for me (since 2010) and has met your requirement for reliability.

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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:12
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Fastmail? Jun 10, 2015

Epameinondas Soufleros wrote:
I would not like to use anything from Google. I have even stopped using Google Search and I have deleted my Google account.

I too have moved away from gmail as I don't like Google reading my mail over my shoulder. I use Fastmail from any browser - fast, full-featured and private. It can handle my domain without any problems and I managed to transfer all my gmail messages without problems. Costs $40 a year, if I remember correctly. Well worth a look. It's been going for well over a decade, so it's stable and well supported. You can have a month's trial for free.

Incidentally prior to Fastmail I had used Outlook religiously for 15 years. I still have Outlook but I use it only to open past emails every now and again (I use dtSearch to index them) and I am enjoying not being reliant on desktop mail. I never thought I would say that until two months ago.

Dan


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Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 08:12
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm looking for a complete office suite Jun 10, 2015

Thanks for suggesting Fastmail. I have never heard of it, but I think I'll stay with Exchange Online for email. It costs me only 3.30 EUR/month and I believe it is much more secure than anything else.

What I'm looking for now is a modern office/productivity suite without the extra bulk (and cost) of collaboration features that are of no use to independent professionals.

Unless someone can argue for the benefits of having SharePoint. Version management perhaps? Delivering my translations to clients by uploading them to SharePoint instead of attaching them to emails? Has anyone used such features in his/her daily business as a freelance translator? Is there a real benefit? That's the kind of questions I'm seeking answers to.

Thank you.

[Edited at 2015-06-10 19:12 GMT]


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Domenico Trimboli  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:12
Member (2013)
English to Italian
Principles... Jun 10, 2015

Epameinondas Soufleros wrote:

(and no, I don't want to break the law, even if no one will ever know).



Are worth paying for...? That is the question.


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