As you know, I’m my own boss and work from a home office, which I’ve recently revamped with a fresh coat of paint. And coming soon will be a wallpaper going up on the one side, when I’m back from Barcelona (currently at Mobile World Congress). I’ve already picked it out and I’m very excited to see it all come together, as the previous reddish colour eventually got a bit depressing.

I posted a before and after photo on Instagram and the ladies behind the Epson South Africa team saw this and approached me to participate in the Epson Entrepreneur campaign. I don’t call myself one but apparently I fit the profile 😉

They’ve loaned me the Epson L6160 printer to try out in my home office. If you know me, you know that I despise printers. It’s the one piece of technology that is so inconsistent, it makes me want to break something every time I have to use one.

So I unplugged my current printer (don’t even ask, it ran out of ink so the bottom half of a sentence only gets printed now) and I couldn’t be bothered to buy an ink cartridge because we all know they cost the same as buying a new printer. I go to PostNet because I don’t want to have to deal with it.

Enter the Epson L6160
I was very sceptical when I opened the box, but nevertheless plugged it into my Windows 10 PC. I don’t bother with drivers that come on a CD, I just download it from the internet but shockingly, this printer didn’t need anything to be downloaded. I have a printer cable of course (these ones are rarely supplied in the box), plugged it in and my PC picked it up immediately. I printed a test page, and it worked. At this point I was still in shock, waiting for something to go wrong. Honestly, I’ve never set up a desktop printer in so little time, and effort.

Then I began to print my visa related forms, in colour and black and white, and a bunch of documents, even a blog post, because why not, I’m printing all the things now. It worked; and I was still amazed by this, wondering when things will go wrong.

So, what is so special about this printer?
Because I’m so disinterested in printing tech (except for mobile photo printers), I didn’t know that Epson has something called the EcoTank. It’s a tank of ink that you top up when you run out of a colour. This means you never have to buy an expensive cartridge again. An ink tank is efficient because all you’re buying now are refill bottles; and refills of any kind are always more cost-effective.

Epson claims it will cut costs down by up to 90% but I don’t print every single day or week to notice this, but as someone who works from home, I do need to print stuff every now and then. Using the Epson has been a positive experience, as far as ALL my printer experiences have gone. Epson says that you can print 14 000 pages in black and 11 200 in colour with what is provided in the box.

It’s wireless!
The printer is also a wireless printer, which becomes a WiFi hotspot so you can connect to and print directly from it. I went straight into the Settings menu for this to get the password, paired my iPhone in seconds and printed something. By this point, I was like, wow, this is too good to be true.

I tried printing from my Mac but had a slight issue with it connecting to my laptop for some reason. This took a bit longer, but it eventually connected after a few minutes. I don’t update my Mac with the latest OS anymore, so this could have been the reason, I am not 100% sure. Supported connectivity options include: WiFi, WiFi Direct, Ethernet, and an app.

Another cool feature
Something I noticed when printing two pages, is that the page automatically went back into the printer after side 1 and printed side 2 on it. I thought that was rather nifty. I’ve attempted to do this manually YEARS ago, and it was a bit of a chore because you have to remember which direction to feed the paper back in. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So for this to occur automatically and use less paper, it’s pretty cool.

Calling all entrepreneurs and start-ups
Anyway, why am I telling you all this? Well, if you’re also working from home and running a small business or a start-up, pay attention. The #EpsonEntrepreneur campaign calls for South Africans to (self) nominate budding entrepreneurs, and start-up business owners by submitting a 300-word business elevator pitch OR a 3-minute video pitch of their business idea on their Facebook Page via the comments. If you’re a home industry, tech startup, or any startup for that matter, this is your chance to submit a pitch. The Epson InkTank printers will sure keep the costs down.

Prizes: A small business starter pack that includes an Epson EcoTank ITS L6190 printer (worth R6500), an Epson EB-X41 business projector, a corporate identity and marketing plan, and PR support to launch your business.

You have almost a month to get your #EpsonEntrepreneur entries in, as nominations close on 22 March, with the winners being announced on 23 March 2018.

Visit Epson South Africa on Facebook for more.

DISCLAIMER: I was paid to participate in this campaign by sharing my work-from-home experience. This is not a review of the product, but rather to explain how it fit into my home office; and how you can enter the #EpsonEntrepreneur competition to kickstart your business. The L6160 printer will be going back to Epson South Africa.