Can You Truly Run an Entire Business from Your Bedroom?

It’s no secret that running a business from home is a popular idea these days. But, a lot of people still have one main concern — is it actually possible? Surely, at some point, you have to move into an office, right? Or, can you really just run an entire business from your bedroom?

To answer this, I’ve made a few points that show how it might be possible to become a business owner and never leave your bed.

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Use Online Technologies to Your Advantage

Online technologies have made it far easier to fully fun an entire business from your bedroom. They tackle a few key problems that home business owners might have come across in the past. The main one is employee collaboration. Previously, people struggled to properly collaborate with employees unless they were all in the same room.

Now, thanks to the cloud, you can do this with ease. There are tools out there that let you all work on the same documents together, and you’ve also got so many instant messaging services to make communication simple too. Furthermore, businesses can use online marketing to reach a wide audience these days too.

Before, working from home might have restricted your market reach, now it’s not an issue!

Utilise Different Third-Party Services

A third-party service is when you look outside of your business for help with certain things. The best example of this is a third-party logistics service (3PL). A lot of businesses will use 3PL warehouse management services to help them run their business from home. The idea here is that you remain in your home office, while a third-party service operates a warehouse for you.

You can get all your stock delivered there, where they sort through it and deliver it to your customers. Another great example is third-party customer service providers. Again, you stay at home, but they have an entire office full of customer service providers ready to listen to your customers.

In both instances, you’ve provided a top-level service without needing to move out of your home office. The idea is to offload large tasks to other companies that can handle them better than you.

Choose a Business Ideal that Works

Last, but by no means least, you need to consider your business idea itself. The main thing to think about is, well, will it actually work?! There are loads of business ideas that are almost designed to work well when ran from home. Online retail companies and businesses offering services or consultations are fantastic examples of ideas that work.

But, you also have some ideas that just won’t work well at all. It’s all about looking at your idea and figuring out where the sticking points are. What I mean is; where can you foresee issues with running this company from home. Businesses that often require clients to come and meet with you aren’t really ideal for home business ideas. You don’t want to have important people coming to your house every day, it looks unprofessional, and you’re better off with an office.

You can definitely run your whole business from home without ever needing an office. The key is choosing the right idea, outsourcing the right tasks, and using the internet to your advantage!

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Starting a Home Business? How to Prepare Your House!

If you’ve found this website, there’s a fair chance that you run a small business, or it’s something you’ve dreamed of. Am I right? Well, thanks to the advancements of the internet, starting a business from home, either selling a product or offering a service, is a very real possibility for many of us. You no longer need investments or a massive cash injection to start your own business. You can set up from your spare room, and all you really need is a fantastic idea and a bit of a plan.

Working from home can be amazing. It gives you the opportunity to work around your family or other commitments, make something for yourself from nothing and be a truly successful businessman or women, even if you’ve got little to no experience of the business world.

However, if you are looking to start-up from home, there are some things that you need to consider. Without careful preparation, your home will become overrun with stock, your work life balance ruined, and you could find that your business is breaking laws by not being registered, insured and protected correctly. So, to make sure you can run a successful business from home, here are a few changes your house needs to go through first.

You’ll Need a Workspace

One of the hardest things about working from home is getting into the right mindset. When you’re not travelling to a designated work environment, it can be tough both getting into the right headspace to work productively and leaving it behind when you’ve finished for the day.

The best thing to do is create a specific workspace. What do you need? For many working from home, all it takes is setting up a cool home office in the spare room. However, you may also need a working kitchen, a storeroom and a studio.

Make a floor plan of your home and play around with creating the areas you need without disrupting family life too much. Garages, lofts and basements make excellent options.

Think About Security

If you are a freelancer, working online, all you need to consider is cyber-security. But, if you keep stock and cash at home you’ll want to make sure your home is exceptionally safe. Install good Video Surveillance, a safe, and some Smart home security systems.

Research the Laws Surrounding Your Business

Legislation is something that many people neglect when they start-up from home. However, you really can’t afford to. If you work with food, you’ll need health and safety and food hygiene certificates. Alternatively, if you provide a service to the public, such as beauty treatments or alternative healthcare, you may need liability insurance. Do your research and apply for everything you need.

Presentation is Key

If you plan on meeting clients or bringing customers into your home, you need to present it well. Remember, they won’t come straight into the office. Your hallway and the route to the office need to be tidy and well-presented too.

Being able to run your business from the comfort of your own home gives you an excellent opportunity. Just make sure you, and your home, are prepared for any changes that you need to make first.

Unnecessary Costs of Starting a Business

There are plenty of costs involved when starting a business (hiring people, office rental, energy costs, etc.) with the average start-up cost coming in at around $30,000. On the flip-side, micro-businesses can be kick-started at approximately $3,000 or less.

While many initial costs are necessary, it’s fair to say that many are, in fact, a wasteful investment. And, given that cash flow and investment is all-important at the early startup stage, it makes sense for new businesses to avoid unnecessary expenses and eliminate them entirely.

At first glance some of these costs may appear to be minimal, when you add them all up, you could arrive at a significant amount of money. Which, of course, could be much better invested elsewhere, and provide you with a stronger foundation for success.

Here are four things to consider that can help you reduce any unnecessary costs of starting a business.

Hire flexible people

If you can avoid hiring people for as long as possible, it’s advisable.

Ultimately, as your business grows you’ll have to consider taking on people (employees) to give you a helping hand — just be strategic and selective with the personalities you hire. Your startup should be looking for very specific types of individuals in its early stages.

You need employees with multiple skill sets and the ability to help you out with various tasks in a variety of areas (maybe social media and sales generation).

Naturally as you begin to make more money, you can hire people for specific roles and define the role of existing employees. But in the early stages, flexible people are key.

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Don’t rent an office straight away

Room rental and rates will cost you money you can’t afford as a startup. It makes no sense to spend all that cash on an office when there are so many other options to consider.

For example, the go-to is working from a home office to save on rent altogether. Or you might visit The Hoxton Mix or a similar co-working space in your area to rent a cheap desk — or just use as a virtual address. Coffee franchises like Starbucks, have become quite popular as daily work areas for “solopreneurs”. I written a few articles for Virgin.com from there.

And there maybe other small businesses in your area who would be willing to rent out a single desk for you to work on your business, for a much lower market rate than you would find anywhere else.

Watch your energy usage

Wherever your business is, make sure that you are keeping on top of your energy bills. Even the simple act of turning off a light when you leave a room can help you save a significant sum of money over your first year.

And if you apply the same efficiency principles to every other electrical device, you will find those savings start to multiply by a huge amount.

Trade in your expensive analog phone line and use smartphone or laptop with services like Skype and Google Hangouts instead. With more people getting used to contacting businesses online, phone lines are an unnecessary initial cost.

It’s also important to factor in your energy usage into your quotation and invoice, particularly if you’re providing a service like web design, application development, graphic design, interior design, writing, editing, and just anything else that requires you using software to create a product. This will help you recoup some of the costs.

Image Credit: Pexels

Paying and being paid

A final point — never forget the importance of cash flow to your business. You always want to be cash flow positive. It will save you from significant debt over your first couple of years.

Try and collect any monies owed as quickly as possible, while holding on to your own payments for as long as possible. It’s imperative that you invoice your clients to get paid on-time.

Set-up lines of credit if necessary, as you will often find that the interest rates involved are much lower than you will find on a credit card.

But, all things considered, it’s always best to bootstrap your company by growing at a steady pace and reinvesting your earnings.

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How to Make Working from Home Work for You

More of us than ever want to be our own boss. That’s what makes working from home so appealing. Working remotely usually means we can choose our own hours, within reason, and are far more flexible. It’s the antithesis to the ‘daily grind’. Instead of a long commute in the morning, it’s a short stroll down the hall to a makeshift office area. We can squeeze in that gym session, a catch-up, and even some cooking because we’re managing ourselves after all. Of course, just like with any work setup, there are pitfalls too. It’s not all lie-ins, late nights, and lunching. If you’re considering a career working from home here’s a guide to doing it the right way.

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Image Credit: Pixabay

What Do You Do For Work?

This is the first, quite major, hurdle facing anyone looking to work from home. If you work as a doctor there just isn’t going to be any way for you to work remotely. Certain professions are customer, patient, client-facing by nature. It may appeal to you to work from home but it just won’t be possible. Having said that, there are lots of careers which can be set up from home.

If you’re a writer, an artist, or a composer, basically any career where work is commissioned from you, you can work from home. In fact, in these scenarios, it’s often best to work remotely. Artists can save money on studio space by converting a spare room into a place to paint. Similarly, if you’re a writer it’s ideal to work from home. All you need is a comfortable place to work and a laptop.

Making Money

Making money is the hardest part of working from home. Whatever it is you’re trying to sell, your work, your products, your services, it’s tough. Unlike working for a large company, you’ll have to market yourself. Marketing is key to surviving if you work freelance. It’s what drives traffic to a website, gets commissions, and translates into money. If you haven’t already, consider enlisting the services of a company like Octave Media. They’re experts in marketing and know the ins and outs of the trade. Whether you’re a fashion consultant looking for clients, or a would-be entrepreneur trying to sell your products, these companies can get you, customers. They do this by implementing modern marketing techniques like social media, blogging, and SEO.

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Tips For Making It Work

Once you’ve established yourself in your new work-from-home position, you may find it tough, to begin with. To start with it can feel isolating. Especially if you’re used to working in a large office or social setup. It can also be challenging to self-motivate. The main thing to do is set yourself a routine. Don’t lie-in. Save that for the weekends. Don’t sit at your desk, studio, or workspace all day either. Move into another room for lunches and any other breaks. Fill your free time with meeting people. Go out every single day, even if it’s just to the shops, this will help you to feel integrated still. Lastly, enjoy your new-found freedom! Create a schedule that gives you more free time, work from a coffee shop or the park, and savour your new work setup.

Work From Home Or Rent An Office?

A big dilemma that faces many startup companies is where to work. Many modern businesses require only a computer and a phone. This gives you free reign to practically work wherever you like whether that be an office, a park bench or tucked up beneath your duvet.

There’s a lot of commercial real estate available on the market, some of which can be relatively cheap. You can even rent a desk in a shared office space. This can be a great way of escaping the distractions of home – whether that be the comfort of your bed, the television or the kids running around. Being housebound all day also may lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Leaving the house for some can help separate home life and work life and make you not feel so trapped.

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Image Credit: Pexels

That said, working from home certainly costs less. You haven’t got the extra rent of an office or the cost of travel. By setting up one room in your home and sing it solely as an office, you may also be able to deduct it from tax (10% of your rent can go on office space, 5% if you use it for other home purposes). You can claim the rent of your office as an expense, but working from home is always going to work out cheaper.

Of course, there are happy mediums. If the social buzz doesn’t distract you, a coffee bar or pub could be a good place to work from. Alternatively, a library might be a quieter option (also look into local community centres and youth centres that may offer their premises for free).

Eventually of course you may want to employ more staff. This begs the question – can your staff also work from home? Cloud technology has made sharing information easy and there are video chat tools that can make to face-to-face meeting possible without actually being there in person.

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Image Credit: Pexels

Of course, training and supervising in the first few weeks may prove difficult. Whilst you can see people’s progress on a document, you can’t check to see if what they’re really doing with their day. On top of this, bonding with staff may be difficult online or over the phone. Having an office can provide the chance to socialise, to make one another coffee and to talk to each other without having to make a call or type an email.

Some businesses will hence bite the bullet and rent an office once employees enter the equation. The extra money that these employees will take on from lifting the load off your shoulders can help you pay for an office. Generally, somewhere small may be all that’s needed in the beginning (enough to contain four or five people so that you have some room for growth). From there you can branch out and have people working from home, whilst still having a few close workers around you to keep you regularly updated with essential tasks. Or you can build an empire and one day have your own floor on Canary Wharf. Your choice!   

Are Homeworkers Making An Impact On Your Homelife?

Working from home is a dream I think we all aspire to at some point. Who doesn’t like the idea of getting out of bed, putting your dressing gown on and casually heading to the living room nice and warm to sit in front of your laptop to do some work for the day? It certainly beats the early morning commute in the rain! But is it as rosy (and cozy) existence as it sounds? There are boundless positives to working at home, but is it all cracked up to be? If you’re running a business that has homeworkers, or you’re thinking about ditching the premises to conserve costs, have a read of this before you tell everyone to “go home”!

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Image Credit: Pixabay
The Technical Impact

The question you need to ask yourself is, can you run a business from home with the same efficiency as in an office environment? You need to factor in things like logistics. This is where technology comes into play. With the internet, it is incredibly easy to send emails, IM’s, etc. In an office scenario, you would have the standard landlines, with a staff member quickly reachable at their extension. In a working from home situation, can you guarantee efficient contact?

Concerned business owners may wish to install a phone system like a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). It’s a way of being able to make phone calls via the internet. If you are looking for certain phone systems for your business, there are many services online, like VoiceOnyx business phone service. VoIP systems also provide mobile options. This gives remote workers access to a business’s phone system from their mobile device. So if you are contemplating the idea of running a business from home, you need to make sure that your colleagues are with the right tech. Or supply them with the tech, especially if one of the staff doesn’t have a mobile phone- it’s rare, but it happens!

When it comes to VoIP systems, if you are in an area with poor internet connectivity, this can cause frustration. Having poor phone reception is annoying at the best of times, so if you are reliant on constant phone contact, it may not be the best approach.

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The Impact On Productivity

Working from home from the perspective of the business owner and the employee’s point of view are entirely different.

The employee could treat it as a working holiday lasting from Monday to Friday, and the boss will need to make sure the business is running smoothly. But the owner will also be busy with meetings and the like. In an office, there are people delegated to keep the organization running in the absence of a leader. Line managers, team leaders, whatever you want to call them. In a home working environment, that role is almost reduced to basic email contact.

So, how can productivity be tracked? Regular contact is one way. But making sure a back-office system is installed will be one way to “police” your staff.

Ultimately, when it comes to home working, the onus is on the worker to be productive. So, having self-reliant staff is a fundamental way of making a gamble like this payoff.

Freelancer, Listen Up! Be Your Own Boss With These Valuable Tools

It can be tough freelancing. Sure, you get to take time off whenever you want and have complete control over all your projects. But there are other limitations that you will experience that you might not struggle with if you had a full-time job. For instance, you might experience periods of not much work, and you aren’t entitled to any sick benefits. Thankfully, being your own boss usually outweighs all the disadvantages.

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Image Credit: Pexels

Are you trying to improve your life as a freelancer? Or maybe you are tempted to start a new life as a freelancer? Regardless how new you are to freelancing, here are some valuable tools that can help you be your own boss.

Website

You should create a website for yourself. This should detail your skills and contact details. It’s also a good idea to have some examples of your previous work on there, if possible. Your website has to showcase everything you can do. This will be what potential clients use in place of your resume. So make sure it looks professional and shows everything that you can do! It is also a good idea to get it SEO ready so that lots of people find you through Google searches. You can speak to a website design agency, such as CandidSky, who can help you with SEO.

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Image Credit: Pexels
Business Cards

When you are working as a freelancer, you will be working in an extremely competitive market. So you need to be on the lookout for potential new clients whenever and wherever you can. If you get speaking to someone, you may find that they are looking for something that you can offer. This is where business cards come in. Make sure you have some business cards in your wallet so that you always have one you to give to potential clients.

Workplace

As you will be working from home, it is important to create a home office for yourself. A spare room is perfect for this. If you don’t have a spare room, you can turn a corner of your living room into a comfortable office space. Worried that you won’t be able to concentrate on your work at home? Then why not look into a co-working space. These are offices in which you can hire a hot desk for a set period. Some even offer permanent office space for freelancers and small startups.

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Image Credit: Pexels
An Accountant

As a freelancer, you are responsible for your own taxes. If you have no experience of the tax system, then you might be better off hiring an accountant. This may seem like an expensive option, but it can actually save you money in the long run. Your accountant will know how to save you money on your tax return. So you could end up paying a lot less tax than if you had filed your tax return on your own.  

Once you have all these tools under our belt, you will start to ace life as a freelancer! And your sales will start to soar!