Thanks to the internet, smartphones and changes in specific employment laws, working remotely has become more popular. Employers are looking to attract the best talent and one way to do this appears to be to offer flexible working contracts, with flexible start times and the option of working from home. This makes for both the employer and the employees as research does suggest that it can improve productivity and happiness.
With a commitment from government officials and local business groups to develop the city’s economy beyond the famous nightlife-scene, Las Vegas is currently regarded as one of the best places in the country to start a business.
For freelancers and entrepreneurs, starting a business from home is the obvious place to begin; reducing business-expenses (and some of the financial risk) significantly when compared to the cost of renting an office. Working remotely has also seen an increased level of adoption by businesses across different sectors – even when employed by a more ‘traditional’ business such as a bank.
Working from home has many perks. You can reduce your carbon footprint, trim hours from your working day thanks to the lack of a commute and reduce the number of interruptions that hinder your focus.
Working from home as a startup business or entrepreneur, also has many pitfalls however, and presents new challenges that you may not have anticipated when putting together your business plan. This is especially true if you are a freelancer trying to manage clients and juggle & align your responsibilities at home as a parent.
Being aware of the potential pitfalls including:
- Interruptions such as people knocking at the door
- Lack of focus/discipline
- Lack of a distinct boundary between work & home life
- Lack of a distinct working-space
Ensuring you have the right software and hardware tools before you begin can help you to get off to a productive start. It can also be a good idea to work from a co-working office or even the cliché coffee shop for a few days per week to begin with and compare how productive and focused you are to the days that you work from home.
In Las Vegas, to begin trading you will require a business name, address, a Nevada business license and tax information. Remember to check your business name is unique and if you want to use a website in anyway, ensure there’s a relevant domain name available by searching a website such as GoDaddy.
Internet Setup & Configuration
The basic essentials for working from home include a secure, high speed and reliable internet connection.
If you are self employed you should definitely have some kind of backup internet access. Internet outages are not uncommon and if you are running a business from home, a lack of internet can be a financial disaster. A 4G router for a desktop device is the easiest backup to implement. As your business grows you will also have to make sure you have a suitable internet package and contract.
You may also need a VPN – Virtual Private Network if you are accessing secure documents on another businesses cloud/resources, oh and your own computer.
Office Setup & Furniture
If you have a tiny house (like I do), then it might not be possible to have an entire room dedicated to your business. This is not ideal but if you cannot dedicate a room to be ‘business-only’ then an area will do.
Wherever you work from at home, consider investing in the following:
- A Laptop Monitor
Back in the 2000s, I was a personal trainer. I had 2 clients who worked on laptops all day and both had prominent bulges in their necks from being hunched over a laptop all day. If funds allow, buy a suitable monitor, keyboard and mouse that can turn your laptop, into what will essentially be a desktop computer. Sitting down all day is bad enough for your health but being slouched over is really bad for you both mentally and physically.
- An ergonomically-sound workstation
If you are one of the millions of Americans to suffer from back and neck pain, an ergonomically-sound workstation is essential. Since you’re at home and don’t care too much what you look like – you could also invest in a stability ball chair, or just a stability ball. Active-sitting has a range of benefits for your back, core strength and circulation. It will pay off in terms of energy & energy levels, as well as health in the longer term. Whatever you sit on; ensure that you have correct posture and that your desk is at the correct height in relation to your chair.
- Correct Lighting
You may have to invest in some blinds or a glare screen for your monitor if you are working on it all day. Whether you are working at home or at the office, you should also consider a blue light filter for your web browser to help improve sleep patterns and reduce eye strain.
- Paper Shredder & Scanner
With data & confidentiality laws becoming stricter with every passing year, you will need to at least consider investing in a paper shredder for your business documents. A printer is also a must for most businesses and should also be on the checklist of things to invest in. Fortunately, both printers and scanners are relatively cheap these days and frightfully small, so it’s easier than ever to kit out your home office with limited room.
- A Virtual Identity – Address, Receptionist, Telephone Number
If you are looking to create a professional image, then it might be necessary to invest in a virtual office address and telephone number. Although attitudes are certainly changing, in order to obtain clients in some niche-markets it is worth considering purchasing an office address to give the impression that you do not work from home – unfortunately there may still be a little stigma.
A virtual receptionist from the likes of Moneypenny can benefit your business in several ways. For example, you can reduce interruptions during the day by sending calls to your receptionist, you can relax at the end of the day knowing a receptionist is handling all your calls and sales-leads and at the same time you can provide a professional image to any potential clients who will think that you have your own office receptionist.
Obviously, you will also want a website, which will display all of your contact details. Again, this will make your business seem more professional and even legitimate to anyone who visits your website and sees your contact details. Trust is an important factor when prospecting for clients.
Mobile Phone Apps
It is worth mentioning a few mobile phone apps that might be worth investing in when running a business from home.
Invoicely, has a free plan and 3 other plans costing from $9.99 to $29.99 per month. As you might have guessed, this app allows you to create and send invoices – a must for being paid on time. You can also maintain your professional image with branded invoices.
It also allows you to accept online payments – so that clients can pay invoices immediately and track your own expenses. A great tool for helping to keep your own books.
In order to manage your time and even to charge your clients appropriately, you will also need some time tracking and time management apps. Toggl allows you to track and analyse your time and see where your time is best spent in terms of how much each client is paying you. You can also sync everything between desktop and mobile devices. Simple yet essential; time management is one of the key ways to prevent burnout when you get started running your own business.
So Many Tools for Freelancers & Entrepreneurs
It is hard to know what you need and what you don’t when you get started running your own business – you can become overwhelmed just planning or contemplating working from home.
There are certainly more tools that might be worth considering – including a VOIP phone system for one. We hope this article has been helpful.