There’s no denying the perks of working from home, the least of which is the fact that you can finally do away with your daily commute. But there are also plenty of hurdles you’ll have to leap when you are not only the worker bee, but also the manager, the accountant, the sales rep, and the CEO of your home-based business. Luckily, there are all kinds of modern tools that are ideal for helping you to run an enterprise out of your house. Here are a few that you simply can’t do without.
- Smartphone. You can certainly get by with a lesser phone, but why would you when the success or failure of your business is on the line, so to speak? These days there’s no beating the mobile functionality of iPhones and products that run on Android platforms. Phones are no longer used merely to make calls, they are also your virtual contact list and they can be used to run a number of useful apps that allow you to video conference with clients and colleagues, access and send files via cloud storage, track budgets and project workflow, and complete myriad other tasks associated with your business, and all on the go. For the home-based entrepreneur looking to compete, there is no single item more useful or necessary.
- Alarm clock. Technically, this could be included with your smartphone, but it doesn’t really matter where your morning buzzer goes off so long as it wakes you up. The difficult truth of working from home and being your own boss is that you are totally in control of your time. This might sound great at first, but as you find yourself hitting snooze more and more frequently, until you’re rising at the crack of noon and working only a few hours each day, you’ll see why a good alarm clock is essential. Try the Clocky Robotic Alarm clock, a box on wheels that sets off rolling when the alarm starts so that you have to get up and chase it to turn the darn thing off.
- A website. It’s not exactly like you’ll get foot traffic in your location, so you need to find another way to make interested consumers aware of your presence. Creating a virtual storefront is the best way to start. You can use this platform to advertise your products or services and showcase your brand. You might even start a blog to drum up further interest. And you’ll certainly want to use SEO to extend your reach, so make sure you sign up with a reliable web host (free options may not be recognized by search engines like Google when it comes to optimization).
- Social networking profiles. You almost can’t run a business these days without setting up professional profiles on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and the like. While sites like LinkedIn will help you stay in touch with other professionals in your field, optimizing your use of public networks appropriately can elevate your brand and get more customers streaming through your virtual doorway.
- Fast, reliable internet. While most homes are already equipped with DSL or a cable modem, you might find that this type of connectivity simply doesn’t suit your needs (depending on the amount of data you’re moving). For many home-based businesses, these options will be workable, but if you need a little more speed or bandwidth, you might snap in a GLC -T transceiver module (if you don’t yet have a fiber optic connection) or think about upgrading to a T1 line (pricy, but it can run 60 times as much data as the modem found in your average home).