Long gone are the days when a business could only operate nine to five from behind a desk. Flexible working is where it’s at; where you set the agenda, the location, the hours and the pay. The real question is: could this dream job really work for you?
Naturally, there will be some businesses that are more suited to flexible working than others, but anyone who freelances or sells their goods and services online can benefit from working in a transient location. Take freelance bloggers for example, if sitting in cafes tapping away creating beautiful content is something you dream of, then creating a business on the go could well be for you. Working around school runs and being home for deliveries definitely has its advantages, but there are a few issues to consider, especially as far as technology and an online presence is concerned.
Make your online presence felt
Working online not only means being online, but also creating a presence online. In this day and age, having social media that backs up everything your business offers is essential. Get it right and they all feed into each other, making your online reach significant. Get Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others working for you and link properly to your blog and website.
“Don’t let your online presence gather dust. The advantage of a flexible business is that you can still update regularly to ensure that you are the one-stop, go-to site for information about your industry. Done correctly, your business will travel far and wide, even when you don’t,” says Suzanne Clarke, educator at 1Day2Write.
Be at the top of the tech game
In the early days of starting up your online business, you won’t want to be shelling out hundreds of dollars on new technology, but you may have to make some investments. The secret isn’t in buying the cheapest options, but buying the smartest options. A little extra cash spent on buying tech that makes your working life run smoothly makes you more efficient, more productive and less stressed. Even something as simple as spending a little more on a laptop or Mac that works exactly the way you need, rather than a cheaper less dependable version, will ultimately save you time and money. Similarly, don’t scrimp on your WiFi connection, wherever you choose to work. Unreliable connections will cost you time (and customers) and have you tearing your hair out when it’s time to send over important files.
If you have all this nailed down, then the next step is to make sure you’re using your tech tools properly, so as to have the best efficiency. Link your devices. If you need to be away from your computer for any length of time, make sure your mobile or tablet can pick up where you left off. Get to know how Cloud and handover technology works. Let companies like Grasshopper help you connect all your devices so traveling on the go is seamless.
Protect your privacy by ensuring that your work email is separate from your personal account. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of emails that come through your mailbox, so filtering them is a great solution.
Companies like Grasshopper can offer you a separate phone number that directs to your cell, so business stays business and personal, personal. In addition, Grasshopper Connect makes it possible to easily separate your work and personal communications by channelling all of your business contacts and communications to a single platform, empowering business owners to be more responsive, efficient and successful.
These simple tips will ensure that you’re ready to work wherever and whenever and make deadline day a whole lot more bearable.
Imagine your power went out, how will you continue working? Making sure you have a backup plan in place in case of emergency isn’t just smart, it’s professional. If you’re reliant on WiFi, find out how to tether to other devices, or access mobile data. Have backup batteries and power banks on hand for your devices, and have device helplines close by in case you need a little advice.
“It goes without saying that you should always backup your work — preferably to Cloud storage which can be accessed from other computers or devices if necessary,” advises Christopher Moffit, tutor at Writemyx.
Work to rule
You’ve sorted out your tech and you’re up and running. Now’s the time to lay down your ground rules. What is the point of running a fully flexible online business if you’re tied to a screen night and day? The beauty of taking your business anywhere is that you can do just that. If you find yourself on a beach tapping away when you should be relaxing, you need to think carefully about setting working hours and sticking to them.
Of course, this is made harder when working across different time zones, but setting emails to send when you’re asleep is one advantage of smart technology.
It’s hard to say no to work, but there are times when you need to step away and recharge, so set rules for yourself. After all, you are the boss.
Carve out your own space
While the attraction of working from home is obvious, it may be that your environment is working against you. If you have a dog constantly begging for attention or small children or even flatmates watching television, you’re not going to give your projects the time and attention they deserve. Your business needs your attention and you need the time and space to work.
“If being distracted at home is a problem, I advise setting up shop in a co-worker site, it’s a good alternative. It’s not quite an office, not quite home, and might be a good solution to finding your quiet spot,” says Victoria Thewl, Tutor at OriginWritings.
There are always cafés to check out, but you may have to make that latte last an awfully long time or end up spending more money than you would like.
Planning is everything
It’s easy to rush into everything head first, but a little planning goes a long way. Divide your business up into short- and long-term goals and go from there. Wherever you are, and however you’re working, these goals will help focus your mind and keep you doing what you love. If you’re planning on growing your online business then set out how with tangible objectives and work towards achieving them. Taking your business around the world, or just out of the office will feel less daunting with a well-written and realistic strategy in place. If you’re not sure what your long-term goals are, look at a few business models online for inspiration.
Whatever line of business you’re in, whether you are a blogger, writer, travel agent or a plumber, creating a moveable business is something everyone can aim for. With the right skills, the right planning, and the right motivation, creating your online empire isn’t as hard as it might appear.
Take the time to do a little research, ask for help, and invest in technology that works properly and you’ll be well on your way to success. Taking your business on the go will give you more satisfaction than you ever thought possible, and you certainly won’t miss the nine-to-five of cubicle life. Say goodbye to the Monday blues and hello to your business, the way you want it.