How to Manage a Startup Working from Home
The internet has made it possible for a growing segment of the workforce to do their jobs remotely. If you are or can be an entrepreneur, telecommuting employee, or a freelancer, a home office can be a productive and comfortable workplace. It will save you the time and costs of a daily commute and reduce the stress of a corporate environment. However, working from home needs to be setup to be productive. Freelance jobs or online startups can grow to become your full-time career if you follow these tips and put some planning into your home work environment.
Find effective digital tools
Having the right technology in place can provide many benefits over stacks of paperwork or whiteboards. For one thing, using computer applications takes up less room, and make it easier to organize files. Though a digital solution may be more expensive upfront, it will save you on office supplies over the long term. It’s also possible to find free, open-source software tools.
You can find apps tailored to specific business needs such as accounting, or productivity suites with a collection of useful tools like desktop publishing and spreadsheets. Some are designed for small businesses and are very user-friendly.
You can experiment with any amount of freeware you like, or trial versions of paid software. Keep looking until you find the digital tools that fit your personal tastes and provide greater efficiency to your tasks.
Show prospects a great landing page
A landing page for your company website can be your chief means of converting interested prospects into purchasers. It’s the first impression consumers get of your company and product, which is critical to capturing their interest and earning their confidence.
Use layouts that are visually appealing but uncluttered and easy to navigate. Menus should be simple and buttons clearly labeled. Research the right keywords to drive search engine traffic to your page.
Use taglines that convey immediately what you do. Be friendly but get to the point. Important information should be easy to locate, such as highlighting each section with bold headers. Specify what value your company provides, or the need you fulfill.
Explain why your business is special, and end with a CTA (call to action) that invites the reader to take the next step, whether it’s clicking a link or downloading a PDF file.
Think of your home office as a corporate one
Many corporations start as home businesses, but what solopreneurs have in common is dedication and hard work. You can enjoy the conveniences of working from home yet think like a business manager. Try setting a daily schedule that requires you to get out of bed and get started. You could even dress professionally and hang a sign on the door if it improves your motivation.
It’s also important to minimize distractions. Let your family and friends know that you’re self-employed and not to be disturbed when you’re working. At the same time, your office should be as private as possible so you aren’t bothering anyone else in the house.
To be comfortable and healthy, in addition to a nice chair and suitable desk, you should allow some natural light and perhaps a potted plant or two. Good air quality and a productive atmosphere are important to sustaining a positive mood. Make certain that you have all the electrical sources, light, ventilation, and temperature control you need to stay focused.
Make the effort to keep your office in order. Periodically clean up, remove clutter, and check that wiring and cables are in good shape. Any chores or seasonal maintenance you would do to other parts of the home should include your workspace.
Promote your brand with social media
Millions of people are using the major social sites like Instagram, Twitter, and especially Facebook. Some spend time on their social platforms every day, making it a powerful channel for connecting with consumers. You can take advantage of this to create and grow a brand following.
Keeping up with your audience on multiple social networks could easily become a full-time job. Be sure to concentrate your efforts on those that best fit your business. Instagram and Pinterest, for instance, are visually focused, while Twitter only allows you 140 characters of text. Explore social media to find out who your best market segment is, and what content and platforms they prefer.
Make regular updates that get the most attention with the least effort. That requires coming up with fresh material that your audience will find useful and engaging. Avoid generic ideas, tasteless jokes, offensive opinions, or the mistake of thinking that quality can be replaced with quantity.
Remember that communication is a two-way street. Engage with your users by responding to questions or feedback, but focus on networking with influencers that can spread your brand or build your professional network. Your most loyal followers can become advocates that extend your brand awareness on their own.
Incentivize audience loyalty with freebies
As you grow your social media network, concentrate on building loyalty to create more advocates. It will be easier to earn loyalty by providing extra value, whether it’s great information, good deals, or free gifts. Freebies can be almost anything your followers will like, including coupons for discounts or free shipping, giveaways like T-shirts or tote bags, or access to downloadable e-books or applications.
Giving your audiences the idea that they’re getting more value from your product will increase your brand appeal. Think about asking for email addresses to distribute special offers or newsletters to preferred customers. You could even start a rewards club. The important thing is that you build loyalty, especially with repeat customers.
Working from home can launch your startup
To summarize, treating your home office as a work office will promote better productivity. Take advantage of the internet to locate the right tools, build an effective landing page, and build your brand awareness on social media platforms. Do what it takes to build a loyal following, and they’ll help to support your business future.
Jeff E. Brown is a freelance writer, DIY home improvement specialist, lifehacker, self-taught handyman, and happy dog owner.