It’s more possible than ever to start a business remotely. Thanks to free web builders and online tools, you can build a website and an online storefront. And thanks to online communication tools, it’s possible to collaborate with people all over the world without ever leaving the comfort of your home office.
Operating a fully remote business can be rewarding for several reasons, and many businesses have adopted this model already; it cuts down on expenses, gives you more flexibility, and opens the door to more hiring opportunities. But there are also some disadvantages you’ll need to plan around if you’re going to be successful.
Tips for First-Time Remote Business Owners
Follow these important strategies if you want your remote business to be a success:
- Establish a home office. First, take the time to establish a home office, rather than working on the couch or worse, in bed. If you have an extra room, consider converting it to include a desk, formal décor, and other resources you need to operate your business. If you don’t have an extra room, at least set up a desk or workstation to function as your designated workspace. This is important to help you distinguish between work time and personal time, since the two can easily get blurred, and can help you stay more productive during work hours.
- Cycle between work environments. Even if you have an established workspace in your home, it may not be enough to keep you interested in and stimulated by your work. Come up with a plan for how to cycle between different work environments; for example, you might plan to work at a local café under a retractable awning one day a week, or plan to work with others at your local coworking space on a regular basis.
- Stay social. Regardless of where you choose to work as an alternate work environment, go out of your way to stay social. Working fully remotely, even if you’re communicating with a team through digital channels, can sometimes make you feel isolated, and gradually wear down your morale. Instead, try to meet up with your coworkers on a regular basis, meet with other entrepreneurs, and make time to spend with friends and family.
- Maintain a strict schedule. Many new entrepreneurs and digital nomads find themselves overwhelmed by the freedom offered by a remote business. They find themselves easily distracted, and may struggle to remain as productive as they were when they worked in a formal office setting. You can start to counter this by keeping a strict schedule, outlining when and how you’re going to spend the hours of your workday. Over time, you can adjust this schedule to improve your productivity.
- Set goals and stick to them. Make sure you’re setting lots of goals in lots of different areas. Set both long-term and short-term goals for your business’s development, as well as for your efforts as an individual. Stick to them as much as possible, and if you fail to achieve one, analyze why. As with any business, you’ll need to readdress and reorganize these goals periodically to better reflect your current situation.
- Hire slowly, and hold your team accountable. It’s tempting to hire people as soon as possible, to ensure your business grows, but there is such a thing as growing too quickly—especially in a remote environment, where trust and accountability are major factors for your team’s success. Hire people one at a time, and only when you need them, and take your time in your decision making. One, high-quality and loyal employee is better than an entire team of people who might flake or otherwise prove themselves unreliable after a week.
- Be flexible. Managing a remote business is a learning process, and it’s never going to be perfect. Try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to your business model, the demands of your work, and how you approach your own productivity. Experiment frequently, and be open to new ideas.
Learning From Others
Remote business management and the digital nomad lifestyle are appealing, but are still new territory for professionals. There isn’t a clear strategy that works for everyone, and there are still complexities and pitfalls that everyone is figuring out. If you want to improve your chances to succeed, take the time to meet and talk to other entrepreneurs and professionals trying to achieve the same results.
They’ll be able to offer their unique perspective and may be able to provide insights or advice that help you run your business more effectively. They may also be available to collaborate with you, giving you access to more resources and a partnership that can make your business more competitive.