Are you in the midst of trying to figure out how to do business from home? If you are one of the unfortunate many who were sent home to either collect unemployment or to work from home without much instruction, or if you choose to work from home perhaps it will help you to hear about some resources for Home-Based Businesses.
I have worked from home before ‘virtual’ was virtual. I provided bookkeeping and secretarial work years ago from home. I went back to work part-time, only to find myself needing to come home again. The reason I started my virtual business was due to health reasons. If you have seen my content then you know my story and how I wanted to help provide for my family yet my MS was keeping me from working outside the home. So, although it was not COVID that sent me looking for a way to work from home, I did have to find a way to do this also. So many people are having to pivot their careers today and change either WHAT they are doing or HOW they are doing it. What is your situation, do you need to learn new skills, like online marketing, how to post on social media, or even how to write a good blog article? No matter what you need to learn there is no shortage of tools for online learning, communities, and Mentors or Business Coaches to help you.
Working online requires certain tools, especially if you are planning to be a Freelancer, Business Owner, or even do a side gig. There are so many we will not be able to cover them all, however, we will try to share enough to help you with some of the usual challenges in these unusual times.
Too many people use a generic or general Gmail account as their professional email account. Yet this is not professional at all. There are a number of reasons to use your domain extension rather than a Gmail or generic email account. If you want to maintain a general email account, that is fine, but I suggest you use it as your personal email, not your professional account.
Reasons To Use A Professional Email Addresses:
- Appears professional (sounds redundant but it is worth saying)
- Gives those who receive your emails the confidence that you have a website
- Helps to instill trust to the potential client’s mind
- No doubt about your professionalism
- Creates no doubt about whether you have a website or not
- Gives further trust that you are operating a legitimate business
- Security can be an issue with Gmail vs. Gsuite
Instead of using a generic email or Gmail account, it is much better to upgrade to a Gsuite account. You receive many more benefits and it is relatively inexpensive when considering software. The biggest advantage, however, is security. Did you know Gmail is not secure, but Gsuite is very secure? Due diligence is best and you should compare Gmail vs. Gsuite to make the best choice for you and your company
I think it is important to discuss E-learning or online learning as one of the first tools to help those new to work virtually. By adding to your skills you will only grow your opportunities and abilities. I highly recommend that you become involved in one of these and the communities that often accompany them. One of the best online learning companies I can highly recommend is Freelance University. I have taken courses with them for years (previously named VA Classroom and made the move to include all Freelancers a few years ago).
From the time I was a Virtual Assistant on through to the present time, as a Boutique Digital Marketing company, FreeU continues to help provide up to date teachings, certifications, workshops, and live events. I was honored to be asked to become Mentor with them several years ago and have been so blessed helping other students in their Freelancing business journey. [Be sure to take a look at this Webinar: “NEW FREELANCE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE MIDST OF CRISIS”.]
Project management systems are very important in business. There is no shortage of these program. A simple Google search will give you a multitude of possible programs as well as articles discussing the best ones. I do not want to add to the clutter, so I will give you just handful of PM (project management) systems that I know and trust.
- Asana – well known in the Freelance and business world and has been around for a long time, very trusted.
- Trello – also well known and used by businesses. It is set up in blocks or cards that are easy to view.
- Gqueque – a newer Project Management system by Google. I like that it feels very familiar and works similarly to their email in that you can set up folders and projects. It is very reasonably priced for one user, but if you have multiple team members you may need to add it up.
- Wrike – is a system I have used for many years and love. I use the free version (without all the bells & whistles) and it has served me well. I love that I can set up project folders and tasks as well as upload documents, photos, graphics and more for my team to pull from if need. It can appear as a list, board, your individual ‘to do’ list and more.
The key element, I believe, in finding the best PM System for you and your business is to find one that works like you work.
Moving to working from the office to home comes with a multitude of transitions. And one of those transitions is making sure you keep account of all of your expenses and deposits. More than likely you will be able to deduct more next year off your taxes if you keep good records. There are a number of software programs that can help you with this task.
- Quickbooks Online – is the obvious and most common of the accounting software programs available. The online version is much more user friendly and has an app available to capture receipts when needed.
- Freshbooks – is a great options for those who are Service Providers or Virtual Professionals, including Virtual Assistants, Freelancers, Digital Marketers, and many others. This can also be useful for those simply working from home. You do not have to use it as an invoicing system, but could connect your bank account to record all the transactions coming and going and assign categories (especially work related). It is excellent, however, for Freelancers and invoicing your clients.
- Dubsado – is not an accounting system, but rather is a comprehensive system that does have a learning curve. For Freelancers this is also a great way to integrate automation for sending out proposals, once returned then having it send the contract and invoice, etc. I would not necessarily recommend it to a Professional working from home unless the company is using the software.
- HoneyBook – is another system that is not know for accounting, but is becoming known as a CRM system with many additional options including some accounting capabilities for invoicing and more. For Freelancer this is also a good option to explore to combine tasks and help with your client attraction funnels. HoneyBook does not, however, have the learning curve that Dubsado has with it.
To find the tools that will work for you will mean actually trying some of them on for size to see if it compliments your style and the way you work. I have only touched the surface on all that is available to help you with your home based business. Perhaps we will do a follow up article in the near future but hopefully this will begin to get you started on the right path. Feel free to ask more questions. We love helping Professionals and Business Owners.
Thank you again for taking a moment of your day, I sincerely hope it was worth your time. Please be sure to see some of our other articles.
*Some of the products mentioned may contain affiliate links. This means that I may I get a small commission from your using or joining those products or programs. Any affiliates linked here are only because I, myself, have used them and believe in them. Please note, not all links are affiliate links.