Running a successful online business from home is not the easiest thing to do. However, if you have entrepreneurial interests and you like to run your own business, home is often where you will start out.
If you're tired of being micromanaged at the office every day, then working for yourself is the best solution. The problem is often that running a business from home blurs the line between business and personal life. It can make things a little messy when trying to differentiate between the two.
When you run your business from home, you're likely to face some obstacles, whether it's working with children in the house or effectively managing your time. The good news? Running an online business doesn't have to be an overly complicated, rigid thing. But if you want your business to be a tangible revenue model, then you need to be both practical and professional.
Use these tips to help you run a successful online business from home!
1. Always Have a Plan
A major benefit of running an online business is the flexibility it provides. But, you have to be careful! It can be really easy to fall down the rabbit hole of procrastination, wasting your day on activities that are really not that important.
Having a plan is absolutely essential because it puts you in a work mindset, helps you stay productive, and lets people know when they can reach you. In addition to setting daily office hours, plan out when you will complete certain tasks. Working with a scheduling app or calendar is super helpful. Block off time for various projects for each day, and try to plan your schedule in advance so there's no wasted time once you sit down to work.
2. Develop Internal Processes
For your online business to run smoothly, you need to have internal processes in place. Taking the time to develop them now will help you prepare for future growth, and ensure a good client or customer experience.
Bonus points if you can automate some behind-the-scene tasks. Certain tasks, such as follow-up emails or client onboarding, can be automated using a free tool like Zapier.
Develop processes and systems for:
- Booking appointments
- Client onboarding and offboarding
- Email templates
- Proposals and contracts
- Bookkeeping and taxes
- Marketing and social media
As time goes on and you get more clients and freelance writing experience, you'll likely find yourself having to refine these processes. Remember to be flexible and fine-tune things as you go.
3. Take Advantage of Online Tools & Services
The great thing about running an online business from your home is that you don't have to invest hundreds of dollars in renting office space. However, your business may benefit from some brick-and-mortar features, such as a business phone number or mailing address. Luckily, there are online tools and services that provide a workaround, such as the ones below.
- Use Google Voice to create a phone number for your business instead of adding a line to your phone plan. Plans start at just $10/month.
- Set up a virtual office through physicaladdress.com, which provides an address for your business.
- Rent a P.O. Box from USPS. You can usually rent a box for pretty cheap depending on where you live.
Other online business tools to consider:
- Accounting software for invoicing and tracking transactions. My favorite is Freshbooks but WaveApps is an awesome free alternative.
- HelloSign for signing contracts and other documents.
- Calendly or Acuity Scheduling for appointment management.
Check out the resources library for some more of the best tools for freelancers and online business owners.
4. Outsource Tasks
As a freelancer or online business owner, time is finite. There are only so many hours in a day, and getting everything done can start to feel impossible. One way to beat burnout as an online business owner is to outsource various tasks.
Outsourcing tasks to qualified professionals takes them off of your plate and lets you focus on the money-making aspects of your business. It also benefits you because you can hire an expert to take care of the tasks that you're not as skilled at.
Need to redesign your website? Consider employing an outsourced company to help you with your website.
Not great at marketing? Hire a freelance digital ad manager.
Struggling to stay on top of your mile-long to do list? Hire a virtual assistant to tackle the low-hanging fruit.
5. Invest in Your Brand
If you want your work-from-home business to look good, then you need to invest in your brand. That means having a well-designed website, logo, email signature, etc. The more professional your brand looks, the more credibility your business has.
Once you have your branding squared away, it's time to think about marketing.
Marketing a freelance or online business is a challenge, and it always will be — especially when you are introducing a product or service to new customers. While marketing on a shoestring budget can be difficult, it's not impossible. Be willing to test different channels and make adjustments along the way.
It's also helpful to get insights from marketing experts. Some great books to check out include One Million Followers by Brendan Kane, Get Scrappy by Nick Westergaard, and Content Inc by Joe Pulizzi. Neil Patel and Moz are also excellent resources for learning the basics of SEO.
There you have it; 5 tips to run a successful online business. If you found this article helpful, you may also enjoy this guide on how to make your online business grow faster and these tips on earning a consistent income online.