In the not-too-distant past, working remotely was something of an inaccessible dream for many people. The international COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed things, and all businesses, across a wide range of industries, have had to come to terms with remote working.
Huge numbers of people who would previously commute to the office every day, have now been working remotely for an extended period of time – or at least, working according to a hybrid model.
This time period has also motivated many people to take things a step further and to work on creating their own businesses from home.
Digital entrepreneurship of various types has been growing significantly over the past several years, filled with the dreams of becoming a “Digital Nomad”.
Today there are a huge range of different options available for anyone who wants to start up their own business from home and run it primarily remotely – at least in the early stages of the business. What’s more, running a primarily remote and web-based business seems to offer a heightened degree of stability and personal autonomy in a professional and social landscape which is looking clearly unstable in a number of different ways.
But remote entrepreneurship doesn’t come without its particular challenges and hurdles.
Here are a few essential tips for remote entrepreneurs to keep in mind, in order to ensure that they can perform to the best of their abilities, maintain balance and clarity, and get their start-up ventures off to a good beginning.
Make sure that your office space is professionally set up and serves to optimize productivity and focus
First things first: the office space that you work out of as a remote entrepreneur is going to be of the utmost importance in a number of different ways.
It’s already quite a well-established thing that, in a professional context, having a sleek, sophisticated, and well-managed office environment can be a real asset when it comes to boosting productivity, helping facilitate good communication, and more. It is largely for these reasons that office space for distributed teams is frequently sought after on a rental basis.
Ultimately, maintaining an orderly and professional workspace that is distinctly set apart from the rest of your home, can help to put you into a state of focus and a mindset of professionalism, particularly in those moments when you find yourself otherwise feeling demotivated, and prone to distraction.
A professional office space can also help to ensure that you make a better impression when attending virtual meetings, not to mention being less likely to be exposed to distractions or interruptions when dealing with important professional calls, or when trying to make headway on specific tasks or projects.
In addition to all these factors, having a professional and well-organized office space can also mean that you find it easier to avoid distractions in a more general sense, and to find documents, tools, and other items which will be useful in the completion of your professional tasks.
A significant number of new home-based entrepreneurs, however, make the mistake of adopting a too-casual approach to work, often trying to be productive with nothing but a laptop, while sitting on the sofa, or reclining in bed.
Although the freedom of working from home and being your own boss can seem intoxicating, however, these kinds of overly relaxed approaches to work are quite likely to end up blurring the lines between your personal and your professional life, reducing your sense of focus and professional willpower, and to cause a number of other negative side-effects.
Carefully select your tools, apps and programs in order to reduce distractions and enhance clarity
For anyone who strives to be productive in any context, distraction is one of the major issues that always has to be watched out for and dealt with.
In a traditional office environment, however, your tendency to be distracted and to end up procrastinating is likely to be put in check to a significant degree by your supervisors and team members, who will hold you accountable purely by being in the vicinity and keeping an eye on what you are up to.
When you are working entirely remotely from home, however, and especially when you are your own boss and are not directly accountable to any managers or team members, distraction can become a severe issue which can easily end up sabotaging your business as a whole, and your ability to be productive in general.
One great idea for remote entrepreneurs who are looking to counteract this tendency, is to carefully select the tools, apps, and programs they use in order to specifically select those that help to enhance focus and a sense of clarity, and to reduce the tendency to be distracted.
This might mean using a specific dedicated website blocker, such as Freedom, or it might simply mean using word processor tools that make it easier to catalogue your projects and jump straight into a given task without having to navigate a complex file structure.
Maintain good lines of communication with anyone you work with, and aim to have at least a video call on a regular basis
For most entrepreneurs – even those at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey – they will typically interact with at least a small handful of people on a professional basis, whether those people are freelancers and contractors who they have an ongoing professional relationship with, or whether they are contractors or business partners who live some distance away.
Direct face-to-face communication is extremely beneficial when it comes to allowing people to properly come to agreements and to maintain a clear sense of purpose, and understanding of one another. When working primarily remotely, however, and especially with global events such as the pandemic still having an effect, different approaches will tend to be required.
Nonetheless, ensure that you do what you can to maintain good lines of communication with everyone you work with, ideally including at least a video call on a regular basis – as this will tend to allow for significantly more efficient communication and rapport than simply emailing back and forth, or using messaging apps.
Get dressed each day as if you were going to the office
Just as the risk of procrastination and distraction are significantly more prevalent when you are running your own business and working remotely, so too can it be significantly trickier to maintain what could be called a good daily “professional routine.”
If you’re working from home in particular, you may find yourself tending to stay in your pajamas until noon, or to just wear a T-shirt and a tracksuit when grinding away on projects.
Treating your day as if you were an entrepreneur in the conventional sense, going to your own office building somewhere and having to interact with employees and customers, however, has real benefits – and one of the most direct and straightforward ways of achieving some of these benefits is by simply getting dressed each morning in professional attire.
Our clothes – much like the layout and structure of our working environment – have a significant impact on how motivated we feel, and on the way we perceive ourselves – even on a relatively subtle psychological level.
If you get dressed each day as if you’re going to the office, you are likely to find that you feel significantly more driven and focused, and that you are performing to a significantly higher professional standard at the same time.
Simplify wherever possible
Running a business is naturally a complex endeavour, and a failure to properly manage and mitigate that complexity is one thing that overwhelms many entrepreneurs and makes them ineffective while they try to handle their assorted professional tasks.
Making a point of looking for ways to simplify wherever possible – whether by paring down the number of tasks and projects you pursue at any given moment, or by changing the structure of your professional timetable to allow more blocks of undisturbed time that can then be allocated to particular projects – can be very helpful.
Always be on the lookout for new and more sophisticated ways to communicate with, and market to, your audience
Marketing is one of the core areas in which every business needs to find ways to excel, because no matter how good or sophisticated your product or service is, if you can’t communicate the benefits of that product or service to a wide range of people in a convincing manner, your business is unlikely to thrive.
The core of marketing is, essentially, memorable, sophisticated, and effective communication with a given audience of prospective customers.
Anything you can do to ensure that you communicate more effectively with your audience can be invaluable for your business – and particularly when operating primarily through the web, it’s important to grab people’s attention quickly and efficiently.