10 Ways Solopreneurs Should Prepare for the Future of Remote Work
If you're a business owner who wants to thrive in the remote work environment now and in the future, use these tips.
Millions of Americans have adapted to pandemic-driven changes in the job market, and many decided to start their own businesses. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, about 5.2 million new business applications got filed between March 2020 and March 2021, which is 1.4 million more than the previous year over year.
Whether you're out of work or attracted to the advantages of self-employment, you might be thinking about starting a business. Be sure you're up to speed on the best ways to work remotely.
Use these 10 tips to communicate better with clients and colleagues, protect your finances, stay safe from online threats, use the right tools, cut expenses and be more productive in a remote work environment. They'll make you a better solopreneur now and in the future.
1. Set up a home office
Most solopreneurs can work from anywhere, but having a dedicated home office will help you maintain productivity, keep everything in one place, and potentially claim the home-office tax deduction.
If you don't have a spare room, you can create or customize a workspace. For example, can you finish an attic or garage or build a detached home office? This space should be a private area, so your pets and family members aren't overheard on conference calls.
2. Create or improve your website
Having a website is no longer optional for a business. Even if it's not your primary source of clients and revenue, a website gives you credibility, showcases your brand and communicates the products or services you offer.
You don't have to be a design pro or tech wizard to set up a website. Automated site builders, such as Squarespace and Wix, can help you create a clean, mobile-optimized site. Or you can hire someone to do the work and teach you how to make simple changes to the site when needed.
3. Leverage social media to make connections
A social media presence is another necessity for businesses these days. Having an account on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn establishes your credibility, makes it easy to engage with your target customer and develops a voice for your brand. You can also connect with colleagues worldwide and form mastermind groups for business brainstorming and growth.
4. Join trade organizations
A trade organization is usually a nonprofit that connects workers across the country or world within a specific industry. They may offer networking opportunities, training seminars and membership benefits, such as group health and life insurance. Joining one of these associations can help you stay up-to-date on your industry and connected to like-minded business owners, which is critical when you work remotely.
5. Boost your cybersecurity
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, reports of cybercrime increased 69% between 2019 and 2020. Remote work only increases the need for cybersecurity because home networks may be especially vulnerable. Installing (and updating) antivirus software, creating complex passwords, setting up multifactor authentication and using a virtual private network (VPN) are ways to stay secure online.
6. Use the best digital tools
Digital tools allow businesses to stay productive and communicative, even with teams spread across different states or countries. Here are some tools to consider using as your solo venture grows:
- Calendly and Acuity for calendar scheduling
- Zoom and GoToMeeting for video conferencing
- Asana, ClickUp, and Google Workspace for productivity and project management
- Semrush and Ahrefs for content keyword research
- QuickBooks, Gusto, and Wave for accounting and payroll software
- Keap and HoneyBook for client management
- Hootsuite and Canva for social media management
- Grammarly and WordTune for better communication
- Amazon Web Services and Dropbox for file storage and sharing
- Zencastr and Squadcast for creating audio and video podcasts
7. Add virtual events to your offering
The pandemic has had a massive impact on travel and people's willingness to meet face to face. If your business regularly holds in-person meetings or conferences, consider taking them online or adding a virtual option.
That may boost attendance and even your company's bottom line. In 2020, 84% of companies that hosted a virtual event said they saved money compared to an in-person event.
8. Get an insurance checkup
Running a business usually comes with some amount of risk. Having the right insurance helps you mitigate potential financial losses. Here are policies you may need to purchase, increase or expand to include your business activities.
- Homeowners insurance protects business equipment in your home office, up to a limit. You may need to add a rider if you see customers at your home or store business inventory.
- Business owner policy (BOP) allows you to bundle business-related coverages (such as liability and property damage) and customize the package based on your needs.
- Commercial auto insurance is essential if you or your employees use a vehicle for any business purpose.
- Professional liability insurance protects your business against the cost of lawsuits.
You can shop online for business insurance or speak with a licensed insurance broker or company representative.
9. Consider relocating to cut expenses
In a HireAHelper survey, 28% of respondents said they moved in 2020 because they started working from home and no longer needed to live close to their jobs. You might decide to apply the same logic to your situation.
If you aren't commuting to an office, relocating to a less expensive neighborhood, city or state could help you cut costs and increase your space. Plus, you can put more money toward critical goals such as building your business, saving for emergencies and retirement savings.
10. Check out co-working spaces
Your home office might be perfect for some of your business tasks but impractical for others, such as meeting with clients and hosting seminars. Having access to a co-working space, even for a few days a month, provides flexibility and may help you stay focused if your home is full of distractions. Plus, many co-working spaces host events where you can network with other professionals, socialize, and promote your products and services.
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