Advertising

Here’s How To Run A Business From Home

Here’s How To Run A Business From Home
Advertising

Having a home-based business is a growing trend, but keeping it organized may be difficult for some. Each simple tip included in this blog post explores new and unique solutions to help business owners improve their business. The tips below will help you create a firm foundation for your business, while giving you proven information to help you plan and grow.

Being a business owner from home might not be easy, but it can be a very successful form of entrepreneurship. According to the Census Bureau, more than half of businesses in the United States are home-based. Some of the most recognized brands like Apple, Ford Motor Company, and Mary Kay Cosmetics all started as home-based businesses. Here are five tips that will help you develop, grow, maintain your business from home:

Advertising

1. Keep Work-Life Balanced with a Dynamic Working Environment

Creating the right working environment will be pivotal to your success as home-based entrepreneur. First, you should find a place that is quiet and separate from the living areas of your home, so that you aren’t distracted when working. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, turn it into your office. Make sure it is equipped with all of the tools, technology, and resources you will need to keep your business organized and efficient. Try to keep your work area as a place for work-related activities only.

Advertising

  • Plan time away from home. If you are an author, you might try spending time at a Starbuck or some place similar writing where you can sit comfortably. I like to schedule my time on Sunday afternoons and write for 3-6 hours.
  • Balance out your life by doing something that’s opposite of what you do in your business. If you are analytical in your business (i.e., programming, accounting), then do something creative in your downtime. For instance, I’m a web developer and in my downtime, I like to write paranormal romance novels.

2. Build a Stronger Business with a Virtual Assistant

Understanding that you can’t do everything on your own is one the most important lessons entrepreneurs must learn. Hiring a virtual assistant to help with tasks that need to be completed for your business can be very beneficial. VAs can be found using services like UpWork.com, which connects businesses with independent contractors. Delegate small to moderate tasks to your VA, so that you can focus your energy on accomplishing major objectives for your business.

Advertising

  • Create a list of team members that you will need to keep your business strong and that you are open to outsourcing some of your tasks to.
  • Use services like Freelancer.com or Upwork.com to find virtual team members. You can post jobs that would help your business grow. When you choose specific tasks that you want to outsource, you can assign them to your virtual team members.
  • If you choose to use Google Apps, set up generic email address such as support1@yourdomain.com so that you can reuse the email addresses in case you have a team member who needs to be replaced. Then you can just change the password for the new team member to use.

3. Stick to a schedule

Plan a work schedule that you can stick to. Try to start and end your day at the same time so that you can become accustomed to focusing strictly on getting work done for your business during those hours. Online tools like Google Calendar, Asana.com, and Teamwork.com can help you set deadlines for task and plan your work days. There are only so many hours in a day, so time management is a vital skill to grasp.

Advertising

  • Set business hours that work well with you keeping a work-life balance. When you have set hours, you, your team, and your clients will understand when you are available for business.
  • Keep your team members abreast of any changes in your schedule. Especially if you have a personal assistant, you can share your calendar with them. By keeping them in the loop about your changes, it will help them manage your calendar better.

4. Use tools that can help your grow your home-based business

There are many tools available to home-based business owners that can help your business run smoothly. One resource is The Small Business Administration (SBA), which offers business owners tools to help get businesses off the ground, including developing a business plan. Google is another resource that offers assistance to business owners. Below are a couple of the resources that can help you research your industry, and even connect with others via startup communities.

  • Check out the business plan building tool that the SBA offers to help you Build Your Business Plan. The SBA Business Plan Builder will help you map out your business step-by-step. In fact, the SBA will also teach you how to manage and grow your home-based business.
  • Use Think With Google (TWG) to do deep research for your specific industry. You will find that they can provide data research, trends analysis, forward-looking perspectives and behind-the-scenes looks at digital campaigns — across industries, platforms and audiences.
  • Checkout the startup communities provided by Google For Entrepreneurs website. Their focus is to create startup communities for entrepreneurs where they can learn and work.

5. Operate your business as a legal entity

According to the SBA, registering your business name is a key step to legally operating your business, and will allow you to receive certain aid from the government. Once you’ve established your business as a legal entity, you should be able to access any federal and state licenses and permits you will need to run your business. To learn about the law and regulations that may pertain to your business, visit the SBA’s website at sba.gov. These five tips will help you grow your business and keep you from being overwhelmed by your home-based business.

Advertising

More by this author

Kim Beasley

CEO/Business Visibility Strategist

common stereotypes 8 Common Stereotypes That Shouldn’t Exist Anymore 8 Powerful Quotes From Successful Introverted Entrepreneurs Small Business Saturday 3 Tips To Help You Target Your Ideal Customers For Small Business Saturday 5 Easy Ways Entrepreneurs Destress During the Holidays extrovert 5 Introversive Moments Of An Extrovert That You Might Not Realize

Trending in Entrepreneur

1 7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021 2 How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business 3 23 Tips for New Entrepreneurs to Get Your Business Underway 4 20 All-Time Best Entrepreneur Books to Make Your Business Successful 5 Why Mentoring Matters: A Guide on a Stellar Example for Employees

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
Advertising

During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

Advertising

Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

Advertising

6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

Advertising

Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

Advertising

13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next