The pandemic changed our attitude toward a lot of things, including the typical 9-to-5 office life. Many professionals reconfigured their lives around working their jobs from home. Others quit their corporate jobs entirely to pursue their own online business. In December 2021 alone, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs just in the US.
Maybe you want to start your own online business, or you just want to transition to doing more remote work. There are a few points to consider that will help you gain clarity and define your entrepreneurial goals.
Please note: This is a contributed post, but all opinions are my own. View full disclosure policy.
Decide if Starting a Business is What You Actually Want
You don’t need to start a business to transition into a fully remote job. If your main goal is just to ditch going to an office, there are other options.
For example, you might consider asking your current employer if there are remote or hybrid work opportunities available. Even before the pandemic, several employers allowed this to accommodate employees with long commutes. But current estimates predict a quarter of the US workforce will be working remotely through 2025.
Another option is to become a freelancer. It’s hard to have a predictable monthly income with freelancing, so some people choose freelance work as their side hustle. However, if you are looking to enjoy the best work-life balance and maximum flexibility with total autonomy over your schedule and workload, this is your best alternative.
Launching a fully remote business, such as an eCommerce platform, offers the same autonomy as freelancing. But with a solid business plan in place, you can turn your skill and passion into a full-time source of income.
Define Your Brand, Business Values, and Offers
While you’re drafting your business plan, there are other important aspects you need to define.
- Brand identity: You might already have a name and logo. But your brand is more than that; it’s the visual impression you make on customers and the voice that carries your message.
- Business values. Clients, customers, and collaborators want to partner with businesses with similar values. Establishing the core values of how you run your business — and putting them on display for your audience to read — is a good way to build trust with your audience.
- Product/Service offers. To be a business, you need to sell something. But don’t stop with the basic idea of what you want to sell. Create a buyer persona, define your target audience, and be clear about the need your product or service meets.
Design a Dedicated Home Office Space
Deciding to start your own online business or transitioning to a freelancing life involves drastic lifestyle changes. In the beginning, it’s normal to struggle to find balance and establish boundaries between “home life” and “work life” when they’re under the same roof.
The first step is to establish a home office space. It doesn’t have to be a whole room; you can create the perfect home office even with limited space. Just make sure your space is geared toward your productivity. Avoid busier spaces where other people might go in and out while you work. Choose decorations that inspire rather than distract you.
Establish Boundaries – And a Daily Routine
When starting to work online, it can be hard to separate your professional and personal life. Sometimes the demands of your home life can take priority, causing you to lose work time. Or you might go the other direction and forget to take breaks or take a day off. However, this can quickly lead to burnout. You can avoid this by structuring your days around a routine that makes the most of your creative power.
Don’t forget to be patient with yourself! When it comes down to creating an entire routine from scratch, you might need to undergo some trial and error. However, once you have found the perfect rhythm for you, you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of rest, family time, high productivity levels, and a low-stress life!
You Can Wear Many Hats – But Outsourcing Has Its Benefits
A common misconception about running your own online business is that you have to do every job yourself. Many people do, either because they want to or financial constraints prevent them from hiring help. If there’s an aspect you struggle with handling alone, consider bringing in an expert.
Take marketing as an example. It’s hard to reach your sales goals without reaching out to the right audience. While social media and online platforms have made it easier for small business owners to market themselves, it is a full-time job by itself. Outsourcing the expertise of a professional and working with a marketing agency can help you significantly increase the visibility of your company and reel in greater returns. And the less time you spend muddling through tasks that drain your energy, the more time you have for the parts of your business you enjoy.
Be Patient and Focus on Self-Care
Starting a business online can be stressful. Self-care for the small business owner can look like reducing your availability to new clients so you have more energy. It can also look like signing up for coaching to deal with mindset issues and get support.
Owning a business is hard work, even if it’s based on doing something you love. Blocking out days off and vacations ahead of time can help keep your mental wellbeing a priority. You can also set up days to focus on professional development to keep honing your skills.