For me today is a semi-sweet chocolate chip. Today is the first day of school for us. My youngest started his first day of pre-K . His sister is headed to 2nd grade and for the first time in many, many years, I am home alone during the days.
I'm so excited that they're excited (Nathan entered his classroom shouting, “I'm going to school.”) and yes, I'll miss them (and Nickelodeon, Disney & Cartoon Network) but I'm really excited that starting today, I'll have 6 hours of uninterrupted time to focus on my business.
My online business has allowed me to do things for my family that I might not have otherwise been able to with a traditional job and I'm so thankful to the people that introduced me to this opportunity. You can read more about them and my journey to working from home HERE.
So, while I have a quiet moment or two, I want to share some things that I know you'll need if you're thinking about starting your own online business.
Working from home doesn’t require a lot, but there are some things that you need to get started so you won't be wasting time or money.
This is just a basic list. Once you start growing you can add more things that will help you manage your business but don't start spending the money until you have it! 😀
Virtually every work at home business requires a computer because the majority of work at home opportunities are some type of online business or have an online component.
Even if your primary job doesn’t involve a computer, you’ll need one for record keeping, contacting clients and other things. Your computer needs to have functional USB ports, anti-virus protection and lots of memory space. If you don’t own a computer, you will need to get one. If you have family and friends who are knowledgeable about computers, ask them which brands are best and which features they like and dislike.
Do You Need a Desktop or a Laptop Computer?
One of the critical decisions you will have to face when looking for a computer is whether you need a desktop or a laptop. There are a lot of work at home moms who have both. Desktops generally have more memory and handle day-to-day tasks better, but laptops are great for various projects especially if you need to take it somewhere.
Laptops are much more flexible and can be used in any room of the house if you have a wireless router or an “air” card, which picks up internet from practically anywhere. When you use an “air” card, or wireless card, it will plug directly into the USB port on the laptop.
If you already have both~ great~ you have the ability to work on the go, when the kids are at their after school activities, or just because you want to get out of the house for a bit.
2. High-Speed Internet
When you’re working from home, you have to be mindful of your time. If you have dial-up internet (do they still have that?), you’re not going to be nearly as productive as you would if you had a high-speed internet connection. High-speed internet does cost a little more, but in the long run it’s well worth it.
3. A Work Space
Working from home is just like any other job in the fact that you have to have a dedicated place to work from. You may prefer to work at the kitchen table or from a big desk in your home office. It doesn’t really matter where your “work space” is as long as the rest of your family knows this is “your” space. Not only will you be more focused on work when you’re in a designated work space, but your family will instantly know when you’re working. I took over our formal dining room and added a desk for my desktop but I will also work from my couch, kitchen table or wherever we happen to be on vacation with my laptop.
My best guess is that you want to work from home for one of two reasons (or both). You want to 1) be home for your kids and 2) help out with the household budget.
If you have young children and you want to work from home so you can be close to them, I think that's awesome. My little ones were right beside me while I worked. It got easier as they got older and now, they're in school. However, working from home does take time and may require you to work during the day, which can be difficult if you are the primary caretaker of your children. You just have to prioritize and work when you can. The more effort you put into your business the faster it will grow.
It can be difficult to pay for childcare when you first start your work at home job, but if you have friends or relatives close by who can watch your children for a couple hours a few days a week, that would help out a lot. Plus, it’d be good for your kids to spend time away from you as well.
When your business takes off and you’re making a decent amount of money with it, you can look into Mother’s Helpers. These people don’t cost as much as babysitters do and they will come to your home. This can be a great thing because you and your children can both be at home. You can be working while the Mother’s Helper watches them in your house.
5. A Good Calendar & a Notebook
I'm a paper & pen gal so I have a 8×11 desk calendar with big squares I can write in on the monthly calendar but it also has weekly calendars with a bunch of space for me to record each day's detailed activities, if needed. I also use Google Calendar to help me manage my online stuff like when I have a post due, meetings, webinars, etc. It just helps to have something to keep you organized.
I suppose here is where I need to admit that I'm an office supply addict….
I have a bunch of notebooks that I use for ideas. I pick them up when schools supplies go on clearance and maybe even if I see a cute one while I'm out. I prefer the smaller 9×5 format but you use what you like. I also buy pretty, bold point pens and keep them near me so I can jot stuff down as it comes to me.
So, to recap – after you've chosen the online business you want to start you'll need:
- A Computer
- High-Speed Internet
- A Work Space
- Stuff to Keep Kids Busy/Childcare
- A Calendar & Notebooks
Do you start to see why making the choice to start an online business was smart on your part? Chances are that you've already got most of these things so let's get busy increasing your income.
What questions do you have about getting started in an online business? I'd really like to help you get on the right track by sharing some tips & tricks with you.