These days, it’s possible to run your business from virtually anywhere. The concept of remote working has truly taken off, and more people than ever before are taking advantage of fast and ubiquitous internet plus powerful smartphones and portable notebooks to work from home, on the road, or even overseas.
But this is not just a lifestyle for freelancers and digital nomads—you could run your entire business this way if you wanted to. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
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Build Your Team Carefully
The first thing you will need to do is build up a solid team. Unless you run a micro-business or are working as a freelancer, you will probably need employees of some sort. This could be mainly comprised of full-time employees or freelance contractors, or a mixture of both.
It depends on your business, how large it will be, how much you can afford, and how much of the work you can do yourself. But if you are planning to do a lot of the work remotely with as little involvement as possible, a team of full-time or part-time employees is the best option.
Whatever your strategy, hire with care.
If you can meet people in person to carry out interviews, that’s great. There’s a chance you won’t be able to, in which case you should carry out video interviews. Make sure you have some contact with your potential employees. Don’t take their word for what they say over email or text—you need a proper conversation.
You are going to be putting a lot of trust in your team members. If you want to sit back and let them get on with things, you will need to trust them completely. You will save yourself a lot of hassle by spending time on the hiring process and finding the right people when you get started.
Invest in Project Management Software
Once you have your core team in place, you will want to set everything up in project management software.
Forget about emails—it’s too confusing to keep on top of everything via long email strings. You have plenty of options to choose from, with Trello, Asana, and Basecamp being three of the biggest. You could also set up chats on Slack.
Asana is simple and provides you with a good overview of everything. But you may have a personal preference. Whichever tool you choose, you will want to be able to check up on everything and find out which stage various tasks are at without getting involved unless you have to. You could follow the various tasks and chats, and only contribute if necessary.
Project management tools make it a lot easier to keep track of things and keep at a distance at the same time without the need for constant meetings and phone calls.
Invest in Crucial Tools
There are a number of tools you will need if you want to manage everything remotely, starting with a website. Choose a platform like WordPress that you can access from anywhere and make updates when you need to. You may also need tools for:
- Invoicing (e.g. Invoicely)
- Contracts (e.g. RightSignature)
- Managing your finances (e.g. Xero)
You might also want to set your team up with G Suite. This way, you can create documents and spreadsheets in the cloud, and everyone can access them and collaborate at the same time. It’s much easier than sending files back and forth.
Buy a Brand
Part of being remote is about getting you the maximum return for minimum input from yourself. With this in mind, another option worth considering is to buy a brand that has already been created. Building a brand is hard work, and if you really want to stay remote, you could simply buy an existing brand and take it over.
There are lots of brilliant existing brand’s out there for you to choose from. For instance, if technology and gadgets are your industry then there plenty of great electronic stores for sale. Some need a little redirection. Others just need to be taken over by a business leader with the sense of purpose to take them to the next level.
The benefit of going remote by taking over an existing brand is that it comes with resources. Your new brand may come with a team of employees, a marketing strategy already in place, and a good income stream. You could take this and then just tweak it to your specifications.
You do not have to visit networking events because you can now do it all online. Join forums, use LinkedIn, get involved in other social sites, join business forums, and be as active or inactive as you want. There is no need to meet in person if you don’t want to.
Develop an Online Marketing Strategy
Driving traffic to your website and generating sales will play a big role in how successful your business is. If you plan to take a remote outlook, your primary focus should be online marketing.
Most online marketing strategies can be carried out 100 percent remotely, from hiring an SEO agency to boost your organic traffic, to hiring a social media expert to engage your audience and drive traffic and sales from social platforms.
Automate as Much as Possible
Automation allows modern business owners to get a lot done with very little input. Look at email marketing: You could set up an email list, drive traffic, sign people up, and send out six months’ worth of emails without lifting a finger.
That’s just one example, and there are many other ways you can automate. For example, you could also automate your AdWords campaign. Once it is set up and you have done the hard work, you could just leave it on auto to generate leads.
Automating as much as possible will save you time and money. Of course, some tasks require your involvement, but when you can automate, it’s a great way to save time.
It’s easier than ever to launch and manage a business remotely. It’s not for everyone, but if you want to own a business and grow it while keeping out of the way as much as possible, it is more possible today than it’s ever been before.
Start putting a plan together. Decide what type of business you will launch, or start looking for brands you can buy to get a head start. Then invest in the right tools, and you could soon be running your own business from anywhere.
This article was contributed by Patrick Foster, eCommerce Consultant at Ecommerce Tips.
About the author
Patrick Foster wields more than his fair share of credentials when it comes to the world of ecommerce. Having cut his teeth in the business world early on — his first business was a lemonade stand in his front yard — he moved into the world of ecommerce in his late teens.
After several years as both a solopreneur and as a consultant to fellow ecommerce entrepreneurs, Patrick’s sole focus now is his online resource and community hub, Ecommerce Tips. Here, he shares his years of experience on everything ecommerce. Patrick has built, designed, marketed, and sold dozens of businesses in his time, ranging from electronics stores to pet shops. Consequently, he is perfectly placed to provide hard-won expertise that is valuable and actionable.
Patrick is born and bred in New York and lives with his wife, two kids, and three demanding dogs.