The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact across the globe for several reasons.
Thousands have died, and many have lost their jobs. While this has been a horrendous experience for people, the widespread adoption of a remote working model may present an opportunity. Now that remote work infrastructure is in place and proven to be effective and robust; many entrepreneurs are contemplating starting their own business from home.
Many of the world's most influential companies are these days 100% remote. WordPress, for example, is run by Automattic Inc, a company that is "distributed," or in other words, has all its employees working from home or from wherever they like.
Pin Down Your Business Idea
Many of us have ideas of starting our own business. Ideas are great, but they aren't always that concrete or specific. If you have several ideas or a general idea, it can help to join specific, relevant groups on Facebook and Reddit.com and see what kind of problems people are having and what types of questions they ask.
You can also get some ideas using websites such as Redditor.com and ExplodingTopics.com to get an idea of what different categories of people are discussing and what topics are gaining popularity and interest.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Once you have established a specific idea, don't be scared to ask communities such as Reddit groups what they think.
Pick a Business Name
Picking a business name can be a tricky business, especially if you want to make sure that you can buy the corresponding domain names. With this in mind, write down some of your ideas and check if the .com and .co.UK addresses are available by using a website such as
You can also check this government website to see if a business name has been incorporated in the UK.
You generally want to pick a name that's easy to understand and spell. Apple and Tesla are good business names, mainly because they are simple, easy to say, and easy to remember.
Along with your business name, you will also need a logo. Logos should be simple and also represent what it is you do. You can get a logo by using a local designer or agency by learning graphic design yourself, using an app or website such as Canva, or outsourcing via a website such as Fiverr or Upwork.
Have a Business Plan
Even if it's just a basic one, it's essential to have a business plan. This is especially true if you are applying for grants and government loans.
You can download a template online and fill in essential details related to your competitors, your selling points and propositions, and where you can fit into the marketplace.
You can do some research online by checking out competitors in the local area on Google Maps and looking at their reviews. Their reviews will help you to understand what shortcomings your competitors have.
If you are offering a service, it can also help check out freelance websites such as PeoplePerHour.com and job websites to see how much people are charging - and how many job openings there are. If there are dozens of jobs for web developers in your area, for example, that's a good indication that web development is a service in demand!
Use a Phone Answering Service
If you are working from home, you may not have the ideal environment for taking phone calls. This is especially true if you don't have a designated home office or happen to have particularly noisy neighbors - lawnmowers in the summer are always an issue if you have an outdoor office!
If this is the case, then a phone answering service or even a phone answering app can not only prevent any unwanted distributions, it can give your company a professional image. For all intents and purposes, a dedicated virtual receptionist will do the same job as a full-time receptionist based in an office.Moneypenny have great reviews and reputations as virtual receptionist providers. Alternatively, check out acousticalsolutions.com to soundproof your home office!
As well as ensuring that your favored domain names are available, you should also check the available social media account names. Although the terms of these are not quite so important, you will undoubtedly want to set up a Google, Facebook, Instagram, and probably a Twitter account for your business.
To begin with, it is best to set up an account with all of the major social networks, including Pinterest, Linkedin, and depending on your niche, you may want to consider creating an account for websites such as Tumblr and Reddit. Research what platforms your competitors use, and ideally, test each website yourself with a concerted effort of posting, replying, and engaging with each community.
Is remote working right for you?
Remote working isn't for everyone. Neither is self-employment. According to Forbes, many millennials are having a tough time transferring from the office to the virtual work environment.
Working from home can be hard. Communication, process, and culture are different when working remotely. Communication is critical, but you will likely feel less connected to colleagues and clients and may even feel less informed if you work from home.
If you are self-employed and a "solopreneur", these issues may not affect you so much. For example, whereas an employee may need to feel connected and see how their contribution impacts the greater good of the company, your profits and sales will pretty much speak for themselves when you are self-employed.
However, there can still be some issues with focus and interruptions. Noise-canceling headphones, a Pomodoro timer, and again, a phone answering service can help to minimize distractions. A Pomodoro timer splits your working day into 25-minute sprints, separated by small breaks, usually of 5 minutes. This reminds you to get up and have a drink or a quick stretch but also helps you to focus - most things, such as checking emails, can wait for 25 minutes.
Employee Tracking System
If you are paying employees or freelancers per hour, rather than per project, then you need a way to track their work.
Hubstaff is a piece of software that allows people to clock in and clock out. They can also record the work that they are doing. The unusual and yet perhaps key thing that Hubstaff does is that it randomly takes screenshots of what people are doing on their company computers.
Setting up a business from home is a great way to mitigate financial risk. If you combine remote working with outsourcing, a telephone answering service, a virtual PA, and the use of business apps and tools - you can do great things, all from your spare room!