Up until the late 1990s most people only dreamed of working from home. Sure, there were creative folks that started homebased businesses, but the majority of people would build up their home business in their imagination while working their shifts outside of home.
With the explosion of technology, working from home came within reach for everyone. Companies found that allowing workers to telecommute increased productivity. Virtual assistants were just as important as an office manager. The growing influence of social networking has created even more jobs for people that know how to influence others.
Planning to work from home necessitates that the homebased worker be connected to their chosen profession at all times. It can be very hard working from home without the proper essentials. The things you need to have a successful at-home job has changed drastically in just the past few years. For instance, in 2010 it was important to have two phone lines, a fax machine, pre-paid credit cards for payments, and plenty of folders. Today’s at-home worker needs have changed.
Want to work at home in 2012 and beyond? Here’s what you will need:
Broadband internet: This is the most important service that you will need when conducting business from home. There are many ways to receive this service in your home office. Years ago you could use plain dial-up and still access the websites you needed in order to work. Today you absolutely must have high speed internet in order to utilize the internet to the fullest. Don’t go with the lowest priced plan, research the best broadband deals in your area by reading Broadband Genie’s comparison guide.
Broadband comes in DSL (runs off phone lines), cable (through your cable TV provider), satellite (bounces off orbiting satellites), and fiber optic lines (provided by some phone companies). Each has benefits and negatives. Do your research to find out who has the best service in your area. You want a service that will have as much uptime as possible. Remember – downtime is loss of business time.
Smart Phone: At one time it was enough to have two phone lines in your home or a cell phone. Not any longer! Smart phones are basically tiny handheld tablet computers that allow you to stay in touch with clients, send emails, check directions to meetings or deliveries, and keep track of appointments. A good smart phone is a replacement for a tablet on the go and a dayplanner. You can receive payments, accept credit cards, and so much more with a great phone.
PayPal Account: Without a doubt PayPal is the payment gateway of choice by most people that work from home. The services offered by PayPal are many – debit card, credit card, send/receive payments, checkout carts, and even full web stores. Payments are sent or received instantly around the world. There are some fees associated with PayPal, but the benefits are many. The company also reports earnings to the I.R.S. And will provide you with exportable files of your transactions.
Laptop: Sometimes a smart phone isn’t enough. While you can technically write articles, blog posts, and create seller listings with a phone, you will feel more comfortable at times with a full computer. Laptops are just as powerful as desktops and are portable. Almost all laptops or notebooks come with wifi cards standard. That means your office is wherever you are.
Website: Purchasing a domain, along with hosting is important for quite a few home workers. Depending on your service a website can give customers a place to review services, buy product, or view a virtual resume. Web sites are not very expensive unless the owner is not very tech savvy. Often web designers will barter their services, this can drastically drop the cost of a great design. Stay away from flashy designs – most customers prefer a clean, well laid out site they can easily navigate. Hosting can be purchased monthly or yearly. By paying for hosting in yearly installments the cost will be lower through some hosting companies. Yearly purchases may also include domain registration.
Don’t forget the little things, either. A comfortable office chair, pens, paper for notes, and a quiet place to work. All of these items will make life a little easier when working from home.
Joe Linford wrote this post for jobacle.com on behalf of Broadband Genie, the consumer focused price comparison site for broadband deals.