You are probably wondering what running a home office and being ready for a zombie apocalypse have in common? Read on and I will explain it.
When it comes to creating a successful home office, it takes a lot of separation, motivation and goal setting. I run my business from a home office, as previous posts have explained, it works best with my type of work, office times and family life. I wouldn’t change it for the world but it was never going to be easy.
To make my office life successful, there had to be a degree of separation. Separation from family interaction, online distractions and noise. To do this, I created an office from an unused bedroom space. It has a door I can keep closed, a window that opens to a nice view and a work space that inspires motivation. Motivation is a biggie too, especially if you are also running your own business.
When you work for an employee, you have your tasks to do, and also someone to answer to whether you get them done or not. When you work for yourself, well, sometimes it is easy to relax a bit too much. Of course there is benefits of working for yourself, but relaxing on project deadlines and scheduling cannot be one of them.
This is where goal setting comes into it. My business takes on projects as well as regular work. The projects consist of website design and development and advertising design. The regular work consists mainly of social media content creation and scheduling, checking brand reputations and advertising progress. There are lots of reports to look through, especially for traffic analytics, SEO and online advertising campaigns.
I find it best to treat every week like a new journey. An itinerary works best in this case.
Create a list of projects, meetings and deadlines, as well as calendar appointments for new goals. We can then schedule this in to time and day order on our itinerary. This is a great place to start when planning the week. Of course, there is not a week that goes by where I do not amend or add to this list.
Scheduling time is super important, especially in a home business, or internet business, as we don’t always work the usual business hours. I find what works for me is 3 main zones in the day. I wake up at 5am to get in 2-3 hours of solid work. I try not to look at my emails at this time either as it creates that D word – DISTRACTION. This goes for Facebook too!
I then take a break to spend the morning with my boys and my princess. Having brekky together and getting my boys organised for the day. This also makes me eat properly, another thing that you can lose track of when working from home.
I then get back into the day from around 10am through to about 3pm. This is where I usually have to deal with school pick up and other family commitments. Now depending on the day, and how much I got into those 7-8 hours, as well as project deadlines and workload, I then decide whether I need to add the extra hours in the evening. If I do, then I usually do this after dinner and when my boys go to bed. This gives me a few good hours in silence to finish work off or prepare for the next morning.
Motivation for me comes from wanting to keep my lifestyle I have created, as well as the need to build up the bank balance. Of course, this is not something to think about during work times, so to distract my thoughts I use music. I usually either have Spotify or iTunes streaming on my workstation. I have three computers in the office – PC Server, 27 inch iMac and Alienware 17 inch laptop. They each have their duties, and for this task, I utilise the extra computing power my server has in reserve to play music in the background. I can then use my laptop for my workload.
The early morning starts were hard at first while my body adjusted to the crazy hour to wake up at, but now after several months of doing so, I find I wake up without an alarm.
As I usually have two boys and my princess asleep, I try to be super quiet when getting up and ready for my day. This is where Zombie Apocalypse training comes in to it.
Our bedrooms are on one end of the house, at the end of a long hallway. To tackle this battlezone of noises, I use the following tactics: socks and stealthy ninja moves. Having just woken up, this is sometimes harder than it sounds, trust me!
I might also mention at this point my rabbit training of eating lots of carrots and not turning on the lights. To coincide with my stealthy ninja moves, I usually try to keep all the lights off. This just makes navigating that little more difficult, but I love the challenge. My thinking is that this is good training for my eyes and other sensory devices.
Now I’ve got to the right end of the hallway it is time to get the blood ready. My blood that is. It craves caffeine!
The kitchen presents it’s own battleground with so many things to knock, bang or drop. Some mornings just turn to chaos. I will admit it, sometimes I haven’t even braved the kitchen till after the boys wake up.
The biggest killer is noise. The amount of doors that need to be opened and closed and lights needing to be on but only after doors are closed, and then ensuring the noise of my computer cooling fans is the loudest thing in the room. All I can say is lucky that my morning ninja training has paid off. My family often don’t even realise I have been up for so many hours.
Now when it comes to working for long periods in my office, I find it best to set the room temperature slightly below what I am comfortable at. Am I crazy??!? Maybe, but I find working out of my temperature comfort zone keeps me alert and also keeps my body working hard to maintain my body temperature. I feel that if we are always in our comfort zones, our bodies get lazy.
A con about working from home is sometimes you can forget to eat properly. I usually get a ‘friendly’ reminder from my Herbalife princess that I haven’t eaten yet (I just got one then as I was writing this!) but have gotten better. The important thing here is eat right. On days without meetings where I usually start the day off working in my pyjamas, it can be too easy to be lazy and snack on high calorie foods like chip packets. This is not good, for both your health and your work.
Both my partner and I work from home and have worked out that preparation of snacks such as carrots and celery sticks, fruit and nuts and creative shakes is what works best. It must be working as I have also managed to feel healthier and lose 13kg off my body weight.
Combine my ninja moves, stealthy house movements and in the dark navigation along with my cold office space and healthy eating, I find my day becomes very productive for both my business and my overall health. It also means I am that one step closer to being ready for a zombie apocalypse!
Now there are two more things that help me to work successfully from a home office – podcasts and princesses.
Not actually princesses, just one. My partner has always supported what I do, and this helps so much. Not only knowing she supports what I am doing and my lifestyle, but also when I need to run something past someone. Working from home can often leave people isolated as they do not have work colleagues around them constantly. This is where having someone else in the house helps. Not always essential, but I truly believe this has helped me.
Podcasts are a great way to replace music in the office. I usually use music on projects where I need to focus on wording and content, whilst a podcast from the greats like Shawn Stevenson, Jill and Josh Stanton and Pat Flynn helps create motivation, positivity and tips for progress. As I listen to them though, I often find myself focusing on what they are saying so it can be difficult when typing up content. Do you listen to any podcasts? Let me know what you recommend, I always love expanding my podcast list.
So there you have it, my take on working from home and how I manage to keep it positive and productive. What tips have you got? Be sure to share them below.
I am hearing more and more about digital entrepreneurs, affiliate marketeers and successful individuals and couples living the “laptop lifestyle”. Some use the tagline “the new rich” whilst others just create their own title like freedompreneur, travelblogger or lifestyle affiliate.
Whatever you choose to call them, they have taken advantage of the new ways to create an income that does not need a set physical address. The beauty of this being that it allows you to earn an income whilst travelling or even on the side of your normal everyday job. Sounds too good to be true, is it?
For many, the answer to this is yes. With the amount of hype around this new found phenomena, and big results being shown off across the net, many people are taking the leap towards financial freedom. Many engage in online courses or webinars that promise this new lifestyle. Unfortunately, an increasing amount of these “courses” that promise the new rich lifestyle of travelling and enjoying life are simply big pyramid schemes. The person who signs up more people, whose signups then sign up more people, is the winner as he or she gets commissions or royalties from all signup sales. I have seen courses range from a one off $49 to an ongoing $499 per month. Big money to outlay when a lot of the time the opportunity is not creating an income stream.
So how do you make money online?
There are many ways to create an online lifestyle, and no, they are not all network marketing or pyramid schemes.
Let’s start with the one off profits, the methods that bring an income from sale of a product.
When you sign up as an affiliate for a product or service, you are becoming a salesperson or representative basically. You have a unique code/web address to the product or shop site that you can share through ads, blog posts or email. When people like your sales pitch, click on your link and end up purchasing the product, you will get a certain percentage of the sale or a commission. For bloggers who already are writing about products and services, this is a great way to add moneytisation to your blog, just by customising the links you have to the products.
Of course, this can become an ongoing stream of revenue when we look at subscription models. Many affiliate programs include an ongoing commission of sale as their product or service is paid for monthly. Shopify is an example of this. Check out the link I have put on the word Shopify. You will see the reference at the end of the URL. This is reference to my Shopify account. When people click on this to visit the Shopify site, and then sign up, I receive a commission of the sale. This is great for me as I was already a Shopify partner creating shops for clients, but now, this link also allows me to get commissions on sales to people who wanted to do the shop themselves. Along with my partner payments, I can now get this little bonus too without doing too much extra.
Selling products without actually having the product is either fraud, or dropshipping. Dropshipping is totally legitimate and legal and has been going on even before it was given the title dropshipping. Many of the listings you now see on eBay are from dropship suppliers. What this means is that the seller does not have stock of the product. Not even on order. No warehouse. Nothing.
When you buy the product from them, they send the order through to the manufacturer or distributor who then packs and ships the product directly to you. It’s a win-win situation. The seller gets the profit margin between the cost of the product and the price they sell it for. The distributor or manufacturer is selling their product without having to market their product. This is why we are seeing so many more cheaper imported products on sites like eBay. The profit margin can be greatly increased, unfortunately, as many sellers don’t ever meet the manufacturer or even test the product themselves, quality control can be lost.
What about passive income streams?
Making a little money from a few one off sales is great, and if we keep doing this, we might make a pretty decent addition to our income. Now, what if we could get the sale of a bigger, more niche product that has a subscription model? The advantage of this would be that once setup right, and your sales pitch and technique is getting customers in, they can signup to the program/service subscription. You will then start getting a monthly commission from this. Why is this better? Lets break it down.
You spend money setting up your website to create your sales funnel. This is where we need to perfect our sales story and build a need for the product. This sales funnel leads to a signup for the product. This might cost lets say $500. Now we need traffic to the site. We might look at using social media to get the word out there. What gets more clicks? Free stuff! This is where we can offer something like a FREE ebook or webinar by signing up now. This might bring traffic to your site and hopefully get you that end sale.
We could also invest in online advertising to create traffic to our sales funnel. If we say that of all the people that visit the site, 2% convert, they sign up to the product and alls good. We can take two things from this. What about the other 98% and How can I increase that 2%.
Firstly, the other 98% are obviously interested in the product, but didn’t go all the way through the sign up/sales process. This is where retargeted advertising can help. You know the ones! They store a cookie on your computer so they know you visited that site, and next minute, you are seeing personalised ads about the product… everywhere! They seem to follow you around the web. Thank you Google, AdRoll and Facebook! This might help get 40% extra back who just needed that little push to signup.
Secondly, how do we increase that 2%. The short answer… you don’t have to. Even if that convert percentage was higher, it all depends on the traffic coming into your sales funnel. If 1000 people visit, the 2% signup would be 20 people. Now if we get more traffic, lets say 10,000 people, then your 2% is now 200 signups!
The best thing about all of this? Once you have the perfect sales page, landing page, squeeze page or whatever you like to call it, you just need to focus on building the traffic up. Now back to these travelling entrepreneurs. The advantage of setting up a system like this is that you can manage it from your laptop anywhere there is internet. Now doesn’t this change the playing field!?! You can do what you love, whether it be travelling or moving to somewhere you always wanted, and not worry about anything apart from internet access. Noice!
This is the tricky part. There are sooooo many products and programs to choose from. Sites like ShareASale and Clickbank have a plethora to choose from. My recommendation would be to stick to what you know. Check out your favourite products and see if they offer an affiliate program, this way you know what you are selling, and you can get paid for talking it up.
Many online entrepreneurs are getting into reselling the actual lifestyle they are living. Digital nomads and marketers are creating programs that show off their lifestyle of travel and freedom and promise to show you how they did it. They usually require you to sign up before you can watch their videos and learn their secrets. You then get access to selling what they just sold you. If you are at the top of this sales pyramid, you could actually be doing nothing and still bringing in an income. Like all network marketing, the more people you sign up under your level, the more income you get as a commission of sale. Now can you see why this has become so popular?
How to get started.
So you have decided you should find out more about all this stuff, where to start?
Research! And plenty of it. If you are planning on selling products or affiliate marketing, research your audience, what they are buying and at what price. Can you compete?
There are lots of online tools to help you with research, be sure to check out Terapeak for market research, as well as Google’s keyword research tool to check your competition. Note you will need a Google AdWords account to use the free Google Research tool.
After that it’s all about getting traffic and sharing your story. I can definitely help you get started here as branding and websites is our thing! We can also look after setup of social media pages and email marketing. Too easy!
If you wanted to chat more about getting started and options for a laptop lifestyle, be sure to book a FREE consultation using the contact form on this website. I will be more than happy to talk to you about how to create your first affiliate website, building traffic and creating sales leads. My business has helped many startups and entrepreneurs build up their web presence, will you be next?
There is a saying that keeps popping up in my life….
YOU CAN GO TO WORK, OR YOU CAN BE THE BOSS
Having always worked for someone since I left school those many years ago, the idea of running my own business was super daunting, and not something I believed I wanted to do at the start.
As I progressed into management roles and learnt how small and medium business worked, I found myself inspired to get in on this whole business owner thing. Nothing happened for a while as I had a good job and a family that depended on me. Of course, life’s rollercoaster has it’s ups and downs and paths you never even imagined.
In 2009 I started my own business. A computer tech support business that looked after home users and small business clients. This rose from my helpdesk background and the constant flow of jobs from mates and family (yep, you know the ones!).
Whilst things were going great working my new business on the side of my job, I saw opportunity to grow it even bigger. Could this become my full time job/career?
Fast forward 5 years and my business has developed from offering that original tech support role to looking after small business owners and entrepreneurs creating awesome web stuff: social media pages and content, adverts, websites and landing pages, logos and more. And I do this full time!
I am very passionate about my business as a lot of you may know. I have tried to stay true to my origins of being a bit of a tech head, hence my own sites and content are usually not as “arty” as some other marketing agencies, but I think that makes my brand different.
To build my business up on the side of my regular day job, I resorted to social media for creating my brand.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS EVIL YET OH SO GOOOOD!!!
Over the past few years, I have come across many get rich quick and join the new rich schemes. I call them schemes because so many of them seem to offer huge rewards with minimal work. I CALL BULLSHIT! If you want a business that is here for the long run and brings consistent income, you need to work hard. Bottom line. If it was as easy as copying and pasting the perfect business model and renaming it, everyone would have done it…. oh wait, everyone is trying to do it.
Yes, there are those that are raking in the big bucks, but this usually comes down to making a commission on conning someone else into selling this business model, the actual product is the business model. Hmmm…..
Social media has a lot to answer for in some ways, with many people creating a profile that looks amazing on the outside, but represents nothing about their true self. Maybe that is the beauty of the internet. Anyway, I stray from my point. Social Media gave me an opportunity to create my brand online. It was something I could share ideas and articles on and create the brand awareness I needed to build my business with.
We still get at least 80% of our client referrals from social media in some way or form. Combine this with leads created from Google search generated website traffic and I had created a lead generating machine. The fact that I could utilise Google and Facebook ads to find customers who were actually looking for someone like me amazed me, and still does. This is what the internet was for. If it isn’t matching couples up for dates, it is connecting business owners with their target audience. #LongLiveTheInternet
Create a Niche baby!
In developing my business, I found that whilst I tried to offer and take on everything, this actually killed my business, both in time and reputation. I didn’t want to be a one man jack of all trades, master of none. It was time to get specific. Time the NICHE WAS CREATED! (cue amazing music.. ta da!).
When my partner and I started looking through my client list, the work I was getting more of, (and what seemed to get the most return business) was for entrepreneurs and startups. Yep, so many people were trudging down the same path as me, creating that on the side business model and dreaming of going big. Many of them would come to me when they had decided their business was viable, enjoyable and would benefit from getting a whole heap busier!
Enter the Small Business Brand Marketing model. We decided to not let this information sit uselessly on my desk. We put into place a new business plan and product offerings. Although we still take on the occasional server and network setup jobs, we now focus on offering total startup solutions from logo designs and stationary to all your marketing needs including websites, social media, online advertising and offline print marketing. With my partner Brydie being the graphic design guru, it was the perfect model for us to take on.
Dreaming of a Better Life…..
I must also put it out there, that I had a reason to push this so much. I had a goal. A want. A need!
My family is everything to me, my two boys and beautiful soulmate. If my business could work around family appointments, school events and emergencies, that would be the bomb! By becoming my own boss, I have created that flexibility, and working in the realm of website and online advert creating, it allows me to stagger my working hours into early or late hours of the day. Some days I find myself plugging away at the keyboard at 2 or 3am in the morning. By the way, this is the best time to work online! Super fast internet, no phone calls and beautiful night time serenity.
And here I am, Look at me now!
It doesn’t seem like it has been 6 years but when I look back at how I got here I can see why it took so long. There was a lot of trial and error along the ride, and jobs I took on due to insecurities I wish I hadn’t. Now that I am working in my perfect role, I get great satisfaction in telling others how I got here, how I tried to always remember that big picture, and what tools I used to help me along the way.
A Goal is a Dream with A Deadline.
Along with my business team at Xmedia Digital Solutions, I now help other small business owners create their business dreams and reach their goals of more clients, returning business and monthly revenue. I have escaped that 9 to 5 rat race I thought I loved at first, but now don’t miss at all.
There have been people that have inspired me along the way, both with business ideas, motivation and personal development. I’d definitely check out the following guys.