For years I equated success with my elaborate title as the Operations Director of a million dollar corporation and the salary that allowed me to lavish my kids with expensive gifts that were a substitute for my time. As a single mom of four I thought it was important for me to simply have a good salary. Weeks on the road, long hours at the office, average report cards, and thousands of dollars spent on childcare prompted me to re-prioritize my life to focus on what matters most -MY FAMILY. With an extensive set of administrative skills and background in management, I decided to swap my corner office for a home office where I would offer services virtually allowing more time with my family.
You don’t become a millionaire overnight but the opportunity to work from home and give my children the time they need is priceless. For those considering the transition I’ve come up with the 5 MUST HAVES for transitioning to your “Virtual” workspace:
- Dedicated Work Space – You must have a space that is solely used for working. You cannot have your client files sharing the kitchen table with your three-year olds PB & J during lunch time.
- A Good Chair - TRUST ME ON THIS ONE! Often during your “start-up” process to working virtually you will spend COUNTLESS hours sitting at your computer. Can you imagine sitting 10 hours a day in a wooden kitchen chair or a folding chair? I didn’t so! Invest in a chair that is not only comfortable to your “bottom” but has a good support for your back.
- Reliable Computer – This may seem like a no brainer so let me explain; your work computer shouldn’t be used by your eight year old to play angry bird and surf the web. One wrong click can cost you $100+ to remove a virus and cause you to lose data that is not backed up. Since your computer is the key factor in you working virtually, it should have minimally the following requirements: 2 GHz Processor Speed (this is the pace at which the machine functions), 80 Gigabytes Hard Drive (for storing programs, data, and files), CD/DVD, USB port, and Ethernet card.
- Business Telephone Number – You don’t want your new clients calling your home phone; nor do you want your cell number printed on a 1000 business cards. You can get a “virtual” number that you put on your marketing materials, you can send to a number of your choice. You can get a toll-free number or local number through Evoice for as little as 12.95 per month, and they are currently offering 6 months for free.
- Do Not Disturb Sign – This is probably one of the most important items! Although you are working from home it is important to let your family know when you are on a conference call, speaking with a potential client, or focused on a task. You don’t want your five-year old yelling for milk while you tell a potential client the benefits of your service. It will take some time for your family to fully comprehend what the sign means, but positive reinforcement always helps.
- This list is not set in stone. It is based upon my experiences, good and bad while I transitioned from corporate America to working from home. There is no wrong or right way to join the virtual workplace these MUST HAVES are simply to help you get the ball rolling. With that being said..are you ready for your first client?
About Author: Ronketi Brown is an entrepreneur, and business columnist. Ronketi is the owner of I Assist U, a virtual assisting company dedicated streamlining the administrative processes of Entrepreneurs around the globe. Ronketi also works one on one with Moms looking to transition from Corporate America to working from home. Visit www.IAssistU.biz for your FREE copy “How to Utilize Virtual Assistants”; Ronketi can be reached at Ronketi@iassistu.biz