Work. Ugh. Who in their right mind likes to get up from some perfectly good dream about Scarlett Johansson, and then spend an hour commuting to a job with bad lighting and depressed, underpaid slobs who wanted to just stay home today, too? But, what if you didn’t have to go in to work? I mean, you’d still have to wake up from that ScarJo dream… but what if at least you didn’t have to leave your home for work? I’m talking about setting up your own home-based business, but don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you’d think. Aside from coming up with a reason to host your enterprise at your domicile — which I can’t help you out with or I’d be happily working from home in my Spiderman pyjamas myself — running a home-based business is easier now than ever. So, what do you need to go from a fully equipped office with an IT guy and donuts to your own home-based business? Read on to find out.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a dog-walking business, an Internet marketing company, accounting firm, or a wedding planning business… you’re still going to need some hardware to help you stay connected to customers and get work done. You know you’ll need the usual stuff like phones, desks and chairs, but what about technology? Here’s what you’re going to need to get that enterprise off the ground. While some of these items seem fairly obvious, we still need to cover them anyway.
A Good Laptop
You are going to need a good computer…d-uh! But, desktops are becoming more and more a thing of the past for businesses, as laptops these days are pretty powerful and oh so portable. That’s one of the joys of working from home… you can move around if you like, and set up your laptop just about anywhere you like. That’s especially nice on a beautiful day when you can move your work station easily out to the sunny patio. Talk about nice work environments! You’ll probably want to go with something like the HP 17.3″ Quad-Core A10-8700P laptop featuring a 1TB hard drive for plenty of storage and a 1.8GHz AMD quad-core processor. It has lots of computing power for a small price, and it has a nice 17 inch screen. Another option is the HP Pavilion 15.6″ Intel Core i5-6200U Laptop. It has a 6th gen Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM, plus built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB 3.0 ports. Both laptops also have HDMI out capability, so you can hook them up to larger screens for in-house presentations. And thanks to the infinite portability of a laptop, you can bring it along to your client meetings and have everything you need right at your fingertips. If you have multiple employees, it is always a good idea to have everyone using the same computers so everyone is running the same software, thereby reducing the chance of version conflicts and issues when you’re upgrading or changing printer setups, etc.
Fast Internet and a Router
No matter your business, you’re going to need an internet connection. It also needs to be a fast connection with lots of bandwidth because a slow connection could cause computer time outs when downloading large files or email attachments. You also want to make sure you can work anywhere in your home while also avoiding tons of wires running everywhere, so you’re going to want a good Wi-Fi router. The TP-LINK AC2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router is a good choice for any home business, as it can serve multiple devices (so all your employees can be connected at the same time) with speeds 3x faster than standard AC routers. Its lightning-fast connections also deliver stronger, more reliable wireless connections, plus there’s an option to set up a guest network for when your clients visit the office and need to access the internet.
If you have multiple employees, or lots of content/data you need stored away from your main laptop, then you will absolutely need some sort of personal/office cloud storage. These little servers let you and your staff save everything to one central place, and everyone can access it easily from their laptops, phones or tablets anywhere there’s an internet connection. And today, you don’t need a huge room with a big expensive server. A small home-based business just needs something like the WD My Cloud Mirror. It’s got a 4TB capacity, solid security, and best of all it has two hard drives so your precious data gets backed up onto the spare drive for added security and peace of mind.
Although we are living in an increasingly paperless society, every business still needs a printer, for legal documents, hard copies of certain files, or to print up your own business cards. Since you’re already running some HP laptops, let’s stay with the brand and get the HP Envy 7640 Wireless e-All-In-One Inkjet Printer. It’s a pretty versatile little printer that offers lab-quality photos and laser-quality documents, plus it is a scanner, copier and fax machine. And you can print from your iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone and tablet, or other mobile device with or without a router or local wireless network.Now that you’ve got your home-based business all set up, don’t forget to use something like WordPress to create a spiffy new web site for your company and services, as well as maybe a PayPal account so you can, y’know, bill clients and get paid. You’ll also want to make sure you have software like Skype installed on all your laptops, so you can video conference with clients, and a Gmail or Outlook account for your business email account. All the software is free to use, which is great for someone just setting up a new enterprise, who also happens to have just bought a bunch of new hardware. Congratulations! You’re now ready to leave the commuting rat race and enjoy the benefits of your home office business. But, you’re still going to have to wake up from those nice dreams and get out of bed every morning.