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Traveling the world and working for anywhere used to be a far distant dream for many. But now, with the advent of technology, millions of people have chosen to ditch the cubicle for a life of working remotely.
Whether you’re a freelancer, selling goods online as an e-commerce merchant or a consultant, it’s now possible to work remotely and set up a completely virtual business for anywhere in the world. Setting up a completely virtual business is cheap and easy.
Get the Right Technology
Most people already have a laptop and a smartphone. That’s pretty much all you need. There are many entrepreneurs in places like India where they’re running an enterprise just from their smartphones without a laptop.
You can even make calls from your computer so you don’t have to use cell phone minutes. This is especially helpful if you’re traveling overseas and don’t want to pay those exorbitant roaming and international fees. Internet phones services like Google Voice and others are typically free and have a great, clear connection as long as the internet speeds are decent.
Getting the right software is important too. Most of the time, the basics like the internet browser, email, and phone are free.
Depending on your business, you may need to pay for some software. For example, if you’re an e-commerce business, it may be worthwhile to subscribe to a platform like Big Commerce Enterprise so you can easily manage your inventory, sales, tracking, fulfillment, and marketing all in one place.
If you’re a freelancer or consultant, you may be able to get away with using mostly free software services. If you don’t have an established client base, you may need a website where you’d need to pay for the domain and hosting fees.
Find the Right Location
The ONLY location requirement you’ll need to work virtually is an internet connection. Preferably, you’ll want a high-speed internet connection.
If you’re going to need to stream video or us an internet phone service, you’ll need a connection that’s at minimum higher than 2 MBPS (megabits per second) download speed. You want more like 4-5 MBPS to work efficiently and talk on the phone.
Your home is the obvious place to start. Only remote workers know this, but working from home it’s all that it’s cracked up to be.
First of all, there are many distractions. If you have pets or kids, it may be too noisy and have too many interruptions to work from home.
Even if you don’t have a family or pets, the lure of your comfy couch, a soft bed, TV remote at your fingertips, no manager to look over your shoulder, and no co-workers to judge you for taking a nap may be too much of a temptation. It’s always good to have a place other than your house you can work from.
Coffee shops are a great source of high-speed internet and caffeine, both very necessary things to be productive. Coffee shops also provide an environment where it’s hard to take a nap in the middle of the day.
It also provides the feeling of being around other people. Even if you’re not interacting with other patrons, just being around live human beings makes a big difference in your energy levels.
Co-working spaces are great as well, and they are popping up everywhere. Many places charge a nominal fee per month, but there are places that will allow you to work for free in the shared common spaces.
Set Up a Virtual Operation
Assuming your business is growing and prospering, you may need to hire some help. In the traditional business model, you would need to buy or lease office space, then start hiring employees.
There’s a ton of overhead in the conventional mode of hiring and managing employees in a brick and mortar building. It drains cash and could potentially put you in an overleveraged situation.
Having traditional employees also defeats the idea of having a virtual business. The good news is that you can hire and manage virtual employees without any of the overhead.
You can eliminate the need for an office, the overhead of paying for taxes and benefits and the administration of payroll by hiring freelancers to work for you. The freelance industry is growing by leaps and bounds and in 20 years, most American worker will be freelancers.
You can hire freelancers to do everything from sales and marketing to scheduling meetings to bookkeeping. In many cases, you can get them cheaper overseas than you could in the US. And if they don’t work out or they’re not a good fit, its very easy to let them go.
Building a virtual business is now more in the realm of possibilities than at any other time in history. The dream can be yours.