Working from home can be a dream come true for many individuals, but it is important to remember that this kind of employment should be taken seriously. The tools needed to make your work successful can ensure that you will have a steady stream of income. Most people who are considering a work-from-home career are already familiar with obvious essentials like reliable Internet access and a dependable computer, but there are some amenities you may not be aware of. Below are three essential tools that can make working from home enjoyable, lucrative, and efficient.
While the need to print documents is becoming increasingly unnecessary, you will still likely need to print, fax, or scan documents at some point. It can be a huge hassle to run to a print shop for your every printing need. A simple inkjet printer may be fine for average home use, but it is simply not enough for business needs. At minimum, you should buy a machine that can print, scan, and fax. An all-in-one machine is an economical approach to this; many of these devices are inkjet printers, which can have issues if they are not used regularly. if you don’t think you will need to produce color copies, a great alternative is a black-and-white laser printer with a separate scanner.
Backing up important digital documents is essential for working at home. If a computer crashes or there is a fire in your home office, you may lose irreplaceable business files. A backup can be either physical, such as a flash drive or disc, or it can be digital, such as an online backup service. Physical backups are usually cheaper. An inexpensive flash drive can store an incredible volume of Word documents and Excel sheets. The downside to physical backups is that they are still prone to loss or destruction. If you do keep a physical backup, ensure that it is separate from your home office. Keep it in your car, garage, or even a shed that is separate from your house. Online backups are slightly more expensive because they generally come with a subscription fee, but they are safer and generally easier to access in a pinch.
Billing is one of the easiest things to lose track of when running your own business. Generally, you will be the only one collecting checks and payments and depositing them in your bank account, where they get mixed with all of your other finances. Keeping records of income and expenses is vital for working at home, primarily for tax purposes. While it is possible to create and use a nice Excel spreadsheet for everything related to a business, this is by far inferior to accounting programs, such as Quickbooks, that provide easily understood tools for organizing this information. If you are taking records by hand or using a cumbersome spreadsheet, then it is definitely time to get familiar with these superior software options.