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How to Create a Fully Remote Business

kokou adzo

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Happy ethnic woman sitting at table with laptop

If you want to become a nomadic entrepreneur, or if you just like the comfort of working in your own home, you can start a fully remote business. But what does it take to build a business that can operate fully remotely? And what types of businesses are available to you?

Two Paths to a Fully Remote Business

There are essentially two paths to creating a fully remote business.

  •       The fully remote startup. The first option is to design a business capable of operating fully remotely in its own, self-contained package. In this method, you’ll take advantage of technologies and services to handle any elements that need to be tackled in person. For example, you can utilize remote inventory management to maintain a warehouse full of your core products – and coordinate shipping without ever leaving your home or visiting the facility itself. That said, there are also many businesses that can be run completely remotely from beginning to end, sometimes even by a single person.
  •       Transitioning an existing business. If you have an existing business that you’d like to make fully remote, you’ll have a few additional challenges to face. Not all of your employees and partners are going to be equally enthusiastic about the transition, and you’ll need to have plans in place to maintain the continuity of existing services while you incorporate new services and technologies to enable remote operations.

Common Options for Fully Remote Businesses

Not all businesses can be operated fully remotely, and some types of businesses are much easier to make fully remote than others. If you’re starting a business from scratch, these are some of the most common options for fully remote enterprises:

  •       Software as a service (SaaS). Developing and offering software as a service is fundamentally compatible with fully remote operations. Since, by definition, all of your work will be done online, you won’t need to do many – if any – tasks in person.
  •       eCommerce and dropshipping. eCommerce businesses allow you to sell products and services online, maintaining and marketing your website as the primary means of generating revenue. Dropshipping businesses are similar, but they cut out some of the necessary work (or rather, allow other businesses to do the work for you). In this model, you’ll maintain and market a website, but you’ll sell products stored and shipped by another business (often white labeled or with your branding).
  •       Consulting. If you have significant knowledge and experience in a given area, you can offer consulting services fully online. Some clients may prefer you to consult in person, but you don’t have to take these clients on if you don’t want to.
  •       Professional services. Almost any type of professional service that can be done remotely can turn into a fully remote business. Graphic design, copywriting, accounting services, and even customer service are all viable options here.

However, it’s important to recognize that this list is far from exhaustive – and with a bit of creative thinking, you might be able to turn even fundamentally traditional businesses into remotely operable versions.

Keys to Success in Creating a Fully Remote Business

Regardless of whether you’re starting a new business or transitioning an older one, these are your keys to success in making a business fully remote:

  •       Set the right expectations. Just because a business is fully remote doesn’t mean it can be made successful with minimal work. Working from home, in your pajamas, is only viable if you’re able to stay productive and make sacrifices to make your business model a success.
  •       Start with a plan. It’s extremely important to have a thorough plan in place. You need to be able to proactively anticipate and address possible challenges in your way so they don’t catch you off guard.
  •       Choose the right technologies. There are many technologies and services that can help you make a business fully remote, sometimes taking over the few in-person aspects of your business entirely. But you need to be choosy with these; incomplete technologies or overpriced services can compromise your success.
  •       Hire people you trust. If you want to operate fully remotely, you need to be willing and able to delegate tasks to others – and trust them to do productive work. Be highly selective in who you hire and trust them to do the work you hired them to do.
  •       Foster good communication. One of the biggest challenges in remote business operations is communication, so devise a comprehensive system of communication that’s easy to follow and streamlined enough to enable collaboration.
  •       Set clear objectives and standards (for yourself and others). Finally, set clear objectives and standards for both yourself and others. In the absence of a centralized office or a similar in-person meeting place, it’s easy for team members to drift apart from each other in terms of philosophy and direction. It’s also harder to monitor productivity and correct problematic behaviors. Clearer, more objective standards (along with a system for greater accountability) can help here.

Starting a fully remote business is a challenge, but so is starting any business. If you have the right mindset, the right services and technology on your side, and a team of people willing to help you make your business a success, you’ll be in a prime position to succeed in this space.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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