If you are just beginning to work from home – whether blogging, Internet marketing, or being a new CoVid 19 work-from-home employee, you may not yet have everything you need for your home office. However, having your office set up correctly can be a huge benefit. Many people work better when all the things they need for their business are in place. For sure, productivity can go way way up with a properly equipped home office.
This does not mean you have to spend a lot of money to set up your office. It might mean simply having a workspace set aside for working with the appropriate equipment. While it is possible to spend a lot to set up your office, you can also do this on a very tight budget.
Primary equipment needed
The most obvious equipment you will need is a computer and Internet connection to get started with Internet marketing. The computer can be a Windows-based computer or an Apple computer. Either will work just fine for your marketing effort. One thing to keep in mind is that most Internet marketing software is created for the Windows based operating system. So if you have a Mac, you may need to make sure you can also run Windows programs on it by using a Windows emulator, or installing Windows on your Mac.
If you are purchasing a computer, you can usually find a Windows computer good enough for Internet marketing for a couple hundred dollars. A Mac computer will cost substantially more. If you do buy a new Mac, then be sure that it can run Windows programs.
The computer you use for Internet marketing does not have to be a high-end model unless you intend to do a lot of extreme graphics work or video editing. Most Internet marketing tasks can be accomplished well even on systems that are several years old. If funds are limited, you can even consider a used one. Depending on the time of year you are reading this, very good sales are offered on computers near Christmas.
Desktop or laptop?
For Internet marketing, you can use either a laptop or a desktop model. Personally, for my heavy-duty work, I prefer a computer with a very large monitor. Perhaps that is because I “grew up” on desktop computers, but I like space to spread out on my screen. OK, I admit, it could be my age and fading eye-sight, too.
Having made this true confession, keep in mind that if you are building a business online, you will be spending many hours in front of your computer. So, you do want to select a monitor that is large enough for you to comfortably work without squinting or straining your eyes. You also want to make sure it can block blue light at night to protect your vision.
Many people feel perfectly comfortable conducting all work from a laptop computer and that is just fine. The advantage of the laptop is that you can easily move around with the laptop – not nearly as easy to do with a desktop. If you will be conducting some of your business out of the office (such as at the local coffee shop), then a laptop will be a better choice for you, if you only get one computer. Laptops are also easier to move at home as well. Sometimes you may just want to go outside to work or move to the bedroom, away from the family activities. The laptop allows you to do this easily.
Optional monitor for laptop
As an alternative that meets both the need to be mobile and to see a large screen, you can always get a monitor to hook up to your laptop. If you do this, you will have the advantage of actually having two monitors, if needed. When you hook up a monitor to your laptop, you have all the advantages of a desktop computer and the added bonus of being mobile when needed.
One more comment about working from a laptop. For those of us lacking touch pad dexterity, you can also connect a mouse to your laptop. I find when I am doing a lot of moving back and forth across apps and working with graphics, I really need to have a mouse to work fast. Might be my age – but I have never been able to work as quickly on the touch pad as I can with a mouse. This will largely depend upon how you learned to use a computer, I think.
Although you may have a tablet and want to use that for your business, I discourage this choice for conducting the bulk of your work. On the tablet, it will be difficult to do many of the tasks you will need to do in building your business. The tablet can definitely serve as a backup that you can use when out of the office.
In a nutshell, the bulk of your work in Internet marketing will probably need to be done on either a desktop computer or a laptop computer. This choice is really up to you. There really is not a correct choice. This will depend on your space and your work preferences.
You should probably have a high-speed wired Internet connection for building your Internet marketing business. Having said that, if like me, you live out in the country, you may not have that option. You might be one of us that only has a choice of satellite Internet or a hotspot from a mobile phone provider. I have had both. I can say that satellite out in the country (at least where I live) is a no-go. While the TV worked OK, I often found that I could connect to the Internet, but never do anything once connected. So, I switched to a hotspot and have been able to do pretty much anything that I want.
One challenge in building your Internet marketing business on satellite or hotspot Internet is the data limit that rolls around way too fast. Another is the expense of buying more data. You must be creative in spending your data wisely. For example, one of the things I do for watching YouTube videos is download them. This is faster than streaming them and allows me to go back and watch videos at my leisure. I have found 4K Video downloader a great program to do this and it saves a ton of bandwidth each month as I am working.
Supposedly, all problems are going to be solved regarding Internet access once we have 5G across the country. However, that is good for the cities. I don’t think 5G will reach the country for a while. At any rate, no matter which connection you choose, you need to look for stability as much as possible. Speed is good – but stability is better.
If you have wired Internet, then obviously you want to have a connection in your home office so that you can connect at all times. If you are using wireless connectivity, realize it will not be quite as stable. However, I use wireless because I have no choice and honestly cannot say that it has been a problem.
To print or not to print at home
Although having a printer is not a requirement, I come from a time when it was common to read – not on the screen but on paper. I learned by highlighting books and basically interacting with the printed words, carefully taking notes and making comments in the margins. So, in my case, I really do need a printer. If there is an article that I want to study that is lengthy, then I print it out and basically interact with it. I find it easier in some cases to organize my stuff that I use frequently in a notebook. So, while I might type up a list of categories on the computer, I also print it out to keep in a notebook or hang on my wall as a reference.
If you are anything like that, then buying a printer might be a good investment for your business. Off and on, there will be things that need to be printed. If you don’t have a printer, then you will have to stop working to go get something printed for you.
A combination fax machine, scanner and printer can be a very good purchase. Some companies will require you to print and fax documents like a W-9 tax form, although that is increasingly being done online. PayPal occasionally restricts accounts for various reasons, and then they often require you to fax certain documents to them in order to reactivate the account.
Having a fax machine/printer can save you from having to travel to office supply stores while you’re panicking because your account is restricted during a big launch! When looking at printers, consider getting a laser printer. While they might be a bit more expensive than an ink jet printer, in the long run, they cost less because toner is usually less expensive than ink. Often, a printer will sell for almost nothing, but the ink will be quite costly throughout the life of the printer. Although color printers are nice, good black and white laser printers can fit in a small budget.
If you do have a very limited budget, you can wait until you really need it to get a printer. Likely you will know when it becomes necessary because you will feel frustrated when you have to stop to go get something printed. When you feel it is critical, you can find a budget option. Like computers, printers are frequently offered for great prices at Christmas.
Locating your work space
Now that you have your computer and Internet, possibly your printer, you need to decide where to locate your office. I have discussed location pretty extensively in a previous post. To summarize, though, you don’t have to have a separate office in your home. On the other hand, it is important to make sure you can have a quiet place that allows you to work without interruptions.
If you live in a small apartment with a family, you may find it difficult to get any privacy or quiet even in a separate location. If this is the case, a good set of noise-reducing headphones and a good white noise CD or MP3 can really help. White noise will help block a lot of bothersome noises, thus helping you focus on your work. Music can also work to block out background noise, but it may be too distracting for some people.
Desk/workspace and chair
Now that you have your equipment, you will need some place to actually work. For this, you need a desk or workspace with a comfortable and ergonomic chair. A desk does not have to be fancy and can be built in a few hours, if you like DIY projects. Primarily, you need a flat surface on which to house your computer, monitor and space to work. If just starting, you can quickly build a desk on top of two filing cabinets or even concrete blocks. As you grow, you will have a better idea of what type of desk you want.
An ergonomic chair is very important because you will be sitting in it quite a bit. At least in the beginning. Believe me, the chair will be much better if it has rolling wheels. This will allow you to move around more as you are working. A chair with arms tends to be a bit more comfortable for long periods of time. There are many styles of chairs available and a good office chair can make a big difference in how your back and legs feel at the end of the day.
A clutter free environment
Most people find they’re most productive if they have a clean room with limited distractions. Your work surface should be as clear of clutter as possible. This will give you space for folders ready for projects, planners and books that you might need as you work. It is also beneficial to have a writing surface for taking notes and making reminders. If you are like me, you want to have some space for a cup of coffee or glass of tea to sip while working.
With the above essentials, you are ready to begin working in your Internet marketing business. Eventually you find other equipment that will make your work more productive, but this bare minimum will be very functional for many hours of work.
Ready to get started
To recap. Establishing an office is as simple as setting up the following
- Computer (possibly a monitor)
- Internet connection
- Printer (optional but recommended)
- A space to work
- Desk/work space
This is likely the bare minimum of equipment that you will need to build an Internet marketing business. The good news is that most of us already have much of this equipment already and won’t need to invest in much of it. Since working on Internet marketing does not require a great amount of speed, computer equipment can be older and for sure less powerful than you would need for gaming or streaming movies. The desk can be made and the chair can be used. Setting up an office will allow you to get started on your road to becoming a highly successful Internet marketer.