WAHM

5 Essential Tools You Need to Successfully Work From Home

I’m sure you’ve heard how great it is to work from home – the freedom to choose what you want to do, when you want to do it and without any of the hassles of long commutes, gossipy co-workers or a terrible boss breathing down your neck.

It’s true that work from home opportunities have grown 103% since 2005. More people are quitting their 9-5 job and wanting to be a freelancer, entrepreneur or just want to earn some income online.

5 Essential Tools You Need to Successfully Work From Home

And there’s no shortage of work-from-home jobs available for stay-at-home moms either; you don’t even need a degree or experience to get started.

I love working from home, but don’t get me wrong – it’s a challenge every day. You need the motivation to put yourself out there and the focus to manage your work.

You also can’t start a home-based business on your smartphone. Without the right equipment, it’ll be hard getting started and even scaling your business in the future.

If you’re interested in blogging for a living, I have an easy step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog for your business..

To help you out, here are six essential tools/equipment I use to run a freelance writing business.

1. Computer or Laptop

macbook

I know – this is a no brainer. You need access to the internet to work from home. Sure, you can use your old laptop from 2002 or an old version of Windows XP to run your business, but you’ll soon discover that just won’t cut it.

I personally have a used MacBook Pro from 2012 that’s fully upgraded with an SSD and maxed out on RAM.

It’s highly durable – i.e. it has some weight to it – so it’s “twin-proof.”

If you have small children, consider purchasing a used laptop or get a hand-me-down since children have roaming hands. 🙂

2. A Task Management System

With any work you decide to to – whether it’s freelance writing, virtual assisting or opening up your own Etsy shop, you need a system to keep track of your tasks and bookkeeping.

For me, that’s Trello and Google Sheets.

Trello

trello

Trello is an organizational tool for your projects. You can make several boards and within each of those boards you can assign tasks throughout the week.

I have several boards for work and home. The one I use the most is Weekly Writing Tasks. On Sunday, I assign all my tasks related to writing and gradually move them to the corresponding days.

Now, I also use a regular pen and paper to jot down “in-the-moment” tasks, but Trello seems to help me organize my week.

Google Drive

sample-google-sheet

I love Google Drive!

I don’t have to hit “save” after everything and I can customize it to my liking. Since my business has been growing lately, I needed a project management system that could give me a snapshot of what needs to be done.

On my sheet I have:

  • The client
  • Type of task (writing or graphic design)
  • Title of post
  • Author
  • Due date
  • Internal date
  • Draft date
  • First edit
  • Grammarly edit
  • Copyscape
  • Peer read
  • Final Edit
  • Submission date
  • Word count
  • Pay amount

It’s long (it’s even color coded)!I know, but it keeps me in order since I have over a dozen clients that I’m either writing for or doing graphic images for.

I also have other sheets to track my P&L and my course sales.

If you haven’t discovered Google Drive, log in to your account and play around!

3. A Niche/Service

You’ve decided you want to stay home and work. If you are a mom, then this is exactly what I did. I have twins and I knew I wanted to stay home and take care of them. But, I had to find a way to earn an income.

And I did this by first figuring out what I should do and then what kinds of services I should offer.

Since I enjoy writing, freelance writing was a natural fit. There are many different types of writing you can do online – copywriting, blog writing, article writing, press releases, white papers, site content, reviews, re-writes, the list can go on.

I chose blog writing, article writing and site content when I first started.

Once you figure out what you want to do – freelance photography, graphic design, coaching, blog management – sit down and think about the services you want to provide.

I would recommend to start off with only a handful of services and over time you can narrow down or improve what you are offering.

4. A Website

innovative-site-2016

You know the one thing that drastically improved my income? Having a website dedicated to my services.

When I first started, I had a profile on Guru and didn’t land any jobs. But, as soon as I created my own website and put myself out there I started landing work!

My site has had many changes since I first started and whenever I get board, I change my design and overall look. I also clean up my copy and niche-down.

But, if you’re new, you don’t need to worry too much about optimizing your site. If you have an established blog, go ahead and put up a Services page or Hire Me page. Over time you can plan to have a separate site dedicated to your services.

5. A Scheduling Tool

automation

Let’s get real right now!

As a mom who works at home, time is hard to get, right? Especially if you have small ones to take care of during that day.

You have play dates, chores, cooking and of course playing and enriching your child’s day! It’s a lot. Oh, and don’t forget you have to write a blog post, get a graphic and promote your post as well as finish any client work you have (like me!).

So, to help you save time, invest in a scheduling tool like Tailwind. By far, the best tool I’ve used to grow my blog to over 20,000 pageviews a month, is to use Tailwind. You schedule your most popular pins and Tailwind sends those pins out throughout the day to your boards and group boards.

It’s Ah-mah-zing and it’s a budget-friendly way to grow your blog!

6. BONUS! A Place to Work

home-office

You work from home, but this doesn’t mean you can work anywhere in your home. Sure, you can get away propping your feet up on the couch while you fill an order or edit a piece on your laptop.

But, over time, trying to work in different spots around the house will slow you down and you’ll notice a decrease in productivity.

That’s why I have a desk in my bedroom. I prop my laptop on a stand and connect my wireless keyboard and mouse and I’m good to go.

And since I have small children, I like having one central location for my notes and office supplies (like my water, coffee mug and pens).

If you have a small place you may find that you have to set up shop in your kitchen or in your den. My husband also works from home and he does most of his work downstairs in the guest room. But, he also likes to work upstairs and is considering putting a desk in the living room.

So, do what ever works and stick to it! Treat your home business like a job you would go to.

It’s Easy to Get Started Working From Home

Working from home is perfect for moms. You get to stay home, take care of the kids and house and still be able to earn an income. You also get to connect with other mommy bloggers and have the opportunity to really grow your business.

There aren’t many things you need to get started – a laptop, task management system, a service, website and a place to work.

Have you considered working from home? If so, what tools do you think you need to get started?

I'm Elna, wife to my college sweetheart and mother to my school-aged twins. Together we are the parent entrepreneurs. I'm also a professional blogger and freelance writer. I help mom bloggers make money blogging so they can stay home with their little ones too! Come join me in the Mom to Mompreneur Facebook group!

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17 Comments

OMG this is amazing, I am totally pinning this for a re-read. I am so wanting to achieve something more than I am doing right now, I want to contribute to the household for my stay at home life. Your website and all its knowledge is just perfect for me right now.Reply to Donna
Hey Donna, Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed this post! Good luck!Reply to Elna
Love this content! Working from home is great especially when you have kids. And these tips are very helpful to those who are just starting out. Thank you for this! 🙂Reply to The
Nicely written and very helpful 🙂 Working from home is a luxury. But as dreamy as it sounds, working from home doesn’t come easy. Thanks for the insights. I also wrote about my work from home experience, the importance of routines, and tips to build the work-from-home art. Do visit my blog and let me know if you like it 🙂Reply to Priyanka
Hi! You’re right! It’s a challenge to find the time and balance it all when you work at home! Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna
You are so right about the desk. I was avoiding my office for a long time since it’s right next door to my daughter’s room. I was afraid to wake her up and lose that precious time. I started working up there about two weeks ago and I have learned that I am much more productive there than anywhere else in the house! No distractions at all when it’s an intended space!Reply to Caroleann
Hi Caroleann, I know right? I have my desk in my bedroom and I get soo much more work done there than on the couch with my laptop and my twins running around playing. It does make a difference for sure! Thanks for commenting!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, I just signed up and am looking so forward to the help and advice on starting my own blog. I am super excited about writing and didn’t feel I was able to do it with no writing experience but I am going to give it a try. Thank you for the confidence and boost of energy from your blog!!Reply to Scarlett
Hi Scarlett! Congrats and so happy for you! You can totally lean on me and ask me anything! 🙂Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, I love your suggestions. I use Google drive for all of my documents now. It’s great, it’s free and now I can actually find the documents. Will need to check out TrelloReply to Stephen
Hi Stephen! Thanks so much. Yes, I use Google docs a lot, especially for my drafts for clients. Trello is awesome too!Reply to Elna
Great post! It’s very informative 🙂 I just launched my blog a month ago! Hope you have a great day!Reply to Kataryna
That’s exciting Kataryna! Thanks. Yeah, you don’t need a lot of tools to successfully work from home, but there are some that are required! Glad you fond some tools you need for your business!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Your site sounds very inspiring. I am very new to the idea of blogging and working from home doing different tasks. I am also very uninformed about the whole process and getting the computer set up. Could you give info on various sites regarding a basic education for novices like myself? That would be terrific. Thanks. Enjoy your site.Reply to Nonie
Hi Nonie! Thanks so much. Head on to Pinterest and search there! I have a post on the top 18 blogs for work at home moms you can check out too! I’m sorry but there are a lot of great blogs out there that walk you though how to set up your site. I plan on having a “start your blog” on this site soon! Thanks for stopping by.Reply to Elna
Thanks Elna.Reply to Nonie
Glad you enjoyed the post!Reply to Elna