Working from home is easier than ever because of one amazing invention: the internet. Add a computer and a smart phone and you can now be one of those people who have built and grown their careers in their living room. You can sell products, offer services, receive payments, negotiate fees, sign contracts, meet your team or clients, and order stuff for your business all without leaving your house!
That’s what I’ve been doing for the last five years as a blogger, writer and editor. I’ve also added the TAXUMO app to help me pay my taxes without ever going to the BIR. If I do need to go out, I use the Uber app to take me to meetings and events. That’s all I need to run my business, so I was fascinated to learn from other work-at-home moms that they employ other tools that help them be more organized, efficient and successful.
Author, speaker and host Tina Rodriguez, businesswoman Renz de Jesus Alcantara, architect and partner at Tolentino + Beltran Designs Di Tolentino, graphic designer Lique Dimayuga, and marketing and events entrepreneur Rikka Redrico share with us their favorites!
I’m going to start working from home. Should I buy the most expensive computer?
That would be nice but that isn’t necessary. As long as it can connect to the internet, anything you can afford is good to go. I use a MacBook Pro but only because as an editor, I’m used to Macs. Macs are suited for publishing and design work. Since Lique is a graphic designer, she uses a MacBook Air.
Tina, Renz and Rikka use laptops (Acer, Samsung) that run Windows 10. But your laptop or even your OS doesn’t even have to be the latest. Di says, “I availed of the free upgrade to Windows 10 but AutoCadd is not compatible so I switched back to Windows 8.”
I want to sell my crafts but I don’t have a computer. Do I really need to buy one?
Good news! Your smartphone is a computer. Just download a few apps and you’re set! You can sell anything on buy-and-sell platforms like eBay, OLX and Etsy. Take photos with your phone’s camera and upload these on your personal shop.
Many successful shops are also built on Facebook and Instagram. It’s easier to create buzz on these social apps, and if you have extra money, you can even advertise by using Facebook Pages for Facebook and turn your Instagram account from personal to business.
So, yes, a smartphone is a WAHM’s best friend! It has so many uses, plus it’s portable. You can truly work from everywhere!
Lique says, “I check my cellphone for email notifications and social media updates on Gmail, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Linkedin.”
Rikka says, “I use an Asus phone for micro management of emails, social media platforms, and virtual interaction handling mostly as proxy for blogger brands.”
Tina says, “I use my Android phone for social media, writing and editing work.”
I’m going to start a business online but I don’t have money to hire a designer yet. How can I have those nice memes and images for my business?
It’s always best to hire a professional especially for creating your brand’s logo. But if a designer isn’t in your budget yet, check out Canva. I love it! I used it to create my media kit and résumé.
Tina says, “I use Canva for graphics, newsletters, anything related to graphics. There is a Canva app for iPhones!”
As a graphic designer, Lique uses Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. But you’ll need to buy these programs and it can be expensive. But if you have some designing talent, it’s worth it to invest!
My little business has grown so that I now have a team of 5. We all work from home. How can we communicate more efficiently?
There are many apps that can help you pow-wow. Let’s start with your phone. You can use Viber and Whatsapp. If you all have Facebook, there’s Messenger. You can also create a secret Facebook group.
If you prefer to be logged out of that distracting social media app, try Slack, Skype, Google Hangout to see which one works best for your team.
To manage tasks, try Trello and Asana, which categorize the team’s to-do list.
Di likes Wunderlist. “I love checklists! I can create my team’s tasks for the day or per project and share it with them. I love that Wunderlist has a sound when you finally tick off a major task. It also allows subtasks to be created and there’s a category for the list you’ll be creating.
I want to start an online store! How do I get paid by my customers?
I love PayPal. I can get money from anywhere in the world!
Renz has another preference: “Nanacast as payment gateway.”
Other moms use Globe’s GCash and Smart’s Smart Money. You can also sign up for Payoneer or PayMaya for customers who prefer to pay via these channels.
You also should enroll your bank accounts online so you can see transactions real-time. Confirmation of payment is faster. This will also help you manage your team’s expenses.
Di says, “I use BPI mobile app for majority of my transactions. Our on-site project managers have BPI accounts so I can readily transfer funds and pettycash in case of emergencies.”
I don’t want to meet clients at my home. But I always get lost when I meet them somewhere unfamiliar. Help!
Mommies, download Uber and Grab now. These are apps that will send a car with a driver to you and then will bring you anywhere! I like Uber because the payment is charged to my credit card so I don’t need to bring cash. But I like Grab, too, because it’s cheaper sometimes.
If you prefer to use your own car but hate driving in Manila’s crazy traffic, hire a driver! I highly recommend Dial a Driver. I use their services for those days packed with many meetings and events because a driver comes out cheaper.
If you’re scared of getting lost, Waze is your friend. It’s an app that calculates the quickest route to your destination. But it’s still useful to check a map since Waze sometimes sends you on a roundabout route!
Di says, “I use Google maps. The street view feature is super helpful for pick-up of materials. I can show our driver a picture of the place and of the supplier. It’s easier and more accurate than relying on sketch!”
There are many more tools that Tina, Renz, Di, Lique and Rikka use. Most are specific to their line of work. This only means that whatever you want to work on from home, there is an app, a program, a gadget for it! Don’t be scared to start a business from home. Technology will help you succeed!