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Why Virtual Businesses are the New Norm (Contribution from Ujëbardha Bekolli of Mother-Works)

The following post comes to us from Ujebardha Bekolli who is a writer for mother-works.com. MotherWorks is a job portal designed to bring together stay at home moms and recruiters. The platform also brings helpful articles in the blog section regarding mothers who want to return to the workforce.


why virtual businesses are the new norm

Why Virtual Businesses are the New Norm

People’s lifestyles have changed these past years. With the revolution of the internet, we have discovered that we don’t need to go to an office to do a job. Companies’ ongoing intentions of lowering costs and people’s needs for flexibility, together with the internet revolution have created the perfect climate for a new way of doing business. Virtually.

A virtual business consists of constant activities you have to do in order to create a product or service. So virtual businesses is basically an organization with no office where all of the employees work remotely. The roles are separate, there are managers and supervisors, they just don’t work under the same roof.

But nowadays, remote jobs are not considered only as an option, there are companies who operate completely virtually. Hundreds of companies proving that this is doable and can work. The number of companies operating remotely keeps growing every day. The largest business in the world, Amazon, is a virtual business. Amazon is the world’s largest retailer and employs over 150,000 people. Many businesses operating in the same industry have found it hard to compete with Amazon due to its low cost operating policy and innovative nature.

Amazon is only one example of virtual business, but it shows us that traditional business making is not the only way to go. The way virtual businesses work is by outsourcing many operations to third-party companies, but still keeping some core activities in-house.

How they do it?!

One of the greatest challenges of virtual businesses is recruiting. While most people like the idea of remote working, few are cut out for it. Isolation, time management, and burnout are some of the few challenges employees face when they work remotely.  To overcome these challenges, companies have carefully curated recruiting systems and communication canals that fight that.

There are some characteristics that define people who are fit to work remotely. Better said, there are some things to be established before employees recruit some for a remote job. The ability to take action and prioritize is a key factor when working remotely.

Of course, like with everything else, this way of making business has its advantages and disadvantages.

The Good

Counting down the good and the bad for virtual business is the way to understand why it has become so huge. People’s search for flexible jobs is at its core what makes virtual business the success it is. Not only do virtual businesses offer their employees flexibility, but they become a flexible themselves and adapt to change faster. Another reason is the cutting down of costs. By having a virtual business, you don’t have to pay rent, utilities, energy, water, etc. Even if you have headquarters, the costs are still lower.

In a study conducted by professor Nicholas Bloom, he found that people who are allowed to work from home have higher job satisfaction and work more efficiently in comparison to the ones who had to work in an office.

The Bad

But there are also a few downsides to running your business remotely. Communication becomes harder when all of your employees are operating from different places. This may cause miscommunications, leading to mistakes that could cost the company more. Another thing people are concerned about is the reduced productivity one the people who are not easily self-motivated.

Lastly, it comes down to this. The new way of business making has changed the way we think about efficiency and productivity. People’s needs and demands are changing and companies are finding ways to offer better products and services with lower costs and modernized operations. This is why virtual businesses are the new norm.

Have you had any experience working from a virtual office? Share what you have found to be the highs and lows of this booming trends in businesses by leaving a comment below!

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A Day in the Life of a Mompreneur

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For many types of careers, you can quickly gather what a typical work routine might look like. While day to day tasks and interactions will continuously change, more traditional career paths have fairly predictable hours and work locations. Moreover they usually focus on serving one industry or a certain type of clientele.

What I want to share with you, in stark contrast, is the typical day of a mompreneur.

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More than me choosing the mompreneur career path, it chose me. I began as a solo entrepreneur, prior to marriage and children. When these things eventually came along, I didn’t want to halt growing my business nor did I want to put a pause on personal life. So I buckled up for the wild ride of being a mompreneur – running my own Public Relations firm while raising two young boys, often simultaneously. The result? An utterly chaotic, but flexible, ever-changing, but rewarding lifestyle that suits me well.

How do I get it done in a day? Truly, every day is a different routine. Some days are more work intensive, some are more family intensive. What I’m about to show you is a single snap shot of a recent Monday schedule for me.

4:00am – No, this is NOT part of my normal routine. However my youngest son found his way down to our bedroom and mom duty is 24/7. So I spent the next half hour snuggling, reading, rocking, singing and coercing him back to bed because “the moon is still up…and mommy is TIRED.”

6:00am – Alarm goes off and I slowly transform from zombie to human with a large cup of coffee. I click away on my keyboard to clean up emails that came in over the weekend. I send out a statewide press release for a client and promote my weekly blog post that went live a few minutes ago. I’m wrapping up my last “early morning” work session when…

6:40am – Tiny feet come loudly stomping down the stairs. “Hi Mommy!” smiles my older son. While there is more work to be done, I close my laptop and switch into mom mode. The next hour or so is a whirlwind of making breakfast, making beds, changing two tiny bodies, breaking up fights, packing lunches and finding a moment to brush my teeth.

8:00am – Today I take both boys with me to the YMCA where they’ll hang out in the kids’ room for about 2 hours. It’s free childcare, they burn off some energy and I get some more work and personal time. At this stage in life, my YMCA membership is my ticket to sanity.

8:40am – After getting in some cardio, I take a quick break to knock off a few work tasks before heading into my workout class.

9:00am – Maybe the best hour of my day – I put aside all thoughts of work or kids and focus on re-centering myself with a really good workout.

10:00am – I have ½ hour of child care time remaining that I use to check in on my clients’ social media postings for the day. I also have a standing client phone call every other Monday that takes about 15 minutes. I knock this out and go pick up the kids. It takes us about 15 minutes to make it to the car, but I finally get everyone strapped in safely without forgetting anything. Mom win!

10:30am – We arrive back at home where our live-in Au Pair is now on duty. Karen starts an activity with the boys while I grab a quick shower. I have to step in to address a tantrum, caused by an Oreo cookie, before grabbing my lunch bag, kissing the boys goodbye, explaining (3 or 4 times) where I’m going and when I’ll be home, and then I jump in the car with a deep breath. I made it out of the house before 11am!

11:15am – I drive a quarter mile to Messiah College’s library where I’ve been doing a lot of my work lately. It’s free, comfortable and very close to home. Unfortunately, my home office isn’t an ideal work space when they boys are being watched in our home. Plus, it’s nice to be a new setting for a few hours.

2:30pm – I’m finally caught up on emails and tasks that have come in throughout the morning. I’ve scheduled three client meetings for later this week, booked a great deal on a Mexico vacation for later this year (we’ve earned it!), wrote a new blog post and reviewed my presentation that I’ll give at an educators’ conference in Altoona tomorrow. Coffee break!

3:00pm – I do a phone interview with a client to gain more information for a promotional article I’m writing for them. I wrap up the call and pull together the article quickly, since it’s fresh on my mind. I’m well ahead of my client task list this month, which is good because I have a few additional projects and clients I’ll be taking on later this month that will require extra time. Over the next week, I’ll also spend 3 days on the road presenting to 18 school districts at three different conferences. This is why I work hard to clear my bandwidth as quickly as possible so I can jump on extra opportunities as they present themselves.

4:00pm – I’m in a good spot to put away work for the rest of the day. Most days I head home early to spend some extra time with the boys. Or sometimes I’ll run an errand. Today I need this extra time to catch up some reading for our church group that meets tonight. This is a relaxing way to ease out of the work day.

5:30pm – I get settled back at home while our Au Pair, Karen spends time with the boys outside. I call everyone in for dinner. Before Karen, dinnertime was really stressful with kids wanting to play and mom needing to cook. Having an extra set of hands in the evenings is so helpful – and it allows me to be more present with the boys.

6:15pm – We leave as a family to go to our friends’ house where five couples from our church meet bi-monthly. The kids play with Karen and another sitter downstairs while the adults get some meaningful time to talk and discuss our current book series “Love and Respect.”

8:30pm – We are back home and it’s straight to bed for the boys. It takes a little time for them to wind down, but with enough books, songs, kisses and glasses of water, we close their doors for the night.

9:00pm – For the next hour, my husband and I spend undivided time together. Sometimes this is catching up on our favorite TV show, sometimes it’s sitting on the front porch and talking about the day, other times it’s the necessary evil of taking care of some household tasks or making decisions on things to keep the household running smoothly. No matter how we spend this hour, I’m grateful to spend it together.

10:00pm – No later than 10:00pm, we’re in bed and recharging to run a different, but equally busy schedule tomorrow. Here’s to hoping there’s no 4:00am wake up calls tonight!

Now that’s you’ve seen a glimpse into one of my many different daily routines, does it feel similar to your own or completely different? It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve had a strict 8am-5pm work schedule. Even before kids I remember it not meshing well with my personal work style. I imagine that would only be amplified now. I love the freedom and flexibility of being a mompreneur, but I accept that it comes with unique challenges, constantly changing schedules and a lot of juggling.

What routine have you found to give you the best work-life balance? Is it something you currently have or want to have? Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below!

 

 

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The Power of Habit–And Making Your Bed (Guest Blog by Todd Shirley)

This week’s post comes from returning guest blogger, Todd Shirley. Todd is a talented writer with a wealth of knowledge to share. I hope you are inspired to leave a comment or engage in conversation after reading this post. To learn more about Todd, please visit his biography at the end and check out his blog here.

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The Power of Habit–And Making Your Bed

habitI have a habit of talking to myself. It has lead to some embarrassing situations. One time at a job I worked in high school, co workers, customers, and my bosses stopped business briefly to share a communal laugh at this habit.  As I cleaned the large windows of the shop, the sun was at my back and reflected onto my eyes. I couldn’t see into the store while everyone could clearly see me wiping the windows and pantomiming an argument I was having inside my head.

As an adult, nothing gets me talking to myself more than when I read a good non-fiction book. In a weird way, I live the facts that I pick up from it.  The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business by Charles Duhigg is such a book to trigger this habit several times over.  I highly recommend it.

The following three points from the book are my favorite. I have also shared  how they relate to me.

1: Habits are inevitable because our brains RELY on habits:

Nothing makes the brain take up more energy than novel experiences. To move an experience into the realm of a habit offers the brain a tremendous cost savings for its resources.

Consider this point in terms of dialing a new ten digit phone number. I estimate there are over thirty steps involved. Each number has to be recognized, located on the dial pad, and double-checked for accuracy. To dial a familiar number, your brain doesn’t approach it in several steps; it approaches it as one movement of your finger.

In my day to day work I encounter middle schoolers from foreign countries. I’ve heard time and again that their day is eight times more tiring than students who are familiar with the school district, speak English and understand our customs.

2: We operate under the influence of keystone habits:

Keystone habits are habits that dictate other habits.

I struggle all the time to eat breakfast before work.  While reading the book, I decided to begin focusing on making my bed before work instead of preparing breakfast. In doing so, I found out I had more time before work than I realized. This led to frying up some eggs and eating them.  After about the fifth time doing this, I thought I was on to something.  Regularly now I eat breakfast about four times a week but no longer make my bed.

3: Habits don’t go extinct, they get written over:

I haven’t touched a mountain bike in years but feel pretty confident I could hop on one and make my way down the street.  The habits necessary to ride my bike are still there but were written over by habits relevant to driving my car.

The book, The Power of Habit, has many implications for an individual’s life as well as how organizations work.  I found it rewarding and encouraging as it seems to lift the veil of mystery that often covers up human behavior. I hope I’ve piqued your interest by writing about my personal experiences as they relate to this book.

Anyone care to venture a guess about what I do now instead of talking to myself?  Leave a comment with your best idea and I’ll reveal the answer…

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Todd Shirley works full time as a school counselor and carries a caseload of clients who are in the foster care system. When he is not working, he is reading, working out, cooking Paleo and discussing all that is arbitrary about life. Oh-and his favorite animal is the manatee. Todd is an incredible guest blogger with a wealth of knowledge to share. I hope you are inspired to leave a comment, engage in conversation or visit his blog having now read this post. You are always welcome to share your thoughts below!

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Guest Blogger, Life

 

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