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You're here: How to guides Working from home

Working from home

I have successfully been working from home as a technical author and web designer for over three years. Within this section of my website I will describe, from my experience how to successfully work from home.

So what is needed to successfully work from home ?

In order to successfully work from home, you need the following:

  • a secure Internet connection
  • a personal computer
  • a bank account
  • a web host to provide a website with an e-mail address and FTP account
  • a successful advertising campaign

Depending on the type of business you want to run from home will probably affect to what degree you need to follow the advice below. I have written the following sections from my point of view as a technical author and web designer. Therefore some of the advice below may be geared towards certain technical professions, however the majority of this advice will cater for most other non-technical professions.

Secure Internet connection

When I first started working from home I was very lucky because broadband Internet had just become available.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term "broadband" Internet, it's basically much faster than your regular "narrowband" Internet service which uses a modem and regular telephone line to dial-up to the Internet. In contrast to narrowband Internet, broadband Internet does not require you to dial-up to the Internet using your regular POTS telephone line. Instead, you connect to the Internet with a broadband modem, the type of broadband modem you use depends on the type of broadband Internet service you subscribe to. In the UK there are two types of popular broadband Internet service, namely cable and ADSL. In other parts of the world, such as the USA you can get broadband Internet via satellite in addition to cable and ADSL.

The beauty of boradband Internet is that you pay a reasonably low monthly payment to your broadband Internet service provider and you have typically have unmetered access (i.e. a fixed cost regardless of how long you spend on the Internet). I say you typically have unmetered access because in other parts of the world, such as France and Belgium you can subscribe to broadband services that bill you on the amount of data you download, or bill you more than your monthly subscription if you use the broadband service more than a set number of hours per month. Luckily, there tend to be alternative providers to the metered broadband Internet providers. So my advice to anyone who wants a broadband Internet service is you should make sure that it is an unmetered service.

UK broadband Internet providers

The following is a list of some popular UK broadband Internet providers, who provide a reliable and cheap unmetered broadband Internet service:

  • - various packages are available that use an ADSL modem.
  • - various packages are available that use a cable modem.

If you are unable to get broadband Internet in your area, or you only want casual use of the Internet then I suggest as a "narrowband" alternative.

Personal computer

These days most people use a generic personal computer (PC) running a Microsoft Windows operating system. There are some industries which still use computers manufactured by Apple, which tend to be slightly more expensive. Many people argue that Apple's computers and operating systems are far more stable than the generic PC running Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Apple computers

In recent years Apple has staged a come back by producing the very popular and computers. Since their release, Apple have recently launched the , which is the successor to the . Apple have also launched the and the , which are very stunning laptop computers that are extremely powerful in terms of processing power. I believe the advent of Apple's latest operating system, MacOS X has saved the day for Apple computers. The new MacOS X operating system is UNIX based, extremely stable, easy to use and graphically beautiful.

Generic computers

If you are after a generic PC then I recommend taking a look at the range of PCs. Dell offer a stable hardware platform and ship their PCs with either Microsoft Windows or RedHat Linux.

So what type of computer do you need ?

If you come from an industry that uses Apple computers buy an Apple computer, whereas if you come from an industry that uses generic PCs then buy a generic PC from a company like Dell Computers. The philosophy behind this is simple. Stick to what your industry uses because you a familiar with the software and functionality of that computer and you will be more productive in an operating environment you are already familiar with.

However, if you do not use a computer in your line of work and you intend to set up a business working from home, you still need a computer for writing letters, printing invoices and e-mailing clients. In this case, it really is a tough decision to make. Do you buy an Apple computer or do you buy a generic computer?

Currently almost every computer peripheral on the market (printers, scanners and webcams) come with software drivers that support the generic PC running the Microsoft Windows operating system. However, not all theses peripherals will work on an Apple computer running MacOS X or MacOS 9. But because of Apples recent comeback into the home computing market, many of the modern peripherals support an Apple computer running the MacOS 9 and MacOS X operating system.

If you decide to buy a new Apple computer it will be bundled with both the MacOS X and MacOS 9 operating systems, and you will be able to use both these operating systems. However, since MacOS X is such an advance over the MacOS 9 operating system, you will more than likely only want to use the MacOS X operating system. Because of this, I strongly recommend that before you buy a new Apple computer you should make sure that all the peripherals you want support the MacOS X operating system.

 

Banking

Nationwide have served me well for all my business purposes. Nationwide's Flex Account gives you free Internet banking and overdraft facilities, and allow you to use your cashpoint card in ATMs all over the world WITHOUT charging commission.

Web host

A good web host is important. Ideally you want your web host provide you with:

  • 24/7 support
  • cheap web hosting
  • FTP accounts
  • e-mail accounts
  • database capabilities and scripting support (such as MySQL and PHP or IIS and ASP)
  • easy to use mailing list capabilities

ICD Soft cover all these important aspects and I use this web hosting company to host my web site. ICD Soft support PHP and MySQL, allow you to have 5 FTP accounts, have an easy to use mailing list application, and only cost $60 per year for their hosting services.

Successful advertising campaign

This section is under construction.

 



Last modified May 1, 2007 | © 1997 - 2007 Robert Wisbey | Top | Site Map