Living a laptop lifestyle means different things to different people. To me, it means being able to make money from my laptop while working from home.
After having my baby, I was lucky enough to switch to contract work. I currently work 18-25 hours per week. I go into my office one day a week and then work my remaining hours at home.
I spend an additional 10 hours per work working on this blog which I consider my true laptop lifestyle business.
Virtually all of my “work” time is spent in my home office lounging in my PJ’s.
I’ve grown to absolutely love the freedom and flexibility that comes from having a laptop lifestyle business. I really, really don’t miss my 2-hour commute either!
I bring all this up because I know that there are thousands of stay at home mom’s who want the freedom and flexibility of the laptop lifestyle.
Flexibility is the dream of virtually any parent. They have no problem working hard but want the freedom to work around time with the kids and spouses.
In the last 15 years, I’ve helped my boss start 15-20 companies.
Some have been wildly successful and other complete duds. Most of them have just been average. As I’ve helped him start varies companies I’ve learned a few lessons along the way.
Related Post: You can read about one of my own very unsuccessful business attempts that cost me $55,000 in this post: 10 Steps for Starting a Small Business
5 Tips to Start Living a Laptop Lifestyle
1. Play to your strengths
Before starting a small laptop lifestyle entrepreneurial operation, you need to take a hard look at your strengths and weaknesses.
Do you have the skills you need to actually succeed with your laptop lifestyle business idea?
It is super easy to get gung-ho about a new business idea and jump in without thinking through the ramifications of what you need to succeed.
For example, my skills lie in business management, HR, and accounting. As much as I love working on my website, there is absolutely no way I could become a programmer, which means that I probably shouldn’t randomly decide to start an IT business.
When pursuing the laptop lifestyle, you need to play to your strengths. The whole goal of your side business should be to free up your time, not tie you down.
Typically when you are playing to your strengths you’ve developed these particular skills because you love a certain aspect of your job.
Your most marketable skill will always be strengthened when you love what you are doing.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Your most marketable skill will always be strengthened when you love what you are doing.” quote=”Your most marketable skill will always be strengthened when you love what you are doing.”]
2. Start with a clear goal in mind
I started this blog on a lark. Because I never had a clear image of what I was doing, I wandered around writing for myself and never really gaining traction.
It wasn’t until I sat down and made some clear goals for my blog that I started to see movement. I had to take the time to decide on my direction before I could help others and then move forward myself.
People say they want to start a side company all the time, but how many actually follow through with their dreams?
You have to make clear plans and have clear guidelines for success in order to succeed.
I’m not saying you need all the answers before you start, but you do need to have a clear idea of the type of business you want to pursue and how you are going to make money.
Part of this preplanning also means you need to figure out exactly what type of business you will be running from your laptop. If you want to be successful you’ve got to do a lot of research.
I recommend starting with a list of lifestyle business ideas that work with your skills, time and financial situation.
3. Set realistic time frames and expectations for success
This part is critical. Having unrealistic expectation and timelines is the quickest way to business failure, particularly a small laptop-based business.
This goes back to goals. Once you have set your goals, you need to begin working backward.
Take the time to set out a clear path to success that is tied in with your ultimate goal, but is broken down into actionable steps that you can accomplish within a set time period.
For example, if you want to self-publish a book you’ll need to plan for more than just writing the book. You need to build out an author platform, set up a marketing plan, write your book, publish your book and actually sell the book.
If you just write a book with the idea that people will come, you are going to be very disappointed with your sales.
You have to have a clear strategy for success.
Now it is time to throw step 3 out of the window. Seriously though, don’t get so caught up in your plan that you aren’t nimble enough to make changes.
Often solopreneurship means a lot of late night and hail mary moments.
The greatest strength an entrepreneur can have is in their flexibility. If something isn’t working you don’t need to take it to a committee to plan out your new strategy. You are a committee of one.
This is the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of the laptop lifestyle.
If something isn’t working make changes.
Let’s take our book analogy a bit further. If you have published your book and been disappointed with the sales, then it is time to make a course correction.
You may need to consider turning the chapters into podcasts, blog posts or Youtube videos. The sky is the limit and your ability to repurpose your content could be the key to your success.
For example, I recently launched my first online course. Sometimes it is hard to explain certain concepts in words and I’ve found that video can be a very effective tool.
If you are trying to eliminate spending leaks in your budget the class is currently on sale. I’m self-promoting, but honestly, I think it is a pretty great class and packed full of useful information.
I’ve never done a course before and if it doesn’t work, I’m going to repurpose the content into an ebook. Sometimes you have to be creative to find your market.
Most successful laptop lifestyle businesses are completely unrecognizable from their original roots.
5. Network – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I know, this sounds like kind of a random idea that doesn’t fit the rest of the advice. Stay with me for a minute though and you’ll see why I think networking can be a key to your success.
As a laptop mompreneur, you’re often a one-woman show.
You are going to stretch yourself and gain skills you never knew you had. One of these skills needs to be the ability to ask for advice and help.
You can’t do it all as a businesswoman. Especially when trying to balance family life.
Your greatest strength is the ability to reach out and ask for help and support from those around you.
Obviously, don’t take advantage of your friends, but asking for advice or trading skills is a great way to leverage your network and provide help for both parties – win/win!
I can guarantee that you have friends in your life who would love to teach you something new. The trick is to put yourself out there and ask.
Creating a laptop lifestyle business is possible for anyone.
The internet world has opened up avenues of communication that provide thousands of opportunities, particularly to stay at home mothers who are searching for a creative outlet or who need to earn a little bit of extra cash.
I know hundreds of successful mothers who manage great side businesses on their laptops in the fringe hours of their lives.
Many of them have been successful beyond their wildest dreams. They started with a small idea and worked through the necessary business steps to achieve their goals.
You’ve got this!