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As technologies innovate they need to beat the old school competition by being better, cheaper, more powerful and easier to use.

Over the past 4 years of setting up and running 3 businesses remotely, I’ve learned by trial and error that there are loads of tools out there, some are more excellent than others.

As CoronaVirus has us trapped at home — perhaps now is the time to set up your online business. Here’s a very quick overview of a handful of tools that will enable you to set up a business from scratch for under $200.

Domains: peruse GoDaddy or name.com for your website name to see what’s available and get some ideas. If .com isn’t available .AI is super trendy, .space is cool, .online works… there are lots of options.

Don’t buy your domain name yet though — do it through Squarespace or WordPress to build your website.

I love Squarespace as it is sleek, the templates are beautiful, and the user experience is intuitive. WordPress is a bit more robust. Wix.com is cheap and cheerful.

Let’s use Squarespace as the journey example: From here you can set up your G-suite account and be inbusiness@yourname.com. For $25 per month you’ll get a free domain, and a G-suite account that will give you access to an email, calendar, spreadsheets, documents, shared drives, google hangout, youtube, forms, microsites, anything you need.

Squarespace also links directly to Acuity or Calendly, so you can set up a scheduling system so people can book appointments.

If you’re selling services or products you can also set up payments through Square via Squarespace or Stripe, adding taxes, shipping fees etc, in a very straightforward manner.

Now it’s time to market your business.

You can create beautiful pictures and collateral through Canva.

You can build wonderful videos with Biteable.

You can now set up social media accounts — and fill them with those lovely images and videos.

Instead of posting daily you can aggregate your social media through Hootsuite or Later.com or Sprout — setting up the week ahead on a content calendar.

A CRM can be cheap and cheerful — you can compare prices and functionality on the G2 Crowd or Capterra.

Finances can be done through Quickbooks, Legal through Legalzoom, and there are all sorts of HR services available for small businesses if you hire contractors or employees.

Industry-specific software is available for every business from salons to consultancies, to Shopify to Etsy.

Setting up a business now is so much more pain-free than it was 4 years ago — everyone should have a side hustle — and it’s super fun! There are loads more tools out there — we can help you navigate what works best for your business needs.

5 years ago we moved to the States from Singapore with a 6-month-old baby and I had zero friends or family within a few thousand miles. 

It soon became clear that FaceTime would be the answer to my loneliness and postnatal bewilderment.

Daily visual contact with home became my rock. 

Facebook really helped too – watching from afar as friends far far away got married, had babies, got together for birthdays. But so grateful to be virtually part of it, better than being entirely unaware.. right?

Having slogged away in corporations for 15 years I really wanted to work from home. Plus with a kid picking up every bug going, she was home quite often. I also got sick (appendicitis, wisdom teeth, pneumonia, plus whatever she had) – psychosomatic perhaps?

Luckily once my Greencard came in I found work with a fabulous, mainly remote global firm that had employees all over the world from all over the place. I heard familiar accents and didn’t feel too much like an outsider. It was 4 days a week remote – perfect!

Now it was time to make my work life virtual, much like my social life already was.

Still to this day – five years on – the novelty of making my own tea, eating lunch from my own fridge and making my own hours has not worn off.

It’s actually quite liberating creating a virtual work/life/world space from your own home space.

Plus the office politics is almost non-existent! 

You control who sees you and when, whether not you turn your phone on, when meetings happen and if you want to take a yoga class at 10 am on a Tuesday then fine.

A couple of caveats: I was in my mid-thirties and had done my time in offices – learning from my olders and betters. There’s no way to replace that. Other people are necessary to watch and learn how to do your job when you first start, so that you are competent and capable, trusting yourself to work alone. 

In the past 5 years innovations in technology have changed Everything about the way we work.

It’s easier than ever to set up your own business, build an infrastructure, Sales, Marketing, HR & Recruiting, Finance, Legal, Project Management, Social Media, Automation – it’s all available online at incredibly reasonable prices – if not free!

What’s great about new technology is that in order to be competitive, it needs to be faster, cheaper, more powerful and easier to use than existing tools. 

Which is great for us entrepreneurs and small business owners who need all the tools and tricks they can get!

Once you become comfortable with the phone ringing with FaceTime, once you have your WhatsApp group, text group, Facebook groups, Instagram stories, LinkedIn lessons, Twitter feeds, Zoom meetings, online classes & webinars, Google Hangouts, Slack channels, Nextdoor reach outs and news feeds, the world doesn’t feel so big, people don’t feel far away and we don’t need to feel alone.