Entrepreneur Library

Starting a Virtual Business

Starting a Virtual Business

By Samantha Garner, GoForth Institute


With the super-fast internet speeds that many of us enjoy, and the vast amount of free collaborative software and cloud-based resources, working remotely is easier than ever. oDesk recently surveyed “digital nomads” – people who try “to live life as an adventure and take work with them as they go.” The survey showed that out of these digital nomads, who were less tied to a physical workplace, 79% felt they were more productive.

Digital nomads tend to self-identify as adventure-lovers and travelers, but that working virtually is a possibility for others. Setting up a virtual office means you get employees who are happier and more productive, and it can save you money on overhead costs.

Tips for running a successful virtual business

  • Start small. If you run a small office, consider letting employees telecommute one day a week to test the waters.
  • Make a plan for how you will operate the day-to-day business, including overseeing employees’ work.
  • Get familiar with the different rules and regulations you may need to comply with, including zoning by-laws and tax regulations.
  • Look for self-motivated, responsible employees with great communication skills who are good at working independently. Sounds like a lot, but they do exist!
  • Establish regular “touch base” sessions, whether it be a weekly group Skype or Slack call or a one-on-one phone chat with each employee.
  • Make sure you, and all your employees, have up-to-date computer operating systems and technology that’ll let you work collaborate and communicate. Some popular choices include Skype, Slack, Google Docs, Dropbox, and Evernote.
  • Investigate online tools to help boost your productivity and keep you and your employees on track.


Samantha Garner is GoForth Institute's Director, Communications.  Contact Samantha by email: samantha@goforthinstitute.com

Want to succeed in your small business?

Learn How