Small Business

Working Remotely is Easier Than You Think

Just because you’ve chosen your spare bedroom, or your living room/kitchen/garage/favorite coffee shop, etc., to double as your office – it doesn’t mean you have to be secluded from the rest of the world – including any teams that you work with or clients you need to be communicating with on a regular basis.

Take the Cat on the Couch team, for example – we’re thousands of miles apart from each other and (often) our clients, yet our clients get seamless service and communication, plus…we’re nearly always accessible – maybe too accessible, but that’s how we chose to be in our business.

And as we look back on how far we’ve come with Cat on the Couch, it’s clear that working remotely has only helped to increase our productivity and the level of service we provide.

Part of the reason we’re so comfortable with working remotely, is that we support ourselves with the right communication and time management tools and software to get the work done…even while we’re working in our own personal spaces. Tools such as remote email access Skype, BaseCamp, and other software make working at home more like working at the office – minus the office and all the negative aspects of office life.

The advantages of working remote (for us, anyway) are pretty clear:

  • No commuting
  • More personalized and flexible workflow to suit your personality
  • Fewer office distractions (often means more productivity)
  • Working late can mean taking a dinner break and then going back to work
  • Computing in the cloud (with services like Google Docs) gets better all the time
  • The ability to work from nearly any location

Of course, there are downsides to working remotely – especially if you’re working from home. First, there’s your workspace that’s always accessible outside your normal work hours. And, of course, there’s the sheer discipline that’s often needed to create work/family boundaries so that you’re meeting your personal as well as your work commitments.

A few other possible downsides can include:

  • Lack of personal interaction
  • Distractions of TV, Facebook, etc
  • The added discipline needed to stay focused
  • Being too accessible electronically – email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc
  • Of course, these downsides can be minimized with the right tools, the right attitude and the right team supporting you along the way. And if you know where to draw the line between work and your family, then you’re on the right track to increased productivity while you work remotely.
Small Business, WordPress

WordPress For Small Business – Ideal for the Hands on Business Owner

Many of the business owners we develop websites for want more control over their content. The ability to update content on their own – without the help of a designer or developer – is a common project mandate clients give us.

The problem is, not every design platform allows the average business owner to easily access, update and add content to their website. Not without the help of some kind of custom interface or some other workaround.

WordPress, however, solves the issues of controlling your content. In fact, WordPress isn’t just one of the easiest platforms to manage content on, it’s also one of the best platforms for designing website. Oh, and the WordPress software just happens to be free*.

Features Galore – But Only the Features You Want

Not only is WordPress a great choice because you can easily edit and add content, but it’s also been very popular with developers who have created just about any kind of functionality you could possibly want added to WordPress, like plugins for:

  • E-commerce
  • Video
  • Website analytics
  • Photo slideshows
  • Email marketing
  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Plugins are available for a reasonable cost – and many are even free. You name it, and chances are, you can find a WordPress plugin that meets your needs.

There are thousands of plugin developers out there who are creating new and innovative ways to expand the Functionality of WordPress with easy-to-use plugins that solve your problems.

Read more

Project Management, Random, Small Business

Why We Choose Basecamp Software to Manage Client Projects

If you’ve ever worked with an advertising agency or freelance design professional, you know the difficulty that cam come with project schedule coordination and overall communication. Miscommunication, misunderstanding and missed deadlines can all lead to a pretty unhealthy client/agency relationship.

Sure, you can create your own calendars or hire a project manager to coordinate schedules and send out emails, but in the end that person is still a ‘middle-man’ and is just as prone to mistakes as anyone else.

At Cat on the Couch Productions, we maximize communication and productivity while minimizing misunderstandings by using Basecamp. In fact, Basecamp’s amazing software is one the reasons we’re able to service clients in various locations and still manage all our projects effectively.Read more