How can you ditch the commute, save time, get more done in half the time and possibly double or triple your income whilst working from home?
For the last 5 years, I built my business from my 4 room HDB flat in Pasir Ris. I wasn’t born rich, I’m not an excellent student, I did everything myself for the first couple of years, from website design, copywriting, local SEO in Singapore and automating my investments in Singapore.
The majority of my clients, students, small medium enterprises, start ups or freelance all contact me through my cell phone number, through Whatsapp and one email.
So why do you want to work from home? If you read the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, you’ll get to know about the ‘new rich’. The new rich is a group of people defining success as doing what you want, from wherever you want, and on your own terms. If you’re someone that desires to partake in the ‘new rich’ lifestyle, how can you go about it?
Glad you asked. Over the years, I made different adjustments to the ‘work from home’ lifestyle to keep myself active, fit, emotionally, psychologically and mentally.
Time and Cost Saved When Working from Home in Singapore
- Freedom and Happiness
Firstly, I wanted to have the freedom to manage projects off my laptop. I like my lifestyle to be fully flexible. I don’t want to show up at an office in a shirt and tie.
There’s also research from Stanford business school that suggests that people are happier and more productive when working from home.
- No colleagues
You don’t waste time chit chatting on silly things. If you’re a one man operations, you don’t have to waste time on office politics. It’s just about setting important KPIs and hitting it.
- Lower Cost
Office rental in Singapore is expensive. Renting from my Mum is much cheaper. You spend more time focusing on sales, getting customers, as opposed to worrying about sunk cost: rent.
- Shorter traveling time
The average Singapore commute is 40 minutes. That’s a lot of time wasted. Furthermore, I stayed at Pasir Ris, the far east side of Singapore my whole life. Commute was a problem throughout the years, I served as a self defence instructor as Pasir Lebar Camp and my University is in west side of Singapore. I needed to know how to beat the system.
Basically, I’m far from everything except for the army base Pulau Tekong.
Secondly, it’s a great way to save time and cost of transport.
There’s a lot of inefficiency in an office 9-5 job where you’re constantly distracted by your colleagues and your friends. Mark Manson, New York Times Best Seller, argues that you’re only really productive 4 hours a day.
How to Master the Art of Working from Home in Singapore
- Work in Short Bursts
One of the best ways to be productive when working from home is to work in short sprint, known as the Pomodoro technique. Not long, drawn out marathon sessions.
- Strictly Keeping to project deadlines and due dates
I used to have a military boss that only allowed his staff to leave 530pm on the dot even though the job was done by 3-4pm.
The one-and-a-half-hour wastage daily compounded into hours and hours of inefficient usage of time.
However, if you’re working from home, you get to reduce inefficiencies, dictate your own schedule.
However, on the other hand, you MUST strictly keep to project deadlines and due dates. That’s the only way your business and life will be functional because you have so too much freedom in your lifestyle.
To to do this, simply schedule out your deadlines, appointments and social lifestyle on a calendar app or platform. I use the Mac’s calendar app. Scheduling out your deadlines is also a compound habit that’ll help in other areas of your life
It’s important to schedule in exercise, a swim, a gym session when working from home. Because your desk is your office, you’re pretty much going to be immobile for hours and hours. Exercise helps you keep fit and mentally sharp. Exercise is also a compound habit. In short, it’s awesome.
Fun fact: I gained a total of 5 kilograms ever since I started working from home in Singapore.
I stay in a condominium today and use the condominium gym to save time, however, I lived in a 4 room HDB for 95% of my life and started building websites. I stilled worked out, did martial arts, went to the public gym and swimming pools.
- Plan Out Social Activities
One of the downsides of working from home is that you’re all your own. It gets lonely some times. Whilst others relax after work with an after work drinks, it’s your responsibility to keep yourself social with others on your calendar. Working from home can be quite isolating.
Scheduling social activities in your calendar weekly is crucial to keeping yourself emotionally charged. This is extremely important to me. If you don’t have friends that are looking to freelance, start a business or can’t relate to your ideas, I recommend learning social skills, join entrepreneurial conferences, events and meet like minded people.
- Knowing When to Call it quits for the day
It’s entirely up to me how much I want to work for the day. I can go on till late at night, I can come home and continue working on a project. There’s no boss to ask me what to do, there’s no boss to tell me to stop doing it.
Human productivity diminished after a certain period of time. When you take time off to invest in other areas of your life, you’re actually helping with your productivity in the long run. You need to know when to call it quits for the day, if not, you’ll merely hit burn ou.
- Mix Your Location Up
Throughout the years, I started off working from home, however, sometimes I realized that home isn’t a good location to work out from. That’s because of certain psychological barriers: It could be because I’m living with parents, or because I’m undisciplined at home.
Sometimes, I find myself a lot more productive at coffee shops such as Starbucks.
Here’s a unique location I worked from:
However, when it comes to meeting clients, training students, I use an office. I currently share an office with an already operating business. I negotiated, value added to their company and brokered out a deal that’s a win-win for both businesses.
The Tools I Use to Work from Home to Coordinate Projects
Google Drive allows me to share my documents with others and I have everything uploaded there from my resume, IC photo, content on my website, in nicely compartmentalized files. I can access it from any part of the world.
DropBox is useful for sharing video files. I use dropbox to host my free eBooks for others to download.
This book is a life changer. You NEED to get it. It’ll teach you about systems and framework.
I organize my whole life in systems now, from the shirt I wear to my business sales funnels, email accounts and logistics. This is how I run MarcusNeo.Com as a one man show. This is also how I create a truly rich life: one that isn’t limited to making money from stocks or business, but also with fulfilling relationships.
How to Work from Home: Negotiate with Your Company
It’s highly unlikely that if you’re a full time fresh graduate in Singapore, your boss is going to let you work from home. However, you can always try and negotiate using exact line by line 4 step process I use to negotiate anything:
1. Accumulate a track record AND add value
People think you need to be assertive or loud when it comes to negotiating. However, one of the form of negotiation is through principle. If you have a track record, work performance, portfolio, you’re able to use that to negotiate with your company to allow you to work from home.
Either that, you add value to the company. Tell the your boss what’s in it FOR THEM, if you’re allowed to work from home.
- Get things done more efficiently
- Increase your ability to handle more project
2. Agree, and reframe and make your case
It’s uncommonly for my friends who are working for Singaporean companies, aside from entrepreneurs, to work from home.
You’re mostly likely going to rejected the first time. In this case, you can agree, and reframe the conversation:
I understand that ABC Co. hasn’t done it in the past. However, this could be a great opportunity for the company. We have the technology to make this possible.
And given my work performance track record here, by testing it out with me on a small scale, it is risk free to the company. I’ve also been so burned out from commute, and believe I can add more value to the company by working from home. If it doesn’t work out, we can always go back to the old way.
So what do you think?
3. Wait for the other party to get back to you
Okay, now, just shut up and wait.
How to Work from Home: Freelancers with Skillsets in Demand
In Singapore, it’s unusually common to hear of employers allowing their employees to work from home.
However, it isn’t impossible, I have a friend who runs a 6 figure business in the E-Commerce business, and I haven’t seen him for months. Hint: he’s currently travelling the world. I also have friends who run affiliate SEO sites selling Amazon products, SEO consultants, web designers and digital marketers. They are all Singaporeans and all work from home in Singapore.
People that I met over the years that work from home are mostly:
Freelancers with Skills in Demand:
- Search engine optimization consultants
- Digital marketing consultants
- Web designers
- Social media marketers
- English teachers
- People with unique skillsets that is accomplished from a laptop
Since I enjoyed writing, and it’s almost effortless for me, I invested in copywriting, search engine optimization and digital marketing courses. I’ll share with you my story of how I got deals that allowed me to work from home.
Here’s a service contract from a company engaged me to do copywriting:
You bet, I’m going to be doing the majority of the work from home, only showing up for important meetings and deadlines. When I was consulting in search engine optimization, I closed deals of $7200 and $9000 respectively and was able to handle these SEO projects anytime, anywhere. You can check out my client’s testimonials here and here.
Ultimately, you need the RIGHT skillsets, you need to invest in your own education.
There’s no short cut around it. That’s why I invested up to $10,000 in my own education from investment courses, search engine optimization courses, entrepreneurial courses over the last six years.
Start Your Own Business: Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
Okay, what if you want to take it to another step and become an entrepreneur?
I eventually started my business with these skillsets and started coaching men on social skills as a dating coach, working from home on the weekdays and taking them out to bars and night clubs on the weekends to talk to girls.
Yes, it’s a dream job.
However, entrepreneurship is NOT easy. You’ll face failure multiple times and it’s quite an isolating journey at times. The majority of businesses also require huge capital start up and partners. I’ll teach you how you can keep your full time job or studies by launching a low cost business without much risk. You can also learn from this entrepreneurial process: the grit required to become one.
If you are equipped with the right skillsets, you can take the next step by launching a low cost business just through a simple website.
Here’s a simple business model that I know of people using to generate up to $4000-5000SGD a month.
- Find a niche in Singapore with a digital consumer demand
- Generate leads for the company through SEO, Facebook or Pay Per Click, get a commission
- Or get them to pay you as a digital marketing consultant on a retainer fee
You check out my guide to local SEO in Singapore to get you started.
Closing Thoughts on Working from Home in Singapore
This lifestyle offers you a lot of freedom and choices. However, it also teaches you to focus on the things that truly matters. I used to be the most unaccountable, lazy person during my Junior College years. However, when I started working from home, started freelancing, building websites and eventually my own business, social opportunities became lesser and the distractions are endless.
These days, I’m happy to report that I’m a lot more accountable in all areas of my life from health, business and relationships, a truly rich life.
P.S. I only consult on SEO, copywriting and digital marketing for clients that are a right fit, because I hate getting called up and screamed at for uploading a wrong sized header image. I might do training programs for start ups or SMEs. Check out my business consultant page.