Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to make a comment under his blog posts or send him a personal message at member nickname, "Rich," here at StartupNation.

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I know… The home office sounds to some like a place where you might escape the wound-up intensity of the corporate world. But the home-based business warriors in the StartupNation community know better. Just because we’re working from home and sidestepping the commute-and-cubicle drudgery doesn’t mean our feet are kicked up on our desks as we watch reruns on the TV in the background.

The fact is that we’re incredibly passionate about what we do. We start early, digging right in, jamming away on our website updates, getting that game-changing proposal out the door. And we demonstrate consistently to our clients that we’re “always available,” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The gratification that comes from making the tough decisions, answering to no one, mustering up the creative solutions, breaking through with a client—all in a favorite pair of blue jeans—is beyond compare.

Knowing how much time I spend working from home and knowing the high standards of quality that are part of my personal and business brand, some friends at Microsoft asked me to give you a snapshot of what I consider to be the ultimate home office setup. At the center of many a home office universe—and certainly mine—is the machine that brings it all together and makes it all happen—my Windows Vista Ultimate-based PC. I was happy to share my thoughts because, frankly, having all the right bells and whistles is sometimes exactly what you need to take your work to the next level. The latest and greatest technology keeps you at top form.

With my ultimate PC multitasking right there with me, my work now happens at the speed of thought—and most days, that thinking is fast! Whether it’s recruiting new clients, peeling away the layers of endless web research, or building masterpiece documents, a typical mid-afternoon moment finds me with something like 24 e-mail replies, three .jpg files, and seven Excel documents open. Add to that a .pdf of a white paper on search marketing and another one with the most recent comp of a client’s new brochure. Then, throw in a smattering of partially complete Word documents and multiple web pages open in Internet Explorer 7.

With this crush of tasks going on at any given time, I look to my PC to be the model of power, flexibility, functionality, and usability. Gotta have that monitor that’s a thrill to look at for hours on end. Gotta have wireless components that help me operate untethered. Gotta have internal components that let me work brain-fast and without boundaries… So many “gottas!”

With my PC in play, I am on the grid—but from a sacred place called home. And I’m equipped to the nines and ready to take in every opportunity and take on any competitor. In my line of work, I get to peer into the lives of thousands of entrepreneurs who work at home. They’re hip, they’re smart, and they’re making it happen by leveraging the best of the best in technology. There are no excuses for slow or inefficient these days. Business, especially at the home office, is about being on your mark at all times. Sometimes, to beat the system, you have to have the best systems. And that’s why having the ultimate PC setup makes so much sense.

I was asked to provide a schematic that’s kind of a home office of my dreams. The site they built around that “Ultimate Home Office” is very cool, so you might want to check it out.