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Tag Archives: productivity

How I Setup My Home Office on a Shoestring Budget

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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Some time back around 2010 I decided that I had enough with working the 9-to-5. I put in my two weeks’ notice and sure enough after those days were over I was out on my own. The very same day I came back from my final day at work, I began building my business. I needed to be professional. I needed to setup a home office. Of course … it was limited to a shoestring budget as I was now unemployed and needed to stash some money for those first few months where I was getting started. This is what I did.

Finding a (Quiet) Place

The choice of where I was to work really came down to a few selections:

  • The dining room table
  • In the master bedroom
  • Cleaning out and setting up in a closet-type area

Since my work is done online, I opted for the area that was essentially designated to be a small closet-type area roughly 6ft by 6ft in dimension. For you it might be different.

  • Do you have a spare bedroom?
  • Could you potentially setup a laptop and work on the patio?
  • Would it kill you to shift around your bedroom to make space for your desk?

The place you decide upon shouldn’t matter so much in terms of size just, what matters more is that it is quiet and you’re not constantly interrupted – that’s the key. In time you’ll get adjusted to your area even if it’s small (like mine).

Setting up the Room

What goes into your home office? Probably much of the same things you have/had at your day job, so replicating the space will probably be your first choice. The office furniture you can find online (at a much steeper discount) will generally be:

  • Computer desk
  • A comfortable chair (this is a big one!)
  • Filing cabinets
  • Printer/Fax/Scanner
  • A whiteboard for ideas
  • Calendar & clock

Since this is your home office I’d suggest you set it up how you would want it. Remember that you’re no longer required to have it setup in a particular fashion (due to corporate policies). Make your office comfortable, quirky, and inspiring. Let it evolve over time and see what works for you. For me I went with a simple foldable desk that’s easy to move. My biggest expense was the computer chair since I’d be siting a good amount of the day. My back thanks me, constantly. All of it came out to be less than about $300.

Using the Right Software The business you start may vary drastically from others but there are a lot of basic programs, software, and apps that you’re likely to use every day, such as:

  • Email
  • Invoicing
  • Word processing
  • Bookeeping
  • Time management and tracking

All of these basic ones are freely provided by services like Google Drive or Open Office. Choosing free or open source software providers can cut the cost of your startup basics to practically zero. For other important programs you may have to spend a bit of cash, but remember you can often find free and open source alternatives for just about anything you need. The biggest benefit of the home office is that you get to setup and use software you want to use (and feel comfortable with). You’re not longer restricted to the programs and systems (often clunky) that you had to use at work which means you’re likely to work very proficiently since you’re comfortable and well-versed with the programs. Personally, I went the full SaaS route and either use free, online services or subscribe to a few (no more than $10 a month) to get the job done. This puts my day-to-day operational expenses (in terms of software) to mere pennies on the dollar.

Launch Time Once everything was setup, in my new office, I was finally in the right mindset to really get down to business. I had carved out my own little space to do wondrous work. It actually quite amazed me how easy it was to set one up on such a budget. I believe you too can do the same. With the right space, equipment, and software anyone with the drive to work from home can do so professionally. So … what’s holding you back from making one of your own?

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis



Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.




How to Work At Home Around a Job

How to Work At Home Around a Job

When I first decided I to work at home, I wanted to quit my job right then. But for most people, quitting your job today and working at home tomorrow isn’t realistic. Instead, you need to build your home-based income around your work and family schedule. Although this takes time, it’s the safest and most responsible way to work from home. Adding income on the side builds a nest egg and allows you develop the skills and systems you need to be successful when you do quit your job. Here are some tips to building a work-at-home career around a job.

1) Set goals. Without goals, it’s too easy to slack off on your work-at-home project. You should set a goal date for quitting your job as well as task goals designed to move you from where you are now to where you need to be on your quit date.

2) Get rid of non-essential tasks. I’m reading a really good book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It’s a little different from most books that discuss how to prioritize and focus on what’s important. It starts by reminding you that you have choices including letting non-essential stuff dictate your life. Instead, he says to choose to say ‘no’ and get rid of activities that don’t move you toward your goals whether that’s to spend more time with family or make money from home. Getting rid of non-essentials might mean that you stop doing some activities or it might mean delegating or hiring someone to do them.

3) Prioritize. It’s easier to prioritize once you get rid of tasks you don’t need to do. It also means you need to know where your time is going and pay attention to time you waste. For example, do you watch TV or read for pleasure? You might cease to do those things in the short run so you have time to build your side-income.

4) Develop a schedule. Waiting for pockets of time or the “best” time (i.e. kids are bigger, economy is better, etc) is the best way to insure you never work-at-home. The opportune time to get started on your goal is now. If time is short and you’re life is busy, get rid of non-essential activities (#2), prioritize (#3) and schedule your goal into your day. If you don’t make time for your work-at-home tasks, they won’t get done.

5) Have a to-do list. Especially if your time is short, you need a to-do list so you know exactly what needs to be done when you have scheduled the time to do it.

6) Evaluate and adjust. Nothing ever goes as planned. The faster you can evaluate your results and make necessary adjustments, the better you’ll use your time and faster you’ll be able to quit your job.



Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.