Running a home-based business comes with many perks, like flexibility, the ability to create your own schedule, and even tax breaks. These benefits are hard to beat, but there can be challenges too.
To insure your success, you want to set up your office and systems to keep you productive and profitable. Here’s how:
1. Evaluate your space
When working at home, you need to take into consideration the needs of your work. Will you be working with clients in your home? Will you want them coming into the make-shift office in the corner or your bedroom to do that? Also consider distractions and space, all of which can make it difficult to get work done. I need natural light, so I’d never be able to have an office in a basement without a window.
2. Stock up and set up
To take the home office tax deduction, your office must be used regularly and exclusively for your business. So find a space you can set up and leave up. Include furniture that allows you to work, such as a desk and chair, but also pieces that help you keep needed materials on hand. You don’t want to have to go into another room to get paper or run the printer.
3. Set a schedule
You may be dreaming about the flexibility you’ll soon have at your fingertips, but if your business is going to be profitable, it will require work. To set your schedule, consider:
- How many hours per day you’ll need to get your business off and running.
- What your current schedule looks like.
- When you work best.
- When your customers and business partners are available.
4. Keep your personal life separate
When you work from an actual office space, it’s easy to leave work tasks at work. You may think about it after hours, but everything you need to do your job is at the office. When you work from home, it’s much easier to blur that line. Remember that you have a set schedule. Things may come up unexpectedly, but try to find a way to stay away from your office space when you’re not working. This is critical for your mental health and happiness — and that of your family, too.
5. Create a strong team
Work with experts on parts of your business where you are not an expert. For example, if you are not good with computer hardware, hire someone to help you set up your computer network. Or, if you are not an expert on taxes, find a good tax advisor. Focus your business on your areas of expertise and strength, and hire experts to help you with your areas of weakness.
6. Have a plan to tackle your top priority
Establish a work routine and system, that focuses on getting the most important tasks done first. For me, I work on immediate money-making activities first, and other busy tasks later.
7. Be honest with yourself
Not everyone is capable of working from home. Be honest with yourself about your work habits and what makes you happy before you decide to start a business from home.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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