I Want to Work from Home …or do I?

So, you want to launch your own home-based business? Congratulations! Running your own business from home can be a very rewarding experience for many reasons including having better work-life balance, flexible hours, and low overhead costs. It may also be nice to wear what you’re most comfy in!

Still, a home-based business is not for everyone. Before you launch, here are six factors to consider:

1. Motivation & Personality
Working by yourself each day requires motivation. You must know what your goals are and why they are important to you. While the obvious motivators may include income, need, and quality of life, it’s also important to understand your personality. There are people who love working alone. They thrive in this environment. Then there are people who need the social element of being around others. If you are the latter, a home-based business may become too lonely – regardless of other motivators. In this case, a co-working space, business incubator or office-on-demand offers an ideal solution! In each case, you can meet and talk with others as well as enjoy the benefits of being self-employed. If you’re somewhere in the middle, some clever home office enhancements, such as playing music or listening to talk radio can help.

2. Work Space
How you work is just as important as what you do for work. When working at home, this is particularly important because there are many other demands competing for your attention. Before setting up shop, ask yourself a few relevant questions. Do you have a dedicated workspace? Is the space sufficient for things like storing equipment, office supplies, and inventory? Do you have to meet with customers, suppliers, or others here? Is the space secure both in terms of physical and digital access?

3. Professional Image
How important is your professional image to your customers? For many online businesses, not very. For others, having a professional mailing address and meeting with clients could be quite important. For professional mailing addresses, check out UPS Stores who now offer small business street addresses versus just a PO Box. You can access your mail 24/7, as well as take advantage of other shipping-related services. Virtual offices offer similar value, in addition to other facility offerings and services. This can come in handy when you have to meet with clients. In addition to virtual offices, some Chambers of Commerce are now offering access to low-cost shared office space.

4. Zoning Regulations
Zoning refers to the rules and regulations that apply to the use of land and buildings within a community. To ensure that your home-based business complies with these, reach out to your city or town planning department to learn what they are. If you live in a home or condo that is regulated by a homeowners or condo association, you’ll want to check with them as well as there are bylaws that you’ll want to comply with. In each case, knowing ahead of time, what’s expected can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle down the road.

5. Insurance Coverage
Did you know that a homeowner’s or apartment insurance policy does not typically cover business assets and related claims? It’s true. To make sure your assets are covered, check out one of our prior blog posts titled, Do You Really Need Business Insurance?

6. Work-Life Balance
Having a home-based business introduces a new kind of challenge to work-life balance because the demands of each area can start to overlap. If your home life includes children and endless “honey-do” lists, it can dominate your attention and leave less time for getting any work done – or getting any work done efficiently and effectively. In these situations, it’s important to set boundaries. Family members must be made aware of and respect your work area and time. When they do, it can be a win/win for everyone.

For additional tips on setting up the ideal home office, check out How to Make Your Home Office More Productive.

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