Is a home office really the best option for your business?

Is a home office really the best option for your business?

A HOME OFFICE VERSUS AN OFF-SITE OFFICE

Which office type is best for your business?

Every company or business establishment have their own office space where customers or potential clients visit them to conduct business. An office is a place where all professional matters are handled and any business transactions are conducted.  Having an office premise gives a professional image to a business and is preferable for many small business owners. However, some people find working at an office inconvenient because of commuting time, restricted opening hours if the office is within a shared building etc.  Or, they may simply not be able to afford the premises.  Therefore, many small business owners decide to run their business from a home office.

How do you choose?

Working from Home

Home-based business owners set up their home offices where they handle all work-related tasks. In fact, most set up their own home office where they can entertain clients and business associates at home. Many find this a convenient set-up since they can attend to their work while able to still spend time with their family.

However, with the accessibility of the comforts available within your home, it is easy to fall into the wrong idea that you are not working. Hence, you need to develop a sound level of self-discipline in order to separate business from pleasure and focus on what you need to do at work.

Which is better?

There are several considerations that one has to make before deciding whether to opt for a home office or an off-site office instead. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that one is the better option over the other. The best way for you to decide is to come up with a checklist of these pros and cons. Then, determine whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa.

Also, you need to consider your own attitude towards work. If you are the type of person who had to be constantly reminded and lacks the initiative to work on their own, then setting up a home office could be a devastating idea. Below are a list of pros and cons that would help you come up with a decision.

Home office: Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • You have more freedom of flexibility in terms of working hours.
  • You can reduce costs such as office rental, fuel usage (from driving to and from the office), and tax deductions.
  • It is convenient since you won’t have to dress up just to get to work. You can have your breakfast or spend time with your family and then conveniently check your email.

Cons:

  • If you’re the type who needs to get motivated to work, a home office might not be conducive to you getting your work done.
  • There are a lot of potential interruptions at home.
  • There are a lot of home office considerations to make such as securing all office equipment you need at home, office furniture, and some other operational needs.

 

Off-site office: Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • The level of pressure and urgency motivates you to produce quality work.
  • The working environment is ideally designed to make working easier for you.
  • You have access to all of the equipment or tools you need to conduct your work.

Cons:

  • You have to commute from and to work daily. It becomes more difficult for those who live far from the office.
  • Dealing with other workers within the building can be difficult for some, especially with clashing interests and personalities.
  • The expense of renting the premises

 

The decision is now yours as to which is best for you and your business.  Whichever you choose, ensure you have everything you need to hand in your premises and make it a professional, yet comfortable place to work.

 

 

The secrets to a successful home business

The secrets to a successful home business

10 top tips for running a home business

Running a home business has a whole set of challenges of its own.  You are solely responsible for being disciplined in your work and not drifting off to do a spot of housework or accepting friends in for coffee who turn up on your doorstep.

If you are running a home business, here are my top 10 tips to help make the difference between treating your business in a professional manner in order for it to be successful, or letting it slip into the realms of an expensive hobby.

1. Create a separate workspace

Make sure that you have a separate home office or area for working so that you can keep all your paperwork and work-related items in one place.  This helps to shut off at the end of the work day rather than having bits and pieces all over the place. It is important to let other household members know that this is your sacred space and not to be interfered with on pain of death!!

2. Get organized

The amount of time it takes to get organised in the first place will repay itself tenfold (or much more) further down the line.  Get files and organise a filing system for your workspace.  Clear away non-essential items that are causing unnecessary clutter.  Make sure you have all the necessary items for doing your work close to hand to save time hunting in the back of cupboards and drawers.  Treat your workspace with the importance it deserves.  Remember, you are running a business, not a hobby.

3. Define your working hours

One of the biggest failings of women running a home business is not setting working hours.  This results in either working a straight 15 (or more) hours with no break or working intermittently and fitting in household chores between work tasks that distract and disrupt the workflow.  Firstly, determine when you are most productive and then at what times you need to be available to clients.  Decide how many hours you are going to work each day and stick to this!

Running your own business from home gives you the flexibility to decide when you are going to work and it doesn’t have to be all in one chunk like a traditional 9 to 5 job.  You may want to do a few hours in the morning, take the afternoons off and then do a few more hours in the evening.  Having some sort of structure to your day can make you much more productive than just working on an ad hoc basis.

4. Have a support network

Constantly talking to yourself and losing your grip with what is going on in the outside world is all too easy when working from home which can easily lead to losing your motivation.  Make sure you remove yourself from your home once in a while to network with others to make new contacts, pick up new ideas and realise you are not alone.

5. Get into a routine

Having a routine and putting some structure into your day can make you so much more productive.  Create a monthly, weekly and daily routine where possible.  Block outset days/hours for marketing, admin, checking the finances, networking, calling new prospects etc.   Have set hours for checking emails and social media so that you don’t keep dipping in and out constantly which will take up far more time in the long run and keep distracting you from your key work.

6. Plan your work

The old adage goes ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ and this is so true when running a home business.  If you just get up each morning with no clear plan of what you intend to do for the day, you are likely to dip in and out of different tasks with no clear direction and end up not getting a lot actually completed.

At the end of each day set out your three priority tasks for the next day.  Make sure one of these is a key task that is going to take you, at least, one step closer to your end goal.  When you complete these three key tasks, you can then move on to a more fun task that you love doing but isn’t high on the priority list.  Working this way will help keep you motivated to complete the necessary tasks first with the reward of doing something more fun at the end.

If you find that you are not completing your three key tasks, move any unfinished item over to the next day and put a red dot next to it. If it doesn’t get completed on day 2, move it forward and add another red dot against it.  If you get to any item with three red dots you have to stop everything you are doing and either just do it, delegate it to someone else who can do it or delete it as it simply cannot be that important.

7. Take time out

Working from home can become all-consuming and we forget to take time out to recharge and refresh ourselves.  We keep trying to squeeze in just a bit more work and then a bit more which leaves us frazzled, irritable and resentful.  Schedule regular breaks from your workspace to do something non-work related such as going for a walk, reading a book or going out to lunch with a friend.  As they say, ‘a change is as good as a rest’.

8. Schedule family time

A danger of running a business from home is starting to neglect your family.  Just because you are at home and they can see you, doesn’t mean that you are spending time with them if you are constantly working.  Make sure you set out your working hours and allocate time out each week to focus purely on the family.  No taking calls or dipping into emails.  What is the point of working so hard if you can’t have some quality time with the ones you love?

9. Set expectations with family

When running a home business, it really can become a struggle balancing your business with having family around.  To help ease frustrations, set expectations with your family.  Set yourself specific working hours and let your family know that during these hours you will be working.

If you work from a separate room let them know that if the door is closed, you are not to be disturbed unless in an emergency.  Also, extend this to friends so they know they cannot just pop in for a coffee and a chat when they feel like it.  You need to be able to communicate with friends and family so they understand that just because you work from home does not make your work any less important than if you were out working for a large corporation.

10. Have fun!

It is all too easy to get so caught up in the nitty-gritty of our business that we start to lose the passion and forget the fun we had in starting up.  Recapture the passion and love for your business by taking some time to have fun.  This is both by booking time out and also looking for ways to have fun in your business day.  If you can start to enjoy it again, you gain more energy and the creative juices start to flow once again.

 

Follow these tips for running your home business and if you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments box below.

Ideas to make money from home

Ideas to make money from home

Would you like to make money from home?  Whether as a full time career or just to earn a little extra cash, who wouldn’t like to make more money? I have yet to meet that person.

The level of want will depend on your individual circumstances. If you are in a decent job and leading a comfortable lifestyle, you may want to make some extra cash on odd occasions by selling excess items from around the home.

However, if you find your household income suddenly reduced, as I did a few years ago, the matter becomes more pressing and quick, simple ideas need to be actioned quickly.

The best way I have found to make money is to find something you enjoy doing and turn that hobby into something profitable (selling on ebay was not something I enjoyed at all!!!!!).

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These days, working from home seems to be what increasing numbers of people are talking about. Working from home seems like a great situation. The problem is trying to find ways to earn money at home.

Ideas about ways to make money from home

Telecommute

Many people choose to telecommute as their first job outside the workplace. Telecommuting is convenient because it is simply working for a company from your own home. You may do things like write articles, answer phones, or do data entry. This is a comfortable option for most people because it will provide you with a steady pay cheque.

Multi level marketing

Direct sales or multi level marketing is another popular method to make money or start a home based business. You will get a commission of products that you sell through direct sales. You can also choose a multi-level marketing (MLM) system which pays commissions through several levels of sales reps. Whichever method of sales you prefer, there are hundreds of products you can choose to sell. You can sell anything from books to vitamins to skin care.

Crafts

Some people enjoy crafting and if there is a particular craft that you are good at, you can make money from home be selling at craft fairs. It’s easy to make your crafts at home and bring them to the fair to sell. This is an especially good way to pick up some money at Christmas time, when many people are buying presents. Or if you prefer, selling crafts is something that you can do year round.

Sell on Ebay

Who doesn’t have a treadmill or box of clothes sitting somewhere collecting dust? Gather up all of the things that you don’t need anymore and sell them on eBay. Some people find that they really enjoy doing this and continue after they’ve cleaned their own house by purchasing things cheaply at garage sales and then reselling them on eBay. You can also buy things at wholesale prices that you can then turnaround and sell for a higher cost.

Sell your skills

Everyone has a skill that someone else either can’t do or doesn’t have the time for. It’s time to start thinking of these skills as a viable way to make money from home. Advertise your skills in your neighbourhood. Maybe you could do the ironing, dog walking, gardening or babysitting.

Affiliate marketing

You can make money from home by recommending products. Affiliate marketing pays you a commission every time a person buys a product that you recommend. It’s usually done online. The great thing about affiliate marketing is that once you’ve set up the process, you can keep earning money residually.

By now you should have some idea of what you want to do. Remember that you should always try to have fun when you work to make money from home. It will keep you motivated to keep earning.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

*Do you need a little help to get your idea off the ground?  Become a member of The Small Business Kit today.

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