Starting a full or part-time home business is a major decision that requires research and planning that can seem daunting. But before you put off or dismiss doing it, consider these reasons why you should work at home.
Being in charge of your day is one of the biggest benefits of working from home. You can set and customize your work hours to meet the needs of your life. Do you wish you could take a power nap in the middle of the day? You can as a home business owner. Do you do your best work late at night? You can schedule your work time then.
However, this freedom can also bring with it distracting temptations and the risk of procrastinating on work-related tasks. You’ll want to make sure you have the right entrepreneurial traits and a good daily organizational plan to handle this new responsibility. If you have a family, a partner, or have roommates, you’ll have to ensure that your home environment is conducive to the work environment you need.
If you feel like your job is taking up too much time, having a home business could be the solution. Having a flexible schedule means you can make time for your kids and family, if you have them, or pursue other personal interests. If you want to homeschool while running your business, you can.
Balancing work and life at home can be challenging if certain rules and standards are not set and followed. Continuous interruptions from your children, for instance (while welcome and a good way to take a break) can cause you to lose quite a bit of work time.
However, achieving a work/life balance does take some planning and time management. In some cases, you may still need to arrange for child care.
One of the best aspects of starting a home business is being able to turn a hobby or a passion into income. In fact, you’re more likely to achieve success if you focus on pursuing your passion for profits when starting a home business.
Working outside the home not only takes a lot of time, especially if you have a long commute, but also job-related travel expenses. Americans spend an average of $386 per month on gas. Cutting down on a daily commute would put some of that money back in your pocket. Other expenses many don’t consider are tolls, wear and tear on the car, and more frequent tune-ups.
Many people choose not to start a business because they worry about making a consistent, livable income. While the potential ebb and flow nature of running a home business is something you need to consider, the reality is that a home business can allow you to earn what you’re worth.
As a home business owner, you set your own income goals, as well as your own product or service prices. As long as you do the work that needs to be done, such as drumming up new customers and marketing your business, you’re likely to make a profit.
Further, when you have a home business, you can deduct your expenses first and pay taxes on net income. With that said, it’s important to learn about home business deductions, reporting, and when to pay to ensure you’re following proper tax laws. Ideally, you should consult a tax expert.
No more blazers and dress pants. No more ties or pantyhose. You can wear whatever you want in your home office. If you’re most comfortable and inspired in your fluffy bathrobe, you can wear it every day if you want.
A home business is ideal for someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do. You can do the work in the way you feel is best. Further, home business owners don’t have to feel guilty for showing up late (unless of course, it’s to an appointment). There’s no having to ask for time off or calling in sick. There’s no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re working.
Being your own boss and working from home requires a level of self-discipline that takes time to cultivate. If you are just starting out, and tend to procrastinate, take it slow at first to allow yourself time to get used to it, if you are able to.
Too often, employees end up feeling stuck in their jobs. In a home business, even if your day-to-day tasks are relatively similar, there are many opportunities to mix things up more. You can work from a different location, change your schedule, or re-prioritize the order of the tasks you have to do.
Starting a business does require more initial investment than traditional work, such as gaining a working knowledge of basic accounting practices, marketing, and money for the equipment you need. To stay competitive, you’ll want to continue to study, grab some certifications, and keep abreast of current trends in your industry or small business management. In essence, you design your day and what you do, which allows you to expand and grow your skills and your business.
Operating a home-based business can be both exciting and challenging. But conducting business at home during a pandemic can take that challenge to new heights. Possible hurdles can range from having children underfoot to the temptations of the refrigerator, TV, and social media, not to mention the anxiety of ongoing news updates. Maintaining the security of sensitive documents is frequently overlooked, with potentially disastrous consequences. Following the five strategies below can help ensure that working from home is productive, safe, and profitable.
One of the first orders of business before launching a home business is taking care of the legalities. Depending on the nature of the business, it may be necessary to obtain a general business license, a special health permit, clearance for signage, or sales tax licenses. Professionals such as accountants may need to obtain a specific license from the municipality, county, or state. If clients will be coming into the home, special parking permits may also be needed. It may also be necessary to obtain a doing business as (DBA) certificate or another formal registration for businesses that are operating under an assumed name.
On one level, working from home is great. There is no dealing with rush hour traffic or crowded public transportation. Most days it’s possible to work in comfy pajamas – or dress from the waist up for online conferences. However, working from home also has its downsides. It’s far too easy to spend the day lounging about snacking and watching daytime TV. When work gets hectic, living spaces can be transformed into a disorganized mess with papers and office gear scattered everywhere. Isolation is also a potentially major problem – not only because of loneliness but also from the lack of opportunity to make connections. The solution is to embrace the advantages of working from home while also establishing a personalized routine.
The ideal situation for working from home is to set aside a separate room as a dedicated office. A guest bedroom can be converted to an office while including a comfortable sofa bed or day bed to accommodate overnight guests. Whether or not a separate room is available, establishing dedicated office space is essential. An ergonomic chair, a desk or table at the proper height, sufficient natural and supplemental light, and ample storage are all key to creating a home office that inspires productivity. Stock up on office staples such as paper, postage, and ink for the printer to avoid excessive trips to the store or post office.
There is no need to rise at 6 a.m. and be in front of the computer by 8 a.m. However, establishing a regular work routine is key to maintaining a reasonable level of productivity. Turn off the TV and avoid spending hours on social media.
Scheduled breaks are also important. Take five minutes to get up and walk around the room. Allow 15 minutes or half an hour for a TV break – but avoid watching anxiety-provoking news shows. It’s also important to schedule time to interact with colleagues or contacts via Slack, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or some other interactive chat or videoconferencing tool. Taking social media breaks is also OK – as long as you hold yourself to strict time limits.
Working from home is not only convenient for small business owners, but also for cybercriminals and identity thieves. Downloading and installing current computer software security updates is a must. And while it may be tempting to skimp on outdated equipment, this penny-wise and pound-foolish strategy can backfire in the case of ransomware or another malware attack.
Likewise, proper disposal of paper documents is a must. Opting to shred documents or even burn them is an effective way of ensuring sensitive personal or financial records do not wind up in the wrong hands.
Working from home can be a liberating change from the 9 to 5 routine. And during a worldwide pandemic, working from home is one of the safest ways to maintain an income. However, it is important to take care of legalities, set up an effective home office, and establish good cybersecurity and paper disposal practices to minimize the risk of identity theft and other security hazards. It is also important to establish a regular routine and make time for interactions with other people to reduce loneliness and maintain productivity.
Original – Eileen Conant