Running a business from home is becoming more and more common as time goes on. There are many reasons you might want to start your own business, but it’s likely that working from home is just an economically savvy and convenient bonus.
Not sure what you are going to need to be successful? Here are five essentials you will need if you are planning on running a business from your home.
1. A designated home office space
You might work from home, but that doesn’t mean setting up shop in the kitchen or living room is always going to work out in your favor. Working in the same spaces you eat, relax and sleep makes it difficult to separate your work life from your personal life, another essential aspect of running a business from home.
If you can, designate a specific space in your home in which you do all your work and store any work-related materials. Don’t use that space for making personal phone calls or surfing the web. When you leave that space at the end of the day, your work should stay there.
The way you arrange and organize your home office is also important if you want to be productive and run a successful business from home. Check out these tips for ideas on the best way to organize your office space for optimal productivity and efficiency. Make it comfortable yet work-centric.
2. A work-exclusive phone and email account
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to work from home is not learning soon enough, or never learning at all, how to separate your work life from your home life. This is made much more difficult when we try to use technology for both professional and personal use. Phone and email and other forms of communication can be constant, but you shouldn’t be getting work calls or emails at 9 p.m.
Separating work and home life is essential, and possible, even when you work from home. Sometimes even your designated office space won’t be enough if you are trying to handle work calls and important business emails on the same device and account you use to communicate with family and friends.
Designate a device for professional use and one for personal use. This way, you can rest assured that any text, call or email you get will be from someone that (hopefully) only wants to talk business. Leave those devices and accounts alone when you aren’t working; only focus on personal matters when you’re out of the office.
3. Specific work and “no work” hours
There is a good reason for creating designated work spaces and communication tools such as phones and email accounts. If you try to do work from your personal phone or email account, you are going to have a pretty hard time leaving work, and that is not good news for the future of your business.
You need to separate your work time from your personal time. If you try to do both personal and professional tasks at the same time, not only are you not going to be able to get as much done as you need to, but you are going to start feeling overwhelmed and disorganized.
Start working at a specific time in the morning, such as 10:00. Other than a few breaks throughout the day, focus only on work. Don’t answer personal texts or phone calls. Don’t check social media unless it’s part of your job. Choose a designated time to “leave” work, and when that time comes, log off, shut down and walk away.
4. Tools to network with people within your industry
The one downside to working from home is that you lose the social aspect of working in the same space as co-workers and higher-ups. Working from home gets pretty lonely at times, but you can fulfill your social needs and work to grow your business simultaneously by using online tools to make connections with other business owners without leaving your work space.
Social media tools such as LinkedIn and processional Facebook groups are great virtual platforms for meeting and “talking” with entrepreneurs within your industry. You can make connections with those you may want to work with in the future and check out the companies they are running and how their missions might align with yours.
Tools like these are also great for sharing ideas, asking questions and learning about and promoting upcoming events you might benefit from attending as a business owner. You can learn a lot from fellow professionals in your field by sharing articles and gathering their opinions on current events and industry news.
5. A productive team and strong tools for remote communication
You can’t run an entire business all on your own, no matter how much you might want to believe it’s possible. You are going to need someone to help you stay organized and make sure everything keeps running smoothly. It also helps to bounce ideas off of team members and delegate tasks to them so you can focus on bigger tasks.
You don’t have to work in the same space as someone to add them to your team. Build and organize a virtual team environment that sets your business up for success all from your home office. It’s easy these days to search online for virtual office assistants and freelancers who will work remotely with you to help you get things done.
Set up and utilize helpful online tools beyond email and Google Drive or Dropbox to help team members from all over the country, maybe even all over the world, meet up, collaborate and share ideas and finished projects with one another. Be involved in these processes without micro-managing too much.
With a clear separation between work and home life, handy online networking tools and a virtual team and organization system that will help you keep everything running smoothly, you will be able to run a successful and profitable business without having to work in a “real” office. Good luck!