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Getting Down to Business at Home

Aug 17, 2007
If you spend a lot of time at home, unable to work in a full time job because of your domestic responsibilities, you may have given some thought to starting a home based business. But how would you go about it? What changes would you need to make to convert your home so that it could also be your office?

Most people whose work is based at home set aside a special room or a special area for working in. This will help you to keep your work materials organised and it will also make it clear to other people when you are and are not working, reducing the chances of you being disturbed halfway through an important task. So what will you need in your workspace? Some people get by with just a laptop and a cupboard, but it's much easier if you have a comfortable desk to work at and somewhere to store files. Even a modern computer-based business can generate a lot of paperwork, and it will be important for you to keep paper copies of all important documents, especially legal and financial materials. Ideally, these should be in a secure place - lockable drawers may reduce insurance costs. If your business is going to be dealing in cash, you'll also need a safe in which to store your petty cash box.

Because you're going to spending a lot of time in your home office, you'll need to make it as pleasant as possible. Make sure you have a comfortable chair which isn't going to hurt your back when you spend long hours working. Make sure you can get some daylight and fresh air, which help to reduce stress. You will almost certainly need a computer and you'll also need access to a telephone. Having to run in and out of your office to make and receive phone calls can be extremely disruptive. You should think about getting a dedicated phone line for your business, especially if you have children who might otherwise answer the phone to customers.

Every home based business requires storage space, not only for files but also for incoming and outgoing mail and for the materials you're working with. The more organised you can be with this from the very outset, the less time you will waste chasing up or replacing lost items. Don't be tempted to take work with you into the living room or kitchen as you do other household tasks - if everything is based in one place you are far less likely to run into difficulty.

When your business is based at home you'll need to find ways of separating your professional and domestic lives. You will probably want to avoid having clients turn up at the door. You may wish to consider getting your mail sent to you via a P.O. box. Many small businesses have their head offices officially based at their solicitors' offices, thereby gaining more prestigious business addresses and preserving their privacy.

A home based business means that you can adjust your hours to fit around your other activities, but it also means that you can find yourself under a lot of pressure to work when you really ought to be relaxing or spending time with your family. You will need to be disciplined about breaks as well as about work if you are to prevent your work from intruding too far into your personal life. Properly managed, however, this can be a very rewarding way to work. You'll never have to worry about commuting again, and you can start work in the morning as soon as you feel ready, taking breakfast with you if you want. Nobody will interfere with the way you like to organise your day, and as your business grows you will know that it is all thanks to your own hard work.
About the Author
Dassana Jayalath is the editor of WebSuperTips newsletter. Visit http://www.WebSuperTips.com/newbie.html get your copy of ecourse worh $97 (while the free offer last) : Newbie's Guide To Profitable Internet Home Business
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