What to Know About Running a Business From Home

By Nan Werther , last updated October 5, 2011

Running a business from home can be a great way to reap many benefits that full-time jobs at an office can't offer. Not only do you get to set your own hours, but you avoid a lengthy commute that can save you valuable time and money. Entrepreneurs and others with alternative types of employment arrangements are often wooed by the accessibility of an ever-present office. However, the reality is that working from home can easily become overwhelming and inefficient without a proper schedule and some imposed boundaries. Operating an office from home can be a successful and productive enterprise when you know how to set up your space.

Set a Schedule

Most people enjoy the fact that they're not restricted to a nine to five work schedule. However, that doesn't mean do away with order altogether. Setting up a schedule that reflects when you're most productive and can naturally integrate into your life is recommended. Finding what works for you is important. If you do your best work at midnight, why are you forcing yourself to get up at 6 am? Conversely, if you find yourself more drawn to a book or the TV after 7 pm, chances are you should stick to getting up earlier and getting the work out of the way. Being disciplined in this regard especially will reinforce your productivity.

Sanity Follows Structure

Once you've found a schedule that works, maintain it diligently. Because your ultimate goal is productivity while working, you will oftentimes be required to communicate your structure to others around you in order to meet your goals. Many of those who work from home find that others expect them to be available. If sharing space with others in the household, you might find that you'll need to reiterate that when you are at your desk or in your office you need your space to be respected. Get acquainted with saying "no" in order to protect your work time. While at first this might be difficult, especially for the parent doing double duty, maintaining a structure will ensure your sanity.

Set Limits

It's easy to overdo it when you have constant access to your home office. At the same time, just because work is constantly available doesn't mean it should take over your life. When your day is done, fight the temptation to check your email in bed unless it's absolutely necessary or a deadline needs immediate attention. Establish your boundaries.

Get Help

Many entrepreneurs enjoy working from home for the money saving advantages. However, if you find that as business grows you're struggling to maintain all aspects of the business don't hesitate to seek some help. Hire a babysitter to watch children several hours a week, an accountant to manage your bills, or a house cleaning service to get the major chores out of the way so you can stop feeling overwhelmed. You'll find there are ways to incorporate these extra expenses into your budget and you'll enjoy the extra breathing room they provide.

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