Owning your own home business is truly a privilege no one should take for granted. That doesn’t mean however it’s there for the taking for anyone. To run a home business is not an easy life, it means you are now responsible for running an entire business that happens to be headquartered at your home office.
Here are a few questions to ask to help determine if this is the right choice (or the right time) for you.
Do you have the financial means to support yourself?
Working from home you will certainly save yourself expenses which would be incurred if you were to run a business from an office space. For starters, you save on rent, gas, wear and tear on the car, and of course eating out, however there are other new expenses which you will incur.
For example, to set up a new home office there will be equipment you will need to purchase. Not only will you need a laser printer for cutting checks (inkjet printers will smear when wet), if you plan on doing your own brochures and display print outs you will need a nice color printer. Again, color laser printers are what you really want to purchase for any kind of promotional or marketing brochures as the colors are crisper and sharper.
Additional equipment will also include a proper phone system. Using a home answering machine or even a personal cell for your main business phone line is impractical and simply unprofessional. Using a cell is fine, but not for the initial point of contact with potential clients.
There are phone systems that can be used which work over the internet, using a technology called VOIP (Voice over IP) or for more advanced users with a few employees, a a provider for sip trunking might have a good solution as well. These services can range as low as $39 into the hundreds. You can set voice mail box options, call forwarding, extensions, and many other personal preferences through an account setting.
Don’t forget office supplies such as paper, fax paper, staples, binders, folders, desks, phones, notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, and the list can go on. Individually these do not cost much, but start adding them
Do you have the budget to start out?
Taking these considerations into account, it’s time to start jotting down all your expenses – business and nonbusiness. What about your mortgage (or rent), groceries, insurance, credit card bills, marketing and promotion, travel expenses, etc. Add these all up along with what you expect to pay yourself and you’ve got a rough idea of your monthly expenses.
If you are not able to cover these basic expenses it is time to start doing some planning and hold off on quitting your day job. Figure out how long it will take to save up for at least 6 months of expenses. Until you can save up that much, it will be very risky not only starting your home business but also laying a good foundation for a greater chance of becoming a success.
Can you set boundaries and stay focused?
Some people might argue it’s harder to focus in an office with co-workers all around, while others argue it is harder to focus from their own home. The fact is if you want to work from home, there have to be boundaries set in order to retain focus.
For example, if you have your own office in your home – do you set specific hours where family or roommates should not plan on disturbing you whenever they want to? Setting specific hours to be left alone will help eliminate any unnecessary distractions that can keep you from getting done what needs to get done. As with all things in business, time is money – how much you choose to spend wisely or waste is up to you.
Can you learn to say No?
One of the most unexpected curve balls a new work at home person will probably experience is the perception that others around them will have of their new “job”. The perception is that if you work at home you have more flexibility with your schedule and can take off for a quick bite to go eat or take a coffee break because you don’t have a “boss” keeping track of your time.
However, you are your own boss and you have got to make sure that you adhere to same strictness that would be expected if working for someone else. Learning to be disciplined and responsible with your tasks, job, and time is a critical component to achieving your goals you’ve set with your business, which means success!