Alexandra Cain Finance Writer
Working from home is a great way to establish a start up. It helps keep costs down at a time in the business’s life when every cent counts. It also offers the freedom to combine working and a family, for both genders. But it’s important to understand how to address some of the limitations of working at home before you set out on your own.
Procrastination is the home-based worker’s worst enemy. It’s so easy to pop to the shops or put on a load of washing, rather than settling down to do some work. To avoid this, when you start working from home, work in the same way as you would from an office. Set a start and finish time and get out of the tracksuit and into a smart casual outfit. If you operate in a business-like way even if you’re working from home, you’re much more likely to stay focused.
Will my business work?
One of the main considerations when you start a business from home is whether it will work. So before you start, you will need to do substantial research to work out if there’s a market for your product or service. Prepare a proper business plan, do extensive market research and build a revenue model that looks out at least three years. That should give you the confidence to approach your new business with real enthusiasm and drive.
Leave the house
One of the challenges of working from home is lack of contact with the outside world. There are many ways to ensure you’re not isolated. One idea is to form a regular coffee club with other local businesses. It’s a great way to get feedback on new ideas and you may even be able to refer work to each other. Local business chambers are also a great way to network with other businesses in your local community.
Organise your finances
Do some planning to manage your finance. Think about how you will pay yourself a salary and how you will ensure you manage your tax obligations. Also don’t forget about getting disciplined about putting a little aside into your superannuation.
Maintain a work/life balance
A trap when it comes to working from home is never switching off from work, which is not only detrimental to your health it’s also detrimental to your family’s wellbeing. Which is why it’s really important to set boundaries. Ideally, have a dedicated office on which you can close the door at the end of the day. Of course one of the reasons why working from home is so attractive is because it’s possible to be flexible about when you work. But avoid a situation where you are working around the clock. Be sure to take regular breaks during the day and go away on holiday, so you’re not always in the same place. It’s a great way to refresh and recharge and get some perspective on your working life.
A home-based business offers many benefits. Importantly, it allows you to build your own enterprise, and scale it up when the business model has been proven. But make sure you think about whether working from home really is for you before you hand in your resignation letter.
About the author
Alexandra Cain is a finance journalist who contributes regularly to The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Please note that this article is not financial product advice and does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs.