Running a small business from home can be an incredibly smart choice; after all, you don’t have to pay extra to rent the area, you can work in your pajamas, and you work completely around your own schedule. However, if you’re not careful the opportunity to work at home can cause your business to stall and you to become lazy and disorganized, which can lose you a lot of money.
Make a work zone
If you’re working from home, you’ll need someplace to do your work. While sitting on your couch with your phone and laptop seems like a great idea at first, chances are you will be much less productive in this kind of setting, and it can also hurt your body, through poor posture and non-ergonomic typing.
Without an area used specifically for work tasks, you are less likely to get yourself in “work mode” and will waste time on non-work things. The simple act of sitting in your “work chair” at a desk can help you be more productive and get more done during the day, which is crucial when you’re trying to keep a small business afloat in this economy.
Keep set hours
As nice as it sounds to work whenever you feel like it, the problem is that most people tend to procrastinate if they don’t have a set time to do something. Help yourself avoid this trap by having set times during which you work; even if it’s from 8pm to midnight, set hours are much better than just saying you’ll get to it at some point during the day.
Having hours you’re working, especially during the day, can also help when you are working with other people, like repeat customers and vendors, because you will seem more reliable and they will know when they can reach you. Quick and consistent responses will help foster good working relationships that will help your business run smoothly.
Keep business expenses separate
When you’re working from home, business and home expenses can start to blend together. You pick up your kid on the way back from a business meeting, or you buy some equipment that is used occasionally for work. With all this going on, it can be difficult to know what is a business expense and what’s personal, but be sure to log and track anything you do that might count as a business expense, as this will be useful when it comes time to do your taxes.
Trying to recreate what you spent for the year and what you spent on purely home stuff can become a stressful chore, especially if you let them get too intertwined. Speak with your accountant to find out what counts as business expenses, and keep notes and receipts so that you’re ready come tax season.
While working from home can save you money and make you a happier person, it’s important to be wary of pitfalls that can occur when you’re trying to get stuff done in the comfort of your own home. With a little planning, you can trick yourself into being as proactive, productive, and organized as you would be in a professional office setting, all while living the good life in your own home.
Author Lara Nelson recommends mortgage protection insurance for her clients, especially those running businesses out of their homes. When considering buying a home, it is a good idea to research your MPPI options.