If you’re thinking about starting a home-based business, you’re not alone. More and more entrepreneurs are starting their lastest venture from the comfort of their own homes, especially e-commerce businesses, with the trend steadily rising over the years.
Approximately 69 percent of businesses are started at home, according to Small Business Trends. And while many business owners might start their business empire sitting at a kitchen table or on the couch, you’ll set yourself up for more success by having a dedicated workspace within your home that’s customized to your needs.
However, make sure your home office can easily be converted to a bedroom if needed. “A bedroom will usually add more value to your home than a home office,” said Brad Harley, owner of Home Appraising Group. “Luckily, both spaces have similar needs. When you stage the home, stage your home office as a bedroom instead.”
Here’s what you’ll need for your home office:
1. Support From Your Family
Before you jump into the unknown, have you fully discussed your plans with your family? Do they know that you’ll be taking over a room or section of your home? Will you have a quiet place to talk on the phone?
Any plans you make should be discussed in detail with them. If they aren’t directly part of the business, you will at least need their support and cooperation while you work at home.
It’s also important to separate your work from your family life. Make sure you’re not working at all hours or at least set aside time every day for the people and things that matter more than your work.
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2. An Excellent Network of Peers
If you haven’t already discussed your home-based business with other business owners, especially other home-based business owners, you should get out and start networking. Working from home can be lonely, so you will at least need a few people you can vent to.
Friends are great, but they might not know the struggles of running a business. Start by looking for an industry association, union or another group of people leading a similar lifestyle. This could even help you get your first few clients through referrals.
3. A Secure Filing System
You’ll likely have a mixture of paper and digital documents that you will need to keep track of. More importantly, you will need to keep these documents secure.
If you think you’ll have a lot of paper documents, invest in a sturdy filing cabinet that locks. If you just need to put a few important documents away, get a lockbox.
Digital documents are trickier to keep safe. First of all, make sure your computer has virus protection software installed. The built-in virus protection that Windows provides might be enough for a personal computer, but your computer becomes more tempting to hack and infect when it contains important business information.
4. Your Ideal Working Space
Where and how do you work best? Everyone is different. You could work best on the couch, at a desk or at the kitchen table. You might like to move around the house throughout the day. Certain tasks might be better suited for other areas of the house.
No matter what, do whatever makes you the most comfortable and the most productive. Invest in a chair, desk or any other important feature that’ll make you want to sit down (or stand) to get your work done.
5. A Website
Very few businesses can get away with not having a website. People increasingly make decisions about where they will do business based on your digital presence, including your website, social media and reviews.
For many home-based businesses, your website doesn’t need to be complicated. All you need for a small, home-based business is basic information and a way for people to contact you. You should also create a social media presence and garner positive reviews that you can feature on your website and help with the business.
Granted, some businesses require more complicated websites — if you’re not an expert in that sort of thing, contact a professional to help.
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6. Quality Headphones
You’ll spend a lot of time on your computer and on the phone. Having high-quality headphones with a microphone will make business calls easy to make. Low-quality items might cause technical issues that could lead to lost connections — or worse, lost sales.
If your home will regularly be noisy, headphones are a necessity. It removes other audible distractions and keeps you focused and allows you to listen to what will keep you focused on your work, be it music or white noise.
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7. Proper Lighting
It’s important you have plenty of natural light in your workspace. Your desk will also need to be lit, so invest in proper lighting to supplement whatever ceiling lights or windows you have.
If you can, limit the amount of blue light near your computer. — you get enough of it from your screens. Instead, light your desk with warm bulbs that won’t add to your daily exposure.
8. Background Noise
Music can drown out other noises and keep you focused. Instrumental music is especially good at getting people in a rhythm. Podcasts that you can tune in and out of also make great background noise, and you might learn something. Again, everyone is different. Some people might need the TV on, and others might need complete silence. Do whatever works best for you.
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