One of the perks of being a small-business owner is getting to choose where you do your job. And for some folks, that means setting up shop in the comfort of home.
There are plenty of benefits to running a business out of your home -- namely, the convenience factor. When you work from home, you don't waste time or spend money commuting, and you have easy access to your office at all times. On the other hand, there are certain hiccups you might encounter when you attempt to run a business from home. Here are a few to be aware of.
Working from home can be an isolating experience whether you're running your own business or are employed by an outside firm. Of course, being busy, which business owners tend to be, can help negate some of the loneliness factor, since it's hard to harp on that solitude when you have endless tasks to complete in a given week. Still, over time, it can get to you, so to remedy that, make your home office your primary workspace, but venture out when you can.
If you're not editing complex material, presenting over a conference call, or doing something else that similarly demands silence, pack up your laptop or work materials and set up shop at a local coffeehouse or diner for a couple of hours. You might also consider working from a public library if you're starved for company but need a reasonably quiet atmosphere. Incorporating even a modest degree of human interaction into your schedule can go a long way toward making your setup work better for you.
Though running a business from home is unquestionably convenient, the danger in doing so is having too many household distractions staring you right in the face. We're talking about everything from the large-screen TV in your living room to the piles of laundry sitting out waiting to be folded.
To avoid falling behind on work obligations, make sure you have a separate, dedicated space for business matters -- ideally, a room with a door that closes. Physically separating yourself from the rest of your home will help your brain process the fact that you need to be working and not doing other things.
3. No work-life balance
The beauty of running a business from home is having constant access to your workspace. The downside, however, is having constant access to your workspace. When you manage a business out of your home, it's difficult to maintain a solid work-life balance because you could technically be doing your job all the time.
Of course, working too much can negatively impact your health, damage your personal relationships, and put you in a position where you risk completely burning out. A better idea? Create a schedule that dictates when you'll be working versus living your life, and stick to it. If you're supposed to wrap things up at 6 p.m. on a given day, commit to closing up shop at that point and joining your friends or family for dinner if that's what you have planned. While it's a good thing to be dedicated to your business, if you cross the line into total workaholism, you won't end up doing yourself any favors.
Running a business from home can save you time and money, but it can also backfire if you aren't careful. Now that you know what pitfalls to avoid, you'll be better positioned to manage your business from home while maintaining your productivity and sanity along the way.
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