6 Ways to Screw Up Running a Business From Home

Young man so angry that he wants to pull his hair outDo you run your Micro Business from home?

If so, you’re certainly not alone. Many Micro Business owners decide to run businesses from home.

Working from home suits many people, those who thrive on thinking things through and get a buzz from experimenting. Successful home workers like change and are happy to be in control of their own work.

However there are many ways that working from home changes your life.

That’s why working from home needs careful planning and 99% household co-operation because working from home isn’t just a job, it’s a complete lifestyle package and it‘s important to examine how working at home will influence your lifestyle and affect your friends and family. It’s not like being employed in an office, where you can “leave it all behind” when you walk out of the door. If you work at home, you’re sharing your home with your business.

It can be the dream of those who toil away working for someone else. But unless you avoid some common mistakes, it can be the nightmare of those who take the step without proper planning and thinking.

Do you want to ensure that you don’t screw up working from home? Keep reading and I’ll explain six things to avoid.

 

1. Don’t consult your family

Working from home needs commitment from the entire household. You are going to take up physical space, need peace and quiet and won’t always be mentally and emotionally available, even though you are there physically.

Some people will find this hard to understand. You can’t automatically assume that everyone will fit in with your ground rules if you haven’t discussed and negotiated them. So, do some thoughtful and sensitive People Preparation and make sure everyone is in agreement about having a business in the house.

 

2. Don’t plan your time

Don’t assume that you will have more time because you are working at home. Yes, you save time by not commuting, but it’s easy to fill that extra time with things that must be done before you sit down at your desk. Consciously watch how much time you spend checking social media, filling the washing machine or looking for the really important widget you know you left in the shed five years ago.

Be a Time Lord.  Be politely clear with friends and neighbours that you’re not available during those structured periods called “working hours”.

 

3. Don’t exercise

If you want your brain to seize up and your imagination to run dry you can achieve this by sitting at your desk all day, staring at your iPad and never going out.  So, factor in exercise and free thinking time. It will help your creative thinking, your productivity and the dog will love you even more if you take him out for a spot of Outdoor Brainstorming.

 

4. Don’t insure your home for homeworking

The bath might overflow onto all your new brochures and promotional material or the dog might eat a client’s glasses (it happened to us.) A simple working-at-home policy that covers your business contents and public liability is all you need if you work alone. If you employ others you will also need employer’s insurance.

 

5. Don’t give yourself enough space

You can run a business on the kitchen table if you have to. But for concentration and mental separation bedrooms, garage conversions or garden studios used as offices are the way forward.

If you frequently have meetings with clients do you want to bring them into the house or does your business need Breathing Space, an office in the garden or an extension with its own front door?

 

6. Employ others in your house

If you employ other people, definitely consider a separate garden office. I’ve seen people driven to divorce because the business has literally taken over the house, with employees in every room.

If your employees are in your house your home is no longer your own. One employee for a few hours a week may be fine. Two or three full time workers could turn your house into the Home From Hell, however well you and the rest of your family get on with your staff.

Navigate around these six potential mistakes and you will be well on the way to being a happy homeworker!

 

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Take a few moments to review your homeworking, what could you change to avoid some of these mistakes? You could also discuss how it’s going with your family, could they suggest any changes that would help you all enjoy sharing your home with a business more?

If you have more homeworking mistakes to avoid, please add them in the comments.

Lynn Fotheringham

Lynn Fotheringham is the owner of InsideOut Buildings and has been supplying garden office buildings for nine years. You can contact her for friendly advice, ideas and to learn about all types of garden offices, studios and annexes.

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Comments

  1. Great common sense points that many start-ups don’t even consider! I particularly love “working from home isn’t just a job, it’s a complete lifestyle package”. Thanks Lynn and MicroBusinessHub

  2. My office is the top of my chest of drawers in the bedroom (that’s London house prices for you). I have invisible walls so my ‘office’ doesn’t exist when I’m not working. As my partner also works from home, rules are important.

    One recommendation if you live in a shared house/building, put a note on your door saying ‘Working from home’. It helps keep down noise (yes, I’m talking to you, builders and elephants on the stairs).
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..3 Reasons Tax Returns Belong With CakeMy Profile

  3. Don’t have anyone as a mentor – someone you can talk things over with and get honest feedback and (maybe) suggestions for a different approach.

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