Home businesses are currently more popular than ever which is hardly surprising. The majority of the largest economies in the world are currently trying to drag themselves out of a recession and unemployment is at an all time high in countries everywhere. Whether you’ve been laid off and are struggling to find work or you’ve used a redundancy to give yourself that push to finally get your own business idea off the ground, starting that business from your own home is one of the most cost effective ways to start off.
Starting your own business is expensive enough as it is, working from home helps reduce those costs as you don’t have to worry about paying for extra office space. You’ve also got the savings in time and cost you’re going to see from commuting, the average commute in the UK is just under an hour each day, that’s more than half a day you’ve added to your working week just by working from home.
If you are going to set your own business up working from home the most obvious question you’ve got to ask yourself is what are you going to sell? You need an idea and a good idea is like gold dust. There are three ways to go about finding your new business, the first one is to try and spot a gap in the market that’s big enough to support a business. The second way to find your business is to spot something someone else is already doing that you know you could do better, either by offering a more competitive or a more comprehensive service. The most popular way most people find their new business idea is by turning an existing skill or passion into a business, if there’s something you already love doing turn it into a business so you can do it everyday.
Once you’ve got your idea you need to turn it into a business which isn’t easy. Start by drafting up a business plan. This doesn’t have to be the scary one you need to send to the bank in an attempt to score an investment but rather a document that’s going to first and foremost help you. This document needs to state exactly what your idea is, you’re target audience, the resources you’re going to need to make this work and of course the finances; what do you need and where are you going to find them? Although you can modify this as your business progresses it’s always good to have as a reference to keep everything on track.
You need to keep your business all above board, tell the tax man as soon as you start trading. The second money starts entering or leaving your business you need to make sure the right people know. When it comes to making sure you do actually have money coming through your business a basic rule is to divide everything by three. The first third of your time needs to go on generating new business, finding your target audience and introducing them to your products or service and building those relationships. The second third needs to go on making sure your existing customers are happy and encouraging repeat business, once you’ve got those initial relationships you need to keep working at them. The remaining third needs to be spent on your admin, you need to make sure your books are in order and your actual business stays running smoothly.
One of the biggest challenges you’re going to find working from home is separating your work life from your home life. This is going to be even trickier if you have a family at home too. Unfortunately there is no magic way round this you have to train your way of thinking. Ideally you need to have your own office at home rather than just working from the kitchen table, if this isn’t possible you need to have a specific designated area for work. Buy a new desk (so you’re not actually working off the kitchen table) and make sure everyone knows this new desk is off limits. If you are able to have your own office at home get a lock installed more for symbolism than anything else so it’s clear this is not part of home life but rather that it’s your job. Also make sure you know when to call it a day, you might feel you need to work late but if you’ve got children running around and music blaring from various rooms you need to know when to call it a day. You can’t expect your family to be quiet all night after all it’s there home as well as your place of work.