For a lot of people, the idea of working for yourself from home sounds like something of a dream come true. After all, what could be better than being able to work without having to deal with morning commutes, awkward small talk, stuffy offices, and a manager staring over your shoulder every minute of the day? And sure, whether you’re a freelancer or you run your own business from home, there are a lot of things to recommend it. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy all of the time. In reality, working from home can come with a whole host of challenges that far too many people aren’t aware of before they start. This can often lead to people making mistakes that could potentially tank their entire business. With that in mind, here are some incredibly simple things that many people who work or run a business from home tend to forget to do.
Keeping your equipment working
Every business is going to require some kind of equipment, and even if you have no use for the kind of specialised equipment that larger businesses use, you’re almost certainly going to, at the very least, need a computer with an internet connection, a scanner, and a printer. You simply can’t afford to allow these kinds of things to end up going wrong or breaking. Make sure that any antivirus or firewall software on your computer is fully up to date to protect your business from cyber criminals and that you get your equipment checked and maintained as often as you can. Even simple things like making sure that your toner cartridge is full can make a huge difference to the levels of productivity in your business as a whole. It’s easy to take functioning equipment for granted, but if you do, then you’re setting yourself up for some serious problems further down the line.
Staying on top of receipts and invoices
One of the biggest problems that a lot of people come up against when they’re running their own business is that they are suddenly responsible for dealing with their own tax returns. Now, this isn’t always that much of an issue. However, there’s no denying that dealing with your accounts is usually a pretty frustrating combination of boring and complicated. This leads far too many small business owners and freelancers to leave everything until the very last minute and end up creating far more stress for themselves than is really necessary. One of the best ways to deal with this is, of course, to hire an accountant. However, if you’re running a very small business, then that’s not going to be the most financially viable solution. In that case, you need to make sure that you have your receipts and invoices all stored away somewhere secure and organised. That way you’re not going to end up scrambling to find that one important invoice when tax return season rolls around.
Keeping your workspace tidy
One of the things that a lot of people like to imagine when it comes to working from home is the idea that they can spend all of their time working in their pyjamas without ever even getting out of bed or off the couch. And sure, there’s a certain enjoyment that can come from doing that in the early days, but the novelty wears off surprisingly quickly, and it turns out that working from your bed isn’t the best way to be productive. This means that setting up your own workspace can be incredibly important. However, you’ve got to make sure that you can keep the place tidy. If you’re surrounded by clutter, then you’re never going to be able to keep your mind focused enough to get everything that you need to deal with finished. Make sure that your workspace is tidy and organised so that you not only know where everything is whenever you need it but so that you also have a space where you can be as focused and productive as possible.
Staying on a regular schedule
In a similar vein to having a specific workspace, sticking to a regular schedule is an incredibly important, if slightly challenging aspect of working from home. The lack of regular office hours or specific deadlines can often make it very easy for people to end up falling into the trap of working whenever they feel like it. Sure, that kind of freedom can be incredibly positive in a lot of ways, but if you’re not careful, you’re going to end up staying up late working and never really being able to switch off. It might sound counterintuitive to the whole purpose of working from home but setting yourself a specific, regular schedule is often the very best thing for being able to work as productively as possible.
If you’re running your own business, you can’t rely on regular work in the same way you might if you’re an employee of another company. This means that you’ve got to be able to promote your business as effectively as possible to potential customers and clients. Self-promotion can be pretty challenging to a lot of people and marketing is the kind of thing that takes a lot of hard work and effort. If you’re not going to be able to put in the time and effort required to get your business out into the world, then there’s a good chance that you’re not going to be able to sustain it at all.
Of course, these are far from the only things that you need to think about when running any kind of home business, but they are some of the most likely to be forgotten. The truth is that trying to run a business, even a small one, by yourself means that you’re going to have to deal with a whole lot of different things all at once. If you’re not ready to do that, then the total independence that comes with working from home might not be the dream come true that you always imagined.
What do you love the most about working from home?