According to Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people working from home increased by 73 percent between 2005 and 2011. Running a business from home may seem like a dream, but it’s not without its pitfalls. Follow these simple tips to ensure smooth sailing and maximize productivity.
Image © Bill Holden / Image Source – 34BH0001RF
1. Make Filing a Priority
As an organizer, you’re well aware of the importance of a good filing system. Paul Robert Edwards, author of Working from Home, suggests that using color-coding, labels and a strict digital filing system be priority number one. Whatever system you choose, take the time to keep it up to date. Don’t suffer from shoemaker’s children syndrome!
2. Minimize Errands
You may work from home, but you still have to pop over to the post office or Office Max. Errands eat up valuable time and money. Services like a Pitney Bowes mail machine can cut costs and time spent idling in the car dramatically.
3. Invest In a Separate Landline
A separate telephone line is a must for business organization, even if you’re trying to cut costs. Julie Phillipi-Whitney, CEO and founder of Phillipi-Whitney Communications says getting a landline was one of the first things she did. A dedicated phone ensures children won’t answer and you never run the risk of your mother-in-law calling, among other things.
4. Buy Separate Business Insurance
Homeowner’s insurance does not cover your business in any capacity. Erica Bell of Business.com previously shared important information about the various types of business insurance.
5. Learn About Tax Deductions
Tax law isn’t a very fun or glamorous endeavor, but you could save thousands by being “in the know.” Sam Fawaz, accountant and financial planner suggests you learn the top 15 deductions like the back of your hand. This will lower your tax prep fees and make potential audits painless. Entrepreneur Magazine lists the deductions here for easy reference.
6. Set Ground Rules, Don’t Blur Them
Without a rigid schedule, your personal and business life can become a tangled mess, with neither functioning effectively. Richard Rabinowitz runs a workshop series called Digital Photo Academy from his home and brings in over $2 million dollars a year. His staff of six works around his dining room table from 10 AM to 6PM, then it promptly turns back into his apartment. He manages his success by adhering to strict rules:
- Work designated hours
- Clean up after yourself
- Prepare food in advance
- Stay in designated area
- Handle family issues outside of work hours
7. Quality Software is Your Friend
Take time and effort to find the right software for your needs—this might be a challenge, but it’s worth it. It took me years to find Swift To-Do List but it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
You’ve probably got a few strategies of your own for working effectively in your home office. What would you add to this list?