Tired of finding colored pictures among your invoices? Have you ever discovered random lego pieces among your inventory? If so, you must own a home business, and you must be working from anywhere in the house but your very own office. So you need a home office. How does a home business owner move successfully from the living room to the office?
First, the home business owner needs to establish his or her own space for an office. Find a spare room or a room you can easily concert into an office. Even a corner of the garage will do for a first-time home business owner. Remember to start small and invest little at the beginning, and then when you can afford it, you can build or create the office of your dreams. If you do not have your own space, however, you will be doomed forever to finding peanut butter smeared on important documents, and you will sacrifice the professional look that you need to exude to have a successful home business.
Secondly, once you have your space chosen and established, organize your goods. Invest in some organizational materials like shelves (cheap from the hardware store), categorizing materials like labels and sharpies, colored boxes, and a filing cabinet. Once you know what you need for organizational materials and invest in them, organize your office with two frames of mind: organize it so that it makes sense to you, and organize so that if something should happen to you and those you love most would need to find important documents quickly, they would be able to. So your system should not just make sense to you, but it should make sense to just about anyone. It should be simple enough that your fifth grader can understand it.
Finally, establish and maintain office hours. Certainly you chose to come home or establish a home business so you could earn a living with minimal family sacrifice. However, if you do not establish and maintain office hours, you will lose the business you dreamed of. Consider the best times for these office hours. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, then establish those hours at times when your husband is home and can watch the children or when you have a regular play date established with the neighbor’s children. Maybe you want to work during your child’s regular nap or individual play time in the afternoon. Regardless of what you choose, establish those hours, and then train your family to respect them. Otherwise you may never finish your work.
Ultimately the success of your business lies on you, the home business owner. If you can establish a specific place and time for your business, you increase the odds of success. Keep your business in the office, and resist the temptation to take your files to the living room so you can watch the most recent re-run of Law & Order with your spouse while looking at documents. Inevitably you will lose an important document and not discover it until you move the couch for the carpet cleaners six months down the road.