Some people look down on operating small businesses from home. They dismiss these business owners as "weekend warriors," who aren't serious about running a bona fide operation.
There are rules, though, to making your home-based business work, making sure it provides a real profit
Ignore that, all of it. The fact is that operating a business from your home is just as legitimate as running an operation in a leased office space or in an airy warehouse somewhere. And when your job is always just a short walk down your hallway, the benefits can be many.
There are rules, though, to making your home-based business work, making sure it provides a real profit and not a pastime. Here are the benefits of working from home and what you need to do to make that sweet situation work for you.
Yours, mine and hours
One of the first considerations to any endeavor, whether you work for yourself or someone else, is that amount of time required to meet the goals.
In other words, how many hours will you be working and what hours will those be? In this increasingly individualized culture there's more inclination to find a working schedule that's tailored to your lifestyle.
When you run your business from your own home, you have absolute control over your workday. If you're an early riser, the workday starts whenever you get up. If you prefer to burn the midnight oil, then work as late as you like. No one will shut off the office lights on you. And if you prefer to break up your day into chunks so you can tend to other matters along the way, you can do that, too.
This is perhaps the biggest allure for working from your home base—it's your day and you control how you manage your time. Of course, you must manage your time, even from home.
Some folks, when given the freedom to set their own hours, have trouble focusing on the work that needs to be done. There are plenty of distractions to help: the doorbell, the kids, errands and Internet surfing. To reap the full benefits of naming your own work hours, you have to commit to actually working. Just thinking about work doesn't count; that's simply not bankable at the end of the day.
Just as you're free to set your own schedule, you will need to set a schedule
So just as you're free to set your own schedule, you will need to set a schedule. That schedule can have flexibility, throughout each day and across each week, but it needs to support real work getting done. If you'll commit to that, you're poised to reap the best part of working your home-based business.
Overhead that doesn't overwhelm
You can also tame many of the costs of running your own business. When you can manage business from your home, there's no need to scramble and scurry to get out the door, then waste time and fuel trapped in traffic—a big waste, really, as recent polls conclude that Americans spend nearly an hour or more each day commuting. That could be precious work time.
And how about the cost of fuel, while you're commuting and while you're stuck waiting? If you can manage the bulk of your business work from home, you will immediately reap the benefits of fuel saved and become more insulated to the fluctuations in fuel prices.
And have you seen the lease rates for office and warehouse spaces in your area? Chances are it could be quite expensive, but why would you care? This is the second of the most immediate gains (through savings) that you can make in your home-based business.
When you can set up your business space in your own home—and it should be dedicated space—you avoid paying rent for someone else's space, not to mention the costs of the utilities, a cost you're already managing in your home.
And what's cheaper: managing a wardrobe for the workplace or working from home in your everyday clothes? How about meals: cheaper to eat out or eat in? Then there's the cost of day care, which is more avoidable if they can come home after school or whatever, just like in the old days.
The expense defense
The benefits of your home-based business keep adding up when you recognize that some of your usual home management and upkeep costs can be utilized as business expenses.
You can identify portions of your utility costs, telephone, mortgage, property taxes and maintenance outlay to legally offset some of your business income
You can successfully manage down your tax liabilities when you claim your home as your place of business.
You can identify portions of your utility costs, telephone, mortgage, property taxes and maintenance outlay to legally offset some of your business income. Now, not only are you working your business from your home, but your home is actively working for your business.
Naturally, you'll want to consult state and federal tax allowances, and also check in with your tax preparer. That's another deductible expense for your business.
It's a bona fide business, wherever you operate it
As the adage goes, "good business is where you find it."
Now, let's append that by agreeing that a good business is where you make it, be it in an office space, in a logistics center or in your own home. The point is that when you establish and run your business from your home, you're still a business.
Even if every day looks like casual Friday, it's not about how you look or where it looks like you're doing business—you're a business. So reap the benefits of running a business from you home and recognize that you might just be smarter than many when you set up shop in the most convenient location of all: just down the hall, second door on the right.