The key to making a home-based business work is to differentiate your work and home area. That way there’s a line between your professional and personal life. And while a separate home-office would be ideal, many don’t have the luxury of space and money.
Working from home allows you to spend more time with family as you eliminate travel from home to office. It also gives you greater flexibility to switch between work and play. However, the freedom you get is an excuse to become lazy, unprofessional and irresponsible with your time.
Creating a space dedicated for your business sets the mood to get you working. A home office can also double as a place to set meetings and welcome clients. The office keeps your documents organized in one place and it is a place where family members are “off-limits” because they know once you step in your home office you enter a “do- not-disturb-mode.”
Creating the physical space for your business at home means making room for new space. To create space, you need to de-clutter. Sort personal items from office supplies. Personal articles can be kept but stack them away in another room.
Discard what you don’t need or give them to people who may find them useful. For the sentimental, this may be a lot to handle but says Chef Myke Sarthou a.k.a. Chef Tatung who manages a home-based restaurant business, “You just have to let go of some things.” He adds, “If you don’t want to let go you will not be able to create that flow to get your business going.”
Choose in terms of function. Chef Tatung owned a lot of household appliances that he later replaced with those that could handle the requirements of his business. Household appliances “don’t function well enough anymore to handle the volume. We simply replaced them,” he says.
Convert an existing room or build a new one to accommodate your business. Depending on the type of business, you will need a room or two. Rica Dalmacion, owner of Art & Soul, a stationery and novelty craft business, uses part of the dining area to stack inventory. Other business functions such as printing are outsourced. “My workstation is basically my laptop which I can carry around the house,” she says.
Chef Tatung converted his living room into a dining area for guests and dedicated another room for his home office. What used to be the pastry area is now his workstation, which includes a phone line, a desktop computer, a table, and shelves to keep files. He says having an office is very important because, “Sometimes you are too caught up in the operations—you miss the bigger picture for the details. Remember you also have the administrative side of the business.”