Many people dream of opening their own business and escaping workplace rules, offices and the nine to five grind. But what was once a daydream has become a reality through necessity for many people throughout the pandemic.
Many people have decided to go out on their own, either through choice or obligation, and set up their own businesses. The second half of 2020 saw a massive surge in the number of new companies registered, and more and more people are looking to fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams or create a side hustle from home.
But running your own business from home isn’t all late starts, firing a few emails off and relaxing. Working for yourself can be stressful, and if you’re going out on your own, you’ll need some serious self-discipline to be successful. To help you on your way, we’ve put together our top tips for starting a business from home.
Tip 1: Choose Your Legal Structure
While having a cracking business idea and the passion for making your business successful are essential, it’s also imperative to have a good understanding of the legal side of running a business.
Before you can register your business and start making money, you’ll need to decide on your company’s legal structure. HM Revenue and Customs accept several legal structures, including:
- Sole traders
- Business partnerships
- Limited companies.
Many owners of home-based businesses decide to start as sole traders and become a limited company further down the road. But you may choose to start your business journey as a limited company and save yourself the time and stress of registering later on.
Tip 2: Get a Virtual Office Address
If you’re running a business from home, your business address will likely be your residential address. But for many, this isn’t ideal as it means that your family home address will be available publicly.
Your business’s address will appear in several places, including:
- Companies House
- Purchase orders
- Client communications
- Your website.
Many home business owners decide to acquire a virtual office address to keep their home address private, appear more professional to potential clients and customers, and create a separation of personal and work life.
Virtual business addresses are a good option for home businesses as they offer a commercial address that looks the part and is much cheaper than a physical office space. While you can’t visit the address, you can use it for all of your official correspondence and your company registration. Plus, all of your business mail will be forwarded to you at home.
Tip 3: Set up Your Home Office
Working from the comfort of your home is brilliant. But being too comfortable is one pitfall of remote working that many of us have fallen prey to. Getting distracted by your phone, the TV, kids and pets is all too easy when you run your own business.
Being your boss means that you’re responsibly for telling yourself to get back to work, and if you don’t, your business can quickly start to fall apart. So if you’re serious about getting your business off the ground, it’s a good idea to get a space set up dedicated to working with as few distractions as possible.
Of course, there’s no avoiding distractions completely, and the occasional bit of procrastination can be helpful. But here are a few ways to keep distractions to a minimum:
- Create a space dedicated to your business that is only for work.
- Make sure you have the right equipment and it works well.
- Get a comfortable, ergonomic chair.
Beyond having a space for your business in your home, try out different ways to keep yourself focused and on schedule — like to-do lists or deadline lists — to ensure that you stay on track.
Tip 4: Find Your Communication Platforms
With your office space all set up, you’ll need to work out how you want to communicate with customers, clients and suppliers. Communication in business is vital, and your ability to connect with customers will be crucial for your business’s success.
With the number of people working from home nowadays, the communication resources available for businesses have improved drastically. Beyond just phone calls and emails, it’s worth considering other platforms, such as:
- Microsoft Teams.
These can all make communication much more straightforward, and having them set up correctly instantly makes you look more professional to customers. It’s a good idea to ensure that your background is appropriate if you use video conferencing software and that nobody walks across the background on calls.
Tip 5: Make Time to Leave the House
Working from home is great, but it can quickly start to feel like Groundhog Day. You wake up, follow your morning routine, complete a day’s work, stay in and relax at home, then go to bed. Wake up and repeat.
It’s incredibly easy to fall into a routine of not leaving your house for days when you’re working from home, but making sure you go out is essential for your well-being and the success of your business. Not leaving the house and focusing on your work is an easy way to burn out working from home.
One of the best things you can do is to set a schedule for leaving the house and make arrangements, such as:
- Meeting friends for coffee
- Joining a sports team
- Going jogging.
Whatever it is you decide to do, make sure you get out and enjoy the fresh air. Unlike when you’re employed, you don’t have a specific schedule, so you can make time to enjoy yourself. It’ll do wonders for your productivity as well.