What Not to Do When Setting Up a Home Office
First, you’re not alone. Everyday, the number of people who start a business and work at home skyrockets. One of the first places eyes turn to is the home office.
There was a time when the home office was reserved for budgeting and bill paying. Sometimes the kids used the computer to do their homework or play online games.
When anyone in the home makes the decision to start a home business, usually they look around and wonder what to do first. Few think about whether they need a business license or a business bank account when that first light dawns. For most, they look around and think, “Where shall I setup?”
Many home offices are located on the kitchen table or in the corner of a spare bedroom where a computer desk and chair fit.
Some who are excited about the thought of being in business for themselves, go all out. Many allocate an entire room in the home, if it’s available.
No matter where the home office is setup, usually what comes next involves the wallet or a overused credit card. Many people run to their office supply store and buy supplies from a desktop computer, to a build-it-yourself desk and swivel office chair to a fax machine, copier, file cabinet, work tables, multi-line telephone, pens, pencils, file folders and cartons of copy paper.
Startups have been known to hand over hundreds dollars to set up their home office. Then cry when they don’t have the money for the website, hosting and marketing. That’s when they cut corners, and the business starts up with a weak foundation, so to speak. It has become a hey-day for office supply stores. In fact, many office supply stores go out of their way to court home business startups for that very reason.
It’s understandable, especially when people have little income. A fully stocked home office feels good. It’s a badge of success. It’s a sign that good times are coming.
Unfortunately, that’s just a feeling. Although a motivating one, that initial feeling that home business startups get sitting in their own home office quickly subsides when reality sets in. Show me the money. That’s the real measure of success for a home business startup, isn’t it?
Here are a 3 no-nos to help you avoid wasting money when setting up your home office.
1. If money is the motive to start a business, don’t waste time on things that simply don’t matter. Ask yourself, “Is this going to make me money?” If the answer is no, don’t do it, save it for later, move on to the next thing.
2. Most newbies want to have a place to work. Yes, you do need to identify the best place in the home for the business. It can be your lap. That is, a laptop computer that you type on as you watch TV. This is one of the benefits of any work at home business, but most startups prefer to create a space where they can concentrate and focus on the goal.
This may mean a room with a door. Tip number two. Don’t let the kids near the computer that’s intended for the home business. Kids are often smarter than their parents these days, but they are not the breadwinner. Don’t become a horror story when one of the kids accidentally emails a client or deletes an important file. If you intend to make money, treat the home office belongings like a bank account. Protect the investment. Keep kids away from the home office computer.
3. Don’t go out and buy every office tool and gadget. I can’t tell you how many startups I’ve spoken with who were so excited about this new venture that they went out and spent hundreds of dollars on new furniture, wall decor, window coverings and even a brand new computer. Don’t do it, unless you don’t have a computer. If not, then consider a used computer. You can pick one up for a fraction of the cost of a new one. Save your money. You’re going to need it.
With financial challenges facing most households today, setting up a home office seems prudent — even if you have that high-end paycheck coming in.
If you are in desperate straights, that is, if you have waited until there’s no other choice available to you, don’t waste time and don’t waste money. You do not need a defined office space, traditional office supplies or even a dedicated phone number. All you need is the desire to do what you have to do to start a business and make money. All the rest is window dressing.
Don’t waste a second on these non-essentials when setting up a home office. I’ve said it a million times. Anyone can make money in business for themselves. You just have to want to.
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