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A home-based business has some obvious benefits, such as flexibility, scalability, and cutting your commute. However, unless your home can accommodate your work adequately, it could actually get in the way of your progress. Here’s how to make sure you have the right workspace set up so that nothing inhibits your success.
First thing’s first, and that’s you. How well your space works for you will come largely from your work style, lifestyle, and home environment. So, consider how this would come together and ask yourself about what circumstances promote your energy, focus, and productivity.
For example, are you someone who works best with some outside interaction, or does solitude help you focus? If you need to get away from your home obligations to avoid getting pulled into other things, an outbuilding, garage, or similarly dedicated space might be best.
Does the actual process of your business require space for clients or deliveries to come and go? You might need a seating area, extra parking, an extra half bath, or a driveway with a loop.
Do you need to be close to other members of your household throughout the day? Caring for children, aging parents, and pets might be part of your incentive for working from home, and in that case, you don’t necessarily want to be too far from them throughout your workday.
Will you strictly be doing office work in your space? Or will your office be your home base as you come and go to satellite locations? If you’re coming and going a lot or focusing entirely on computer-oriented work, a small office might be sufficient for you.
Know Thy Space
With your personal preferences sorted, turn your attention to your home. As Harvard Business Review explains, there are certain attributes that great workspaces have, such as privacy, appropriate acoustics, and the ability to accommodate technology. Take a hard look at your available space and how well it could work for you. Make some sketches or create a virtual room to help you better visualize the possibilities. With that information, you can then determine what it will take to make a great workspace.
If you’re converting a garage to house your office, for instance, you might need to install insulation and drywall, plus add an internet connection to make the space more work-friendly. On the other hand, a spare bedroom might offer internet and appropriate acoustics, but insufficient square footage. Another idea is to rethink a dining room that is seldom used, or if the kids have grown, perhaps their former playroom or bedroom will fit the bill.
Go through your home room by room and consider what space you have that could work, as well as what it would take to make it into an efficient space for your venture. It might just need a little tweaking, or a major renovation might be in order.
Moving On Up?
Sometimes, when making this sort of evaluation, it becomes abundantly clear that your home simply isn’t well-suited to your venture. While this can be discouraging, it’s worth considering a space upgrade if it will make or break your success.
Like most small business owners, you’re probably being budget-conscious in your decisions. Keep in mind there are financing solutions out there. There are grants available to women needing funds to start new businesses, plus there are less costly ways into new homes.
For instance, purchasing a bank-owned property can be a great way to snag the space you need for a song, although Redfin warns this can be a time-consuming process. Foreclosures are sold as-is, too, so you want to make sure you invest in a thorough inspection so you don’t get in over your head. If you go this route, make sure you partner with a real estate agency experienced with foreclosures so they can help guide you through this process.
Depending on your situation, you might be thinking that you lack the cash flow to purchase a foreclosure, but there are ways around that through special mortgages and other types of loans. And ultimately, if you’re careful, it could be a cost-effective solution for your new workspace.
Working from home has a lot to offer, especially if your home has the space for it. Turn a critical eye to your habits and house, and decide what your next step is. With good planning, you can tailor a space that will help your home-based business thrive.
About George Mears: George Mears is a brain fitness expert, educator, and counselor. He shares his thoughts and favorite brain fitness exercises at Brain Wellness