Entrepreneurs who work from a home office are caught in a funny place between personal and professional responsibility. On one hand, you are at home—so you can see that there is housework to be done and errands to run and a leaky faucet to fix and appointments that need to be made during “business hours.” It’s easy to get so distracted by personal responsibility that professional duties take a back seat and your business shrivels up. On the other hand, you are always at work—since your office is in the same building as your bedroom, you never really leave work. Work is always there. Just down the hall. Waiting. Calling you to make one more call, work one more hour, reply to one more email. Just one.
Work-from-home entrepreneurs ride a fine line between being eaten up with home responsibility and the urge to work around the clock. Running a business from home definitely has perks, but here are five questions to ask yourself before committing to a work-at-home lifestyle.
- Do you have support? Working from home requires a fine balance. At first, that balance might be hard to strike. There may be days or weeks when your household duties slip. There may be days that you get distracted by household chores during working hours, then find yourself sequestered in the office well after dinner. Is your spouse on board? Do you have support from your family? Your roommate? Your significant other? Without the support and empathy from those closest to you, working from home can be very difficult. While you get a handle on business, you’ll need those in your house to pitch in, pick up your slack, and be kind as you seek balance in your professional and personal worlds.
- Are you legal? Working from home will save you money on leasing a work space, but not every business can legally be run from a private residence. Before working from home, you’ll need to check with your insurance company, zoning office and home owner’s association to find out if there are restrictions on operating out of your home.
- Are you self-disciplined? Running a business from your house requires intentionality and self-discipline. You will need to be able to motivate yourself to work—and steer clear of Netflix and procrastination. Do you have the discipline required to walk away from the desk at the end of the day? Are you disciplined to get tasks done with no supervision? Consider what routines you can put in place and what habits you’ll need to cultivate to acquire the discipline needed to work from home.
- Do you mind being alone? Working from home means spending many hours every day by yourself. If the silence is maddening or you work better alongside teammates or in a social environment, consider other options. Rent a work space or studio. Bring on a partner. In the long run, your business may be better off.
- How will you stay organized? If you plan to work from home, you’ll need to be organized. If you have an office, how will you keep it organized and efficient? If you will be working from the kitchen table, how will you keep your work organized when you need to clear the table for dinner? Having a system or plan before starting up at home will greatly ease the transition.
Author: Amy Allender is a staff writer at StartUp Mindset. She has built and rebuilt a successful artistic design business in multiple states. She earned her degree in telecommunications from Ball State University in 2009. StartUp Mindset.com is an entrepreneurial blog focused on helping new, seasoned and aspiring entrepreneurs start and grow their business. The blog has a large, loyal social media following with more the 200,000 followers over all social media platforms.