With rental and property prices changing constantly; it can be difficult to find the right place to run your business, especially if you’re already a busy mum. Due to uncertain times, many people are choosing to save themselves the cost of renting, or paying another mortgage, and running their businesses from home, whether it’s their full-time job, or an exciting side hustle.
By keeping your company within your property, you’ll save commuting costs, and won’t have to pay additional bills on a space that doesn’t belong to you. There are even some bills you can class as a business expense when you work from home. I’ve been self-employed for six years this month and currently have an office at the end of the children’s playroom. Ben has just set up a home business and has a workshop at the bottom of the garden!
There are, however, some things you should consider before taking the plunge, and turning the place where you live, into an office, workshop, or studio.
My walking desk/office set up at the end of the children's playroom!
All you need
You’ll need to scope out your house, garden, or land (you lucky thing), for the suitability of running your company, and it will depend on what your business is. Office-based work is probably the most straightforward, as a room or area within your home can easily be converted into an office space, using a desk and appropriate shelving. To separate your home life from your work; you might want to consider setting up your business in the garden by using, or building, a dedicated room to work inside. By keeping your work removed from family life; you’ll be able to concentrate professionally at the job in hand, throughout your time “at work”.
This is definitely something that would be great for me as currently my office is a third of the playroom! I thought it was a great idea at first so I could be near the children when they are playing, but it’s actually impossible most of the time to get work completed if they are here as they can see me and want my attention. A separate area, if you have the space, is definitely recommended.
For companies that manufacture goods; you’ll need to think about the scale of your operation and how much you’ll be producing. Any machinery will have to have ample room to be used correctly, and you’ll need adequate storage for your items. It’s worth investing in all the tools needed, both physical and digital, so that you’ll have all you need from the get-go.
Even if you’re a maker, like Ben my husband is, the importance of organised admin and digital marketing cannot be undervalued. Yes, he needs a workshop to make, but he still needs a space and tools to be able to promote his wares digitally as this is how he can get a sale in this day and age. And, of course, there is admin to deal with, whether that is emails, uploading listings or documenting income and expenditure. He still needs a space to be able to work digitally too. Make sure you scope out the best template management or social media platform system to make things easier for running your business; find what suits you and your business so that you can begin to thrive.
Separation is key
When you run your own business, it can often consume every part of your life, especially when you’re working on it from your home. There is always something to be doing with regards to your business, new ideas popping into your head constantly, emails to respond to and work to be getting on with. The problem is you work at home and you could therefore always be working and thinking of work!
Therefore, it’s crucial that you’re able to switch off and enjoy your family life after the working day is finished. Having a separate space to work on your property is the best way to switch off, as you can lock up and leave everything in there, away from the house. If you have a work environment inside the home; try to remove as much as possible from the rest of family life, by locking doors and turning off any phones and computers.
If, like me, your work space really is in the middle of family life (who thought a playroom-office was a good idea again?!), then you need to try to set clear boundaries between work and life. I admit, I still struggle to do this on busy days, especially as I like to stay on top of my work and get things done promptly, but I do try to have working hours that I stick to. I usually work when the kids are at school and then again when they are in bed. I also take weekends off, most of the time. When I work every day I feel all consumed by my business and don’t give my children the quality time they need, so by taking the weekends of I can at least give them my full attention for two days of the week without my head stuck in a laptop.
It can definitely be a struggle to take time off when you’re setting up a business and it demands all your attention and time, but it’s best to set some clear rules about when work time is and when your own life time is!
A quiet space
You’ll also want to be able to drown out (most) of the noise when you’re working on something important or during unusual hours, such as when the kids and husband are home. This factor will again stress the importance of separation, so make sure it’s a focus when you’re designing the space. If I do have to work when my children are home then it’s quite impossible if they are being noisy and I need to concentrate, especially as they are usually in the same room as me. A separate room where I can shut the door would be ideal – so do consider this if you are setting up your own workspace.
Ben’s workspace is great as it is at the bottom of the garden, away from our home and noisy family life. I’m sure he can much better separate work and life compared to my setup. Of course, mine is lovely and peaceful in the day when the children are at school and nursery, and Ben is at work!
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