Setting up your home-based office on a budget

POSTED: 11/06/13

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Deciding to take the plunge and work from home can be scary.  But, as long as you are disciplined enough, it can be a very cost effective way to run your business, with no commercial outlays or travel costs.

If you are serious about working from home, you will need a space in which to work that you can separate off from your family life and space, and somewhere quiet and free from distractions.

The most important tip I can give, is that you don’t need a lot of money to get started – I certainly didn’t – and you can gradually build up your office equipment and furnishingsas you establish your business and earn more money.

You first need to decide exactly what type of work you will be carrying out and what the essential requirements will be for you to undertake that work.  For example, I started with a laptop, rather than a desktop computer, because I also do minute taking away from my home-based office so I needed an efficient way to do this. More recently, I have purchased two large monitors to plug into my laptop for whenI need to do more complex work on a bigger screen.  My business is very much based around my laptop and likewise most businesses have important information stored on computers and laptops so from the very start it is important to consider a way to regularly back up your electronic information.  You may not even need to install a separate dedicated phone line for your business.  A mobile phone numberis generally sufficient as a contact for clients, especially if you also have a website and an email address.

An ergonomic chair and a desk are the only other initial items you will need to get started.  Make sure your chair comfortable and the right height for you so that you can maintain good posture as you work at your desk in order to safeguard your most valuable business asset – you.

Another crucial item to consider as soon as possible is a shredder.  Ensure you shred all client information once you have finished with it, to protect the privacy of your clients.  If you don’t intend to have clients visityour house, you shouldn’t needto take out any additional insurance in regard to protecting your equipment, however, it is a good idea to check with your house and contents insurance cover just in case.

Although one ofthe benefits of workingfrom home is the freedom to choose your own hours,it is a good idea to set yourself regular hours, otherwise you can find yourself still working away into the evening and never really ‘closing the office’. You can setyour rules to suit yourself and your specific circumstances.For example, I have a rule not to answer my work phone after business hours – this also helps separate family and work life.With today’s technology, it really is quite easy and inexpensive to set up a home-based office and work virtually, and I believe it is the ‘way of the future’.

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