By Rowena Maskell from Outset Online, the free online business start-up tool.
If you are thinking about starting your own business, then chances are that (at least initially!) you’ll be working from home. You won’t be alone - almost 70% of businesses in the UK start-up this way.
There are plenty of benefits to working from home – particularly for parents. You have more control over your hours and juggling family & other commitments is often that little bit easier, not to mention the cost savings on what can often be expensive start-up overheads.
But working from home also brings with it lots of potential distractions, which is why we’ve pulled together our top 5 tips for successfully starting up a home business.
1. Find a quiet place
When working from home it can be all too easy to find distractions that hinder your productivity! So put down the TV remote, step away from the sofa and find a quiet place to work. Whether this takes the form of a study, the corner of your dining room or even the garden shed, by clearly differentiating your ‘work area’ it can help focus your mind and prevent distractions when you’re in work mode.
2. Take advantage of free online tools
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to find support for starting your own business from the comfort of your own home. Outset Online is one example of a fantastic interactive resource that takes you through the steps of starting a business. It covers everything from how to perform market research to pricing your product and as you complete each section it simultaneously helps you build a downloadable business plan. You can also find free advice online from gov.uk, HMRC and your local chamber of commerce.
4. Get savvy with social media
Social media is great way to forge business relationships and for getting advice from people who are in similar situations as you. LinkedIn lets you connect with people you meet, join relevant groups to post questions and build relationships. Twitter and Facebook both offer a great opportunity to promote your business and join a community of small business owners. Outset Online also has an interactive forum where you can chat and ask questions from other business owners and mentors. To find out more about using social media to your advantage and to access a forum of business owners, sign up to Outset Online. You can find out more here.
4. Set yourself goals and deadlines
When you work for yourself, it can be easy to find yourself working at odd hours of the day in order to fit around other commitments. Setting yourself clear goals and deadlines for each day/week will help you stay focussed on the important things, and avoid getting distracted. It’s also important to think about why you wanted to start a business in the first place and where you’d like to see the business headed. By highlighting these goals it will give you something tangible to aim for.
5. Take a break
Working from home can be really productive but it’s important to give yourself time away from the screen to avoid becoming burnt out. Take regular breaks, ensure you stop for lunch and step away from that computer! Setting aside certain hours of the day for “business time” will also help to maintain that work/life balance.
For a limited time, you can get 12-months FREE access to Outset Online to help you get started with setting up your own business. Visit the Outset Online website for more info and to get started today.