The idea of running a business from home sounds incredible.
Especially when it’s 7:33 a.m. and you’re stuck in awful commuter traffic or fighting the subway crowds that swim against you.
Whether you choose to be a solopreneur or entrepreneur from home, there are five key areas to explore when you run a home business.
Tackle and fix the five issues in this article, and you’ll find more fun, balance, and safety in running your home business.
How You Can Run a Business from Home
- Create the ideal work space.
- Ask if you need special licenses to operate.
- Seek approval if your home owner association or landlord need to approve.
- Confirm if you need special equipment.
- Develop the right business strategy.
Let’s tackle these together, since they are among the big challenges you want to solve when running a business from home.
Create the Ideal Work Space
If you’re going to start a social media management business, you won’t need a warehouse. If you’re catering lunches for the law firms in your city, you’ll need a commercial prep kitchen.
Before you launch your business, it’s essential that you understand how much space you need to operate and thrive.
There are two ways to make a smart choice.
First, walk through your living space and look for boundaries. You want to create a work space that is free of distractions.
If you have a spare bedroom, study, or even a quiet corner off your living room, see if you can make it work.
Second, write down a list of the materials and equipment you’ll need.
Can you imagine putting new printers, monitors, cables, wires, mic stands, and boxes in your home work space?
If yes, go for it.
If not, you might need to consider renting a small workspace. Yes, it’s an extra cost.
Yet, it’s critical to maintain a separation between your personal living space and your business.
If your business activities disrupt the flow of how you relax and live, you’ll get frustrated. Keep a buffer between where you work and where you rest.
Now that you have defined your work space, let’s see if you need any special business licenses.
Do You Need a License to Operate the Business?
It’s always a smart first step to chat with your attorney before you start your home business.
One of the first resources to review is the Small Business Association.
Your attorney can ask you important questions about how you will operate and what types of products or services you will provide.
If your business requires inventory or machinery, you might need special licenses or certificates to operate.
If you prepare and serve food to customers from your home, you may need to complete special applications with your local village, county, or town board.
Before you buy materials, inventory, and equipment, spend a few minutes chatting with your attorney and local government officials.
The fee you might pay for helpful advice and applications is usually much less than the headaches and frustration of fixing your mistakes once your business is on the move.
It’s smarter to ask for advice first than to start the business and have to shut it down later.
Do You Need Approval to Run Your Home Business?
If you live in an apartment building or your home is part of a homeowner association, you may need to get permission before you launch your home business.
Read your lease agreement and talk with your landlord before you change your apartment to suit your business.
Homeowner associations often have special rules about operating a business.
Talk with your board president or the attorney for the association.
If your business serves customers who visit your home, you may run into parking challenges in your community.
If your business creates excess noise or disturbance, your neighbors might not be happy.
Check with your attorney, landlord, and homeowner association team and secure permission so you can start and operate your home business.
Communicate with all the stakeholders and keep your community in the loop.
Does Your Home Business Require Large Equipment?
When you write your simple business plan for your new home business, consider any special equipment you may need.
If you start a business in the catering, pet care, or retail space, you might discover you need special equipment.
A laptop and Wi-Fi connection are essential. If you need extra machines, containers, or bulky items, be sure you can:
Fit the items into your living space.
Protect your furniture and other special items.
Keep your family and pets safe if the equipment requires safety guidelines.
Remember, your home is a place for you and your family to relax and entertain.
If your business equipment becomes obtrusive and creates safety or boundary issues, consider options for renting an office or commercial space.
Do You Have a Smart Business Strategy?
Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell started as small home businesses.
What unites those dynamic corporations and other successful solopreneurs is a smart business strategy. Before you decide to buy equipment, build a website, market your brand, and create your business strategy.
Here are a few quick questions to activate your business mind:
- In which business sandbox will you compete?
- What unique skills or capabilities do you possess to compete?
- Which customers will need your solutions?
- How will you distinguish your business from your competition?
Once you craft your business strategy, you can then develop a smart solopreneur business plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you need more space for your business than you have available?
Two options: First, consider renting a workspace by the hour. In most major cities, you’ll find business offices that you can share with another solopreneur.
These spaces give you a larger workspace that may include larger tables, a white board, and WiFi.
Second, consider renting a full-time workspace.
If you find it’s hard to focus or work from home, your productivity may increase if you ‘feel’ like you’re going to your office rather than your living room.
This is psychology, and it can help you separate work hours from relaxing at home.
What happens if your landlord or Home Owner’s Association won’t permit you to operate a home business?
The first step is to talk with your landlord and members of the HOA. Ask them to share their concerns and see if you can find ways to stay compliant.
They may share their concerns, which gives you an opportunity to fix the challenge.
It’s always a good idea to chat with your attorney before you start your home business.
When you understand the pros and cons of certain business models, you can prepare for your conversations with your landlord or HOA.