Working from home as your own boss may seem like an appealing prospect. But before you decide to start a home-based business, there are a few things to consider to make sure that this arrangement suits both your personal and professional needs.
Working from your home can:
- Be significantly less expensive than renting or buying commercial space
- Help you avoid the risk and commitment of signing a lease or rent agreement
- Allow you to optimize costs that you already pay for (e.g. utilities, repairs and maintenance, home insurance), which may be eligible for full or partial tax deductions
- Provide more flexibility to be available to friends and family
- Cut out commuting time
Working from home may:
- Make it hard to set up a permanent, separate work space
- Require costly renovations if you must see clients/customers in your home, or you may have challenges creating a professional image.
- Cut into your family/personal life or make it difficult to find quiet time to work
- Increase travel and associated costs if you visit clients in their office/store or a coffee shop
Ask yourself a few questions to determine whether having a home-based business is right for you:
- Will working on your own suit your personality? Some people prefer to be in the company of other professionals in an office building or co-working space.
- You associate spaces with certain activities. Do you have the self-discipline and motivation to work in a place where you normally relax? You may be tempted to indulge in personal tasks when you should be working.
- Will you face interruptions from family and friends?
- Is there enough room for the resources you need, like special equipment or employees?
- If your business is successful, will there be room to expand? How will you address this when the time comes?
- Do you have adequate space for inventory and equipment storage?
When you decide you are ready to launch your home-based business, consider the following suggestions:
- Download our Startup Checklist Many requirements are mandatory for both home-based and commercial businesses.
- Review provincial and federal health, safety and taxation regulations related to your business. Certain business activities are simply not allowed to take place in a residential home.
- Visit an insurance provider to see if you need extra coverage. Your home insurance may not cover business-related losses that occur in your home.
- Join business clubs and associations to ensure you have networking opportunities to meet new people.
- Check municipal bylaws and determine whether your area is zoned for operating a business, particularly if you plan to invite clients, or have employees in your home.
- Designate a specific area of your residence as your workspace (as removed as possible from the ebb and flow of your household activities). Avoid letting the less formal setting interfere with your professionalism.
- Be available to your clients by keeping a consistent schedule and getting back to them in a timely fashion.