Although working from home is a great deal more relaxed and natural, when one is envisioning starting a business in their home, they should always keep in mind that it is a serious business, not a free-for-all. At the same time, however, somehow it seems natural for people to recline on the couch with their feet on the coffee table, laptop in hand.
If you are working online, then the main thing in your ‘office’ is your computer. It has your connectivity, your links, your files, your saved passwords, your mail, chat clients, etc. Pretty much another ‘business in a box’ concept. The point being you probably do not need a lot of office ‘space’ for file cabinets, etc.. It is recommended to have some hard copy if for no other reason than disaster recovery, for example if your hard drive is corrupted; and you still need some space for equipment like printers, workstation/desks, computer peripherals, etc.
It is recommended for a few reasons that you have a space that is uniquely your office space. For one thing if you are going to use business tax deductions for operating expenses, in claiming your home is used for business, you are required to have a space used exclusively for the business. Nobody says you have to sit there but you must have an actual office space.
There are different regulations whether you work at home part time or full time, so always check directly at the source, for example government websites. The laws change quite frequently so you should check every year to be sure of what your requirements are. Naturally in this regard you want to have documentation for every penny you are claiming. It really helps if you have an organized way to collect receipts, printouts, utility bills, etc, to document your expenses as you go along all year, rather than waiting for April 14 to try to find them all. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – just some file folders in a plastic crate is sufficient.
Another reason to have a special place for your business is because if you are going to go about preparing and planning for your business, you want a space that is organized so that you can think clearly. It may seem funny that your mind needs a clear space, but then again it is logical that it is easier to think sans all chaos and confusion. Like a blank piece of paper.
Don’t take the relaxation thing too far so as not to take a haphazard approach to your business. You need to be responsible and to be disciplined in order to create the structure which will be the foundation of your successful business. You may get a big charge out of the fact that you are the boss after many years of being forced to have one, but you have to manage yourself like a boss would have. You have to have a vision, but unless you take action it is only a dream.
Have fun with your business, but take it seriously. It should be a priority and it can only succeed if you are committed to it succeeding – and making it happen. Have a plan and try hard to stick to your own deadlines to accomplish what you need to do.