Making the decision to branch out on your own is not one to take lightly, but it can be a very profitable and enjoyable model of working. There are a couple of key areas which you need to get right in order to be successful, which broadly speaking are the professional skills and business plan by definition, and the practical considerations. This article is focused on the steps you need to take to make sure you can concentrate on the business and professional aspects of your venture. Unless these foundations are in place, you won’t be able to focus your energies on the work and building your portfolio, so setting yourself up properly is of the utmost importance.
Plan For Your Finances
Setting up a small business can require a large investment, which you either have to save for yourself, borrow from a bank, or raise via an alternative credit provider. For the freelancer, the costs are usually far lower, but there will still be a level of investment involved. You will need to buy the equipment you need, such as desk, chair, computer, printer, and other office items. You’ll also need to have a budget for marketing yourself, creating a website, fees for professional memberships or other services, and course fees for any training you require. Your household bills will increase if you are there all the time, too. All these costs can be set against your tax bill at the end of the financial year, so you will recoup them eventually, but you still need to find the money in the first place. If you’ve been able to save money while you were employed, or have funds, you can draw on to get you going, that’s ideal. If you don’t have enough to set yourself up properly, you may have to consider a loan. Lenders can be less forthcoming with offers for people turning freelance, but you can learn more here about alternative ways to raise sufficient funds.
What Do You Need To Work From Home?
The answer to this question will depend on the type of work you’re doing, but if you’re freelancing rather than setting up a small business, you are likely to be selling your services rather than products. That very often means working on a computer, so your first task is to organize a functional, comfortable workspace. If you have a spare room in which you can set up your home office, that is ideal. It is possible to manage in a shared space, for example, your bedroom or living area, but you must make sure that wherever you choose you can have a defined working environment. Sticking your laptop on the kitchen table every morning is not a good solution, as you need somewhere peaceful so you can concentrate, and a workstation that won’t give you a bad back.
Setting Up Your Home Office Area
Your basic requirements will be the desk and chair. The style you choose can be a matter of personal preference, but what is essential is that the desk and chair are designed to provide you with an ergonomic position. You may be sitting at your desk for most of the day, so having a supportive, fully adjustable office chair is a must. The desk needs to be the right height and the footwell sufficiently wide to pull your chair right up to the desk. Stretching, stooping, and poor wrist positioning will all lead to physical problems like back pain, joint pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive strain injury. It can be tempting to position your desk in front of a window, so you have a pleasant view while you work. This is fine as long as you have the self-discipline to avoid the temptation to gaze out of it for ages instead of getting on with your work! If you can’t trust yourself, better to put the desk against a blank wall.
Equipping Your Home Office
Once you’ve got the furniture in position, you then need to arrange all the tools you need around your desk so that they are within easy reach without getting in the way. Keep stationery and files in your desk drawers or a filing cabinet, so you have a neat office desk space. If you have room to keep your printer on a separate table that is preferable to keeping it on your desk, as multifunction units can be bulky and take up a lot of surface area. Don’t forget a good quality mouse mat, and a supportive wrist rest will also help with avoiding strain on your wrist when using your computer. You’ll need to be close to your Wi-Fi hub to ensure you get the strongest signal for using online services, and have easy access to a landline, or be able to plug your cell phone in to charge. A shredder is a good idea for security, plus a waste bin and recycling bin. Then you just need to add all the stationery that you need to do your particular work.
You Are The Boss
Being your own boss has many benefits, but you need to be aware that working for yourself requires self-discipline and dedication. It’s very easy to get side-tracked and procrastinate when you have no-one supervising you, so the final piece of practical advice is to treat this job just the same as any employed role. That means having a structure to your day, so you work for a minimum period of time at a productive rate. The hours you work are entirely up to you, and that’s one of the advantages of freelancing of course, but you do need to put in the hours to succeed. A routine is nearly always best, and easier to stick with, so whatever hours you decide to work, try and make them the same each day as much of the time as possible.
Now everything you need is in place, you have all the tools you require to hand, and you have optimized your office area, you’re ready to start work!