There are many really brilliant franchise opportunities available across the UK, which by virtue of their model remove the need for the expensive overhead of Ã¢¬Ëcommercial premises'. This is proving a major draw to legions of would be Ã¢¬Ëbusiness owners' fearful or apprehensive of the cost and long-term commitment a commercial lease requires.
So what do you need to think about before setting up your home business? Firstly, you need to advise your insurers that you are intending to work from home and see if that impacts on your policy. Then consult your accountants to see what legitimate expenses you can claim against your home/ office; very often a proportion of your household bills such as telephone, heat and light can be offset against income.
Something that really does need close scrutiny is the impact a Ã¢¬Ëdedicated and fit for purpose' workspace within your home will have on your home and on your family. If you're planning to re-purpose the spare room what happens when you have people over to stay? Is the space you have earmarked fit for purpose? Will you really be able to do what you need to do from the kitchen table and worktops or would a dedicated garden office cabin perhaps be a sound investment and minimise impact on the household ?
There is much to get excited about when thinking of exchanging the expensive, daily commute with a brief and pleasant stroll from the bedroom to kitchen and then to the small office home office (SOHO). However, you'll likely be working pretty much alone - other than the HQ support of your franchisor and fellow franchisees - so you'll need heaps of discipline, energy and stickability to keep your mojo flowing and productivity on track even when things aren't going quite as well as you'd wish. The idea of working for ourselves is a dream for many but how many think of it as working by ourselves? Perhaps less! If your last role was in a busy office, shop or environment where colleagues surrounded you, the initial solitude of working alone from home might take a little getting used to. Make sure you blend the work life balance that was clearly key to you choosing to buy into a home based franchise opportunity. Set a routine and stick to it. Stop for lunch. Have your coffee break and step away from the desk. If the am / pm school runs are a critical component to your day then do it. Make the school run as firmly fixed in your daily routine as your wake up espresso!
You'll also need discipline to set boundaries and rules for yourself and your family. Your PC is your business PC; it's a tool like a carpenters pencil, so tell your family (especially children with sticky fingers and beakers of pop) that your SOHO is your SOHO and it's out of bounds. You'll need to then make sure you stick by your rules too. There could be a tendency to both under work and overwork so make sure you strike the balance. Don't get sucked into answering the office phone late at night or checking emails before you go to bed. Set your phones to night time and power down your PC when you leave so the temptation is more easily avoided. Regard your workspace as an office and when you leave for the day, leave for the day.
Depending on the ages of your children, one of the biggest advantages to home based working is that childcare costs could potentially be slashed. This applies more to school age children with a daily absence from the home during school time to give you a clear six hour run to do what you need to do each day and every day. During school holidays is where the biggest edge will come, but you'll need to adjust your routine a tad to ensure you don't get the Ã¢¬Ëbut you're always working' line and be prepared to put in some after hours time to play catch up. It's totally worth it though as after all, one of the reasons for buying into a home-based franchise business is the flexibility and freedom it gives you and your family. Right?
Working from home is right for many but not for all. We can get carried away when we dream of running our empire from a spare bedroom or a garden cabin and the idea of escaping the clutches of a tyrannical boss can often be overwhelming. Whilst working from home brings with it many advantages, it is a decision you need to make thoughtfully, considerately and in consultation with everyone else who calls your home home. Working from home can be utterly brilliant though. It really can bring a change to your lifestyle and give you flexibility and freedom so many of us crave for yet so many of us fail to achieve. It can make the daily commute a pleasure instead of a pain. It can take away the need for panic planning when a child is unwell and needs to stay at home. It can also provide a lucrative and low overhead income stream which when done right also brings life work balance along as a guest too.
Consider the options with care and go for it. Do it right and it will change the way you and your family live your lives.
Freddie St. George
Freddie St.George is Managing Director at Mojo Publishing Ltd. He is a father to two daughters and loves classic cars... especially Minis.