Working from home is being embraced by more people across the world every day. The opportunity to be closer to the family; not having to commute to and from work for hours each day; not to mention the money saved on clothing and make-up (the latter for women, of course!), is definitely the way to go for around one million Australians.
Some people whose jobs are made redundant will be tempted to take the plunge into self-employment, but there are many other reasons for seeking the freedom obtained by working from home.
Do you have what it takes?
Before trading in the designer pinstripe for a new set of shorts and thongs, there are a few things to consider carefully. Working from home may not be the same thing as working at home, but either way it can be a lonely existence. It may not suit people who thrive on the social contact that comes from working with others.
Self-motivation is also critical to success. If the temptation to rise late and knock off early is too strong, or if your attraction to the golf course is too powerful, the discipline of a regular job may serve you best. On the other hand, some people are more productive when they can choose their own hours.
Do your research
State and federal government websites contain a wealth of advice for would-be entrepreneurs, and many sponsor business networks provide guidance on growing a start-up business. It’s a sad fact that a lot of new businesses don’t survive the first few years, so it’s important to be realistic about your own capabilities and the prospects for your intended venture.
Before you get excited about all of the financial perks you might enjoy by using your home as your office, talk to your tax adviser. The area of capital gains tax and home-based businesses is fraught with challenges, so don’t assume that everything associated with your new enterprise is tax-deductible. You could be in for a nasty surprise if you decide to sell your home after making a living out of it. You also need to manage any risk. If you have visitors to your home, you must have public liability insurance. And don’t forget protecting your equipment, stock and other items crucial to your business success.
Take one step at a time
Affordable technology provides opportunities to develop a business with relatively little financial risk, and working from home obviously helps to keep overheads down. It is also possible to start slowly, maybe turning a hobby into a business or commencing on a part-time basis. If things go well, you’ll be more confident in cutting your ties to an external income.
Like any change, do your homework first to make sure starting a home-based business is the right choice for you.