Working for yourself from home can be a big step and there’s lot to think about. No matter how prepared you are for the leap from employee to self-employed, there’s likely to be some things you have forgotten to do. These are things that can help make sure your home business is in the best shape, ready and protected, before it starts to takes off and grow.
To help make sure you’re fully prepared for ever making the decision to start working for yourself, here are five things that you need (but might have forgotten about) when working from home.
Doing your taxes is a fundamental part of working for yourself from home, as there’s no payroll and financial expert or department to do it all for you, like there is when working for someone else. But, with the day-to-day busyness and excitement of running a home office – bringing in customers and, hopefully, some profits along the way – it can be easy to forget to do them. So it’s wise to put sorting out your taxes as a business priority.
It’s a good idea to give yourself ample time to fill in your tax paperwork and keep everything on file, so it’s easy to find when you need it. If you can afford it, it’s worth hiring an accountant to do all the work for you. Business associations, like FSB, also provide advice and support services that can help with things like taxes when running a small business.
Health and safety policy
Health and safety could well be the last thing on your mind when working from home. Worrying about having an accident in your own house might not seem much of a concern, compared with running a big office, shop or factory, for instance. However, accidents can happen in a home office, from tripping over some loose carpet in your study to being injured by a box of files, falling off a shelf and top of you, while you’re working.
For this reason, it’s wise to have a health and safety policy to make sure your home is as safe as possible for homeworking. While your policy doesn’t need to be written down – you only really need to do this if you employ five or more people – it’s still a good idea to have one. This can involve carrying out a risk assessment of your workspace to look for and list possible hazards, and then making changes to make the area safer for your homeworking.
Like health and safety, protecting yourself with insurance can be overlooked when working from home, but it’s still something you should do. If you have an accident or suddenly fall ill, and are unable to carry on running your home business for several weeks or months, it’s wise to have insurance to cover you for the money you might lose while you’re out of work.
There are other things you might need insurance for too, depending on the type of work you do. From product liability insurance to cover you if a claim is made against you involving the products you sell to customers, through to professional liability cover, if a claim is made against you involving the client services you provide, it’s a good idea to have the right business protection.
Business bank account
Having a specific bank account to hold the money you’re making working for yourself might not seem important when working from home. You probably already have a personal bank account that covers everything home-related, like bills and purchases for the house. You might also have a savings account that you think could work to hold your home business finances.
However, as it’s wise to keep your work and personal lives separate, you should do the same with money that is and isn’t related to your business. As well as helping to keep your finances organised and in order, business bank accounts can offer better interest rates, services and products, which are designed to help grow and develop startups and small businesses.
Good lines of communication
Finally, it’s wise to make sure you have some good lines of communication open when you’re working from home. Yes, you might have a decent smart phone, but, as more and more potential clients might want to get in touch with you over time as your business grows, it’s a good idea to have a landline, specifically, for your home office.
You should have a website, if you don’t already have one, which provides a clear and simple way for people to make enquires. It’s also a good idea to have a business email address, in addition to your personal one, which allows customers to get in touch with you directly to discuss anything related to your business and the work you do.
*This is a guest post.*