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Home Sweet Office

I work at/from home, and because of that my routine varies from that of the typical office or factory worker.

I usually start my workday at 9 AM. By 8:59 I have finished breakfast, spent 30 to 45 minutes reading business articles in my favorite magazines, and now it is time to go to work. I go to the kitchen, pour another cup of coffee, and walk down the stairs to my basement office. Total commute time: 31 seconds.

I run what some people call a micro-business. Daniel Pink, in his book Free Agent Nation, describes them as “a blaze of enterprises that are exceptionally small, sometimes consisting of only two or three people.” He says that because of technology,”a single individual or a tiny cluster of people can obtain the power, scope, and success of a large corporation without sacrificing the independence, flexibility, and joy of being small.”

I am what author Dan Miller calls a solopreneur, others use the term entrepreneur, freelancer; or as coined by Daniel Pink “free agent”. And, to top it off, some people describe my business as a 'nanocorp', defined as being committed to remaining small.

What ever they call it, some of the benefits to running your business from home are quite obvious:

No long commutes. A friend of mine drives an hour to work each day. That is two hours a day, 10 hours a week. for 50 weeks per year; 500 hours! He spent the equivalent of nearly 12 work weeks on the road. Imagine how much business building effort I can put into those same 12 work weeks while here in my office.

Low business overhead – great for a start-up businesses. Remember, a rented office space (and associated costs) is a form of monthly ‘debt’. Peter Andrew, a former analyst with A. G. Edwards, says, What kills companies is debt; without debt, companies have the wherewithal to survive.” And, let’s not forget the home office tax deduction.

More time with family. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the family are part of our daily routine.

There are downsides to working at home that must be overcome:

Many home-based business owners have difficulty in separating business and home life. Your spouse may see you at home and come up with lists of errands to run or projects to accomplish; not realizing that this disrupts your business routine. Children especially find it difficult to understand that: sometimes, when parents are at home, they are really at work.

Try to establish a definite routine: for example, the hours between 9 AM and noon are work hours, or establish a definite area, however small, that is devoted solely to your business. Set boundaries and ask that they respect your workday when it comes to phone calls, pop-in visits, etc.

But, for me, the positive aspects far outweigh the negatives. Love that commute!

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