There is a stigma attached to people who work from home which holds that they are unprofessional and lazy. Though there are some perks to working from home such as a shorter commute and a flexible schedule, it is time we debunk this belief. Let us show the corporate community that people who work from home can be just as professional and productive as their office-based counterparts. Here are few things that home-based workers can do to help debunk the stigma.
Have a dedicated workspace
When you start your business from home, ensure that you have a workspace which is dedicated to your work. For example, if you have clients coming into your office, you may need to be able to keep your pets in a separate area and ensure that there is enough parking. Having a physical area set aside for work may also help you focus on business activities when you are in that space. Lastly, let your friends and family know that although you work from home, you are not available for ‘quick’ pop-ins or little errands. Activities such as these should be done outside of your work hours.
It is important that you are reachable at any time during your working hours. Ensure that you are able to answer emails as soon as possible without too much delay, and make sure you have good internet access so that your clients can send you messages using Skype or similar messaging software should they need to. Arranging to have physical meetings with clients who are nearby to chat about new projects and get feedback about previous projects is another great strategy. An added benefit of this is that it also allows you to build meaningful relationships with your clients. This in turn helps to generate repeat business as well as word-of-mouth advertising.
Watch how you market your company
When you market your company, you don’t need to highlight the fact that you run a home-based business. Doing so may send the wrong message to your clients. As long as you are able to deliver your product or service, where you are working from should be irrelevant. Another consideration is to have a professional website. This is the storefront of your company and may well be the first thing people see when they interact with your business. A user-friendly website with relevant information that is easy to understand will help your audience understand your business better and is a real asset.
Have the right equipment
Have suitable tools for the business you wish to run from your house. For example, if you are a virtual assistant, you will need to ensure you have a good internet connection, phone line, fax, scanner and printer.
So get out there and debunk the stigma! Let’s leave a legacy of home-based businesses and their employees who are just as efficient, dedicated and hardworking as their office-based counterparts.
Brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).