Working from Home in a Home Staging Business

What to consider before starting your home working business

When considering starting your home staging business you need to determine where you will work from. For many, especially in the early days of their business, this will be from home; and may continue to be a home-based business depending on how you progress and what you prefer.

Working from home comes with many benefits, but there are also challenges and considerations to take into account before deciding.

The benefits of working from home

Cost efficiency

When working from home you can cut your outgoing costs by reducing the need for an office, travel, storage space (although this may be needed as your business grows) and more.

Flexibility around other commitments

One of the key reasons people chose to run their home staging business from home is because it can work around your home life and personal commitments. From medical appointments, to school meetings, you have complete control over your diary.

Location familiarity

By working from the place you live, you will have a natural familiarity to your area. This can help determine and develop working relationships within the community and hugely benefit marketing strategies and word-of-mouth referrals.

Constant inspiration

You are a home stager, so what better place to run your business from, than a home! From having the ability to take home staged photos for social media, to being able to test staging theories and concepts in a safe space; being based in a home can have a great motivational and inspirational impact on your home staging business. Marketing wise, familiarity can also have a great impact on converting leads into clients, and by showcasing your style through the design you implement in your own home, you are able to demonstrate this first hand.

It is more common than you think

Especially since COVID19 and lockdowns, more people than ever before are homeworking, and so there is a natural understanding and appreciation for it. Working from home is now an understood and recognised work location and one that you can use to your business' benefit.

The downside to working from home

Time demands and work life balance

When working from home it can be harder to negotiate a typical 9-5 working pattern. Whilst this is often a good thing, as we can be flexible with how and when we work, it can mean the lines are blurred between when we are and are not working. Demands from clients, business responsibilities, home life and personal commitments can clash and need strict management. It can be harder to maintain a healthy work life balance when your work is at home with you. You will need to work efficiently and set up time management strategies to overcome this.

Home working considerations

You'll make the most of the benefits of working from home by considering the following early and making a plan.

Home Office Space

It's important to create a home office space that works for you as well as your family. Plan the layout and your requirements. As a Home Stager, creating an attractive space will come easy to you and you can organise your home office to be practical, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

Home Office Chair

Deciding on a comfortable chair and desk space is important for your physical health and your wellbeing.

Chairs that are sold as "ergonomic chairs" are designed to suit a range of people; however, there is no guarantee that they will suit any one person in particular. It's best to go to the store and try them out to be sure.

Ergonomic Office Chair - What Does It Mean? Ergonomics is a science that deals with optimal adaptation of work tools to its conditions and users' needs - including the anatomical structure of our body. Therefore, an ergonomic office chair is one that is properly profiled in relation to the curves of our body. A comfortable office chair allows for proper support of the spine and limbs. It should be adjustable in height so that you can comfortably rest your feet on the floor when your legs are bent at the knees at an angle of 90 degrees. A comfortable chair must also have a backrest, headrest and armrests - these elements are necessary to keep a proper posture while sitting. Source: Staples.co.uk

Storage

It will be necessary for you to store small items in your working space as your everyday business "kit." Such items could include business cards, stationery, site visit items such as tape measure, clipboard, printed site visit questionnaires, paint colour charts and so on.

Storage boxes or a deep bookshelf may be as much as you need to start with.

Storing Furnishings and Accessories

As your business grows, you'll also need to consider space. If you are planning on developing a stock of furniture or rental items it is important that you make a long term plan to accommodate this.

Do you have storage space at home that you can use to store items/ accessories/furniture/ your business kit? Alternatively considering storage space for stock will help your business to grow while enabling you to continue to largely work from home. Self storage or container storage is relatively cheap and should be factored into the price you charge out for rental of items. All these aspects are important to consider when deciding if working from home is beneficial and practical for you.

The benefits of Business Networking

[Forbes, 2021,] reported that 'around 20% of [homeworkers] might suffer from loneliness when working remotely. Please see the following article from Forbes.com'

Self compassion is the key to survive working remotely

It is important to consider the implications of working from home alone. Working from home can be isolating, but it also requires dedication, self-discipline and time management skills as you will not have anyone else to hold you accountable. It's useful to have a plan to reduce the feeling of 'being alone' in business. Maintaining good social contacts and organise to be part of networking groups to maintain useful contacts as well as for your wellbeing. Professional networking groups for your industry such as HSA and House Wow Services will also help you keep up to date and offer support to grow your business.

Time Management

When working from home you need to be self- disciplined with your time. By setting yourself clear working hours, you save allocated space for working, home life and anything you need to fit into your schedule.

There will be times you need to muddy the water or are not able to time manage as effectively as usual. This is absolutely normal and a part of self-employment, but it is important that this is an exception, and not the rule.

By managing your time effectively this will also reduce the negative impact homeworking can have on your family time. It is important for your work life balance to not feel that your business and family life are constantly battling each other; and effective time management can help you negotiate the balance better.

Create Boundaries

From giving yourself strict working hours, to setting time to have breaks, food and client meetings; it is essential to create boundaries when working from home. Do not be afraid to tell a client that you can not meet due to your working hours or other commitments; and do not feel the need to work past set working hours because you can. A great way to separate your home and work life can be to create a separate home working space or office. This can help to separate your home and work life visually as well as mentally.

Professionalism

It can often be a concern for those working at home, on how they will maintain a professional image without a business premises or address. There are many ways to help you feel more confident about the appearance of home working; from ensuring you have a suitable background for video calls with clients, to having a website, and the opportunity to rent office spaces for one-off meetings if needed. You can pay for a registered business office address or ask your Accountant if you can use their office address. Business profiles such as Google My Business and Facebook can also be set to service area, rather than needing a business address; all of which enables you to protect your privacy, uphold a professional image, and work from home.

Supporting your mental health

Working on your own does not mean working alone. There are many online and in-person networking groups across the UK whereby home staging professionals can network, build contacts and develop a local presence.

Working from home also does not mean that you need to do everything by yourself. You can outsource many tasks to other freelancers. As your business and caseload grows, outsourcing aspects such as admin, accountancy and marketing, can be the perfect way to develop a team and support network, whilst working from home.

And remember to use your home staging expertise to help your mental health too. By designing a home working space that includes suitable lighting and biophilic concepts, you can simultaneously showcase your skills and reap the mental health benefits of bringing the outdoors in.

Overall, there are many pros and cons to setting up a business that operate from your home. As with any choice regarding your business, it is important that you consider all the options, what works best around your lifestyle now, and any practical or personal limitations that may need to influence your choice.
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