Starting your own business while maintaining a full-time job can be challenging, but resources are available to help you succeed. We created the “16 Steps to Starting a Business While Working Full Time” eBook to help new entrepreneurs complete tasks one step at a time.
In step 7, we will cover how to set up your first office.
Your own space
Many businesses begin from humble home offices, but is your community zoned for home-based businesses?
Many communities restrict or prohibit:
- Changing your home’s structure
- Adding signage
- Doing business outside your home, such as in the yard or driveway
- Using excessive street parking for deliveries, customer/employee cars, etc.
- Storing hazardous materials
- Creating nuisances, such as odors, waste, or noise
After you determine that you are allowed to run your business from home, make sure your office space fits your needs. Separating business and personal space can help you and your family see your startup as a business, not just a hobby. But if you don’t have a separate office, you can screen off a part of your bedroom or other room. Buying a separate desk and shelves dedicated to your startup also helps mentally and psychologically.
Think about these factors when creating your office:
- Do you need to meet clients? If you need an area for meetings but don’t have a spare room for an office, search online for co-working spaces where you can rent conference rooms as needed.
- Will you have inventory or materials? You’ll need a secure place to store them.
- Will you need to make products or package items for shipping? If you don’t have room, consider outsourcing your shipping services.
You may have a computer, printer, and smartphone, but consider using a separate computer just for business. An all-in-one printer can be an affordable printing solution, or you can use a business service center to handle your printing and copying needs.
If you need more specialized equipment, talk with a SCORE mentor about finding affordable equipment sources, such as equipment leasing companies. While you’re there, ask your mentor for advice on other aspects of starting your business.
Consider Your Address
You may want to consider establishing an alternate address for your business. Many business centers offer mailbox services with real street addresses, providing more credibility than a box number, which eliminates the risk that comes with sharing your home address with all your customers.
Read the remaining steps to entrepreneurship in the “16 Steps to Starting a Business While Working Full Time” guide. Starting a business can be difficult, but remember to take it one step at a time.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.