Your Home Base
By now, you may have decided to start freelancing. You’ve found the niche you want to work in, and either you see yourself managing a full-blown business or accepting clients on a per-project basis. It could get inconvenient to do your stuff in your workplace or a coffee shop all the time, so a good thing to consider is to work at home.
The Perks of Working at Home
Having your own workplace at home is advantageous in a lot of ways.
- Working at home can make you more productive. With all of your resources close by, you can concentrate on the tasks at hand and maintain your momentum. You get less of the distractions present in regular offices. It also feels good when you work in a place where you’re most comfortable.
- Apart from commuting to your regular job (if you have one), you don’t need to travel often. That saves you time wasted mostly on traffic, gasoline, and fare, relieving you from a lot of stress.
- Working at home can be healthy. That means less work-related stress plus more time to rest and exercise.
- Working at home helps you achieve a work-life balance. You have plenty of time to work, even at your own pace. With a flexible schedule, you can spend more quality time for yourself and your family. That includes finishing chores, studying, playing with your children and/or pets, and accomplishing personal tasks that you can’t make time for as a regular employee.
- Working at home can give you a sense of independence. By learning to balance your time, set goals, budget your expenses, and maintain discipline, you can make your home-based job a successful and profitable venture.
Setting Up Your Workspace
Having a home office simply means you will need a place that’s favorable for working at home. With this goal in mind, set up your workspace at home in a way that you can utilize every resource you have to your advantage.
Identify Your Work Area
Pick an infrequently used part of your house, where you can easily move around. Make sure it’s well-lit and ventilated. You may want a workplace with a good view, like a window view, but ensure that it is less prone to distractions such as environmental noise.
Once you have a space to work on, pick a suitable desk where you can work at ease. You’ll also need a comfortable chair, as well as added space for your tools and paperwork. If you have the budget, you may want to get space-saving furniture, like DIY shelves and double-duty file cabinets. The key is to install office furniture that provides functionality, ease, and comfort.
“But what if I want to work in my bedroom?” you may ask. The same principle of functionality, ease, and comfort applies here. Just don’t get tempted to plop into bed every now and then, unless you’re disciplined enough to work where you’re most comfortable.
One other thing: keep your wires out of the way when you can. Plan this way ahead while setting up your furniture. Badly installed wires can cause fires.
Tools of the Trade
Once you know what equipment you have and need, make some space in your workplace to keep them safe from the elements. Your computer must be set up in a manner where you don’t feel cramped.
Your basic tools as a freelancer are your computer/laptop, a telephone (if applicable), and internet connection. Later on, you may decide to get a printer or scanner. If your job requires chatting online, invest in a video camera and headset. If you work with pictures or graphics, a camera and some art tools or software will be useful. Think of what services you are offering, and what tools will make your job easier. Save and invest in them as you go along.
Organize Your Files
The next thing you need to do is organize your papers. If you registered with the BIR, you may already have your Certificate of Registration, also known as the BIR Form 2303, among others. Keep your books of accounts on a dedicated shelf. You will need to look at them periodically, especially now that you are required to pay income taxes. To prove that you’re a bonafide taxpayer, display your Form 2303 and your Ask Your Receipt Notice in a conspicuous part of your home.
Other business-related documents you may have on hand are client profiles, email and letter templates, proposals, directories, and other legal papers. File everything related to your services in one cabinet, your clients’ papers on another, and other materials and references in a shelf or two.
Design Your Office
Aesthetics will help your productivity at home. Here are some basic ways to do this:
- Assign a space for everything — your equipment, files, etc. — in a way that flows best for the way you work.
- Make sure you’ve got lots of storage and keep the room free from clutter (even organized messes can silently stress the mind).
- Showcase objects that interest you like books and and souvenirs so that you can continually inspire yourself throughout the day (If you have clients coming over, your literary choices may pique their interest on you.)
- If you can, paint your workspace with a color that helps induce productivity or a state of relaxation.
The key to an organized workplace is not only to maximize its functions, but also to make your surroundings pleasing to work in and visit.
Working at home has a lot of perks. Your home office will be the first step to making a giant step for your freelancing career, so establish it according to your needs and preferences.