Photo credit .Fabio
Working in a home office environment is great from a green perspective. It eliminates the necessity to drive to and from work, it limits the immense energy usage typical for a large office building, and reduces your own personal carbon footprint by as much as half in certain areas.
But the home office is not a perfect world...In fact, the home office setting can sometimes feel a little self-defeating. Not only do you have to deal with the constant reminder from your postal carrier, clients, and friends that you are not a real business; you also have to contend with the wife, kids, pets (probably your best employees out of the bunch) and a host of other financial unpleasantries, while attempting to function as a business at the same time.
But before I go off ranting incoherently about my own office blues, there's a knock at the front door; perhaps the ghost of home office Christmas past to offer an affordable 1600 square foot office rental?
Nope, no such luck, just my retired next door neighbor dropping by to share some of his fresh made heavily alcohol endowed eggnog. It may be two in the afternoon, but the home office knows no boundaries when it comes to neighbors, friends, telemarketers, cable guys, plumbers, carpet cleaners and yes, even sometimes your own family.
The Route of the Problem
The home business owner is after all technically void of any obvious tangible evidence of a professional business. Not that you can't have a very successful professional business in your home, but in the eyes of some people, you will never be truly successful until you have your own separate office space (away from your home) dedicated to your enterprise.
Surprisingly, one of the biggest day to day challenges for a home office business owner is not balancing the spending charts or coordinating schedules with clients. But rather yelling "phone!" whenever the telephone rings to make sure all stereos and PlayStation's get turned down, remembering to put a robe on before answering the door in your underwear, or even more importantly, finding a beginning and end to the day.
For many home business owners, it seems as if they are always working. If you think about it, they kind of are. I mean they are after all, always at work. You can't get away from it unless you are either mowing the lawn, washing the car, away doing errands, or perhaps shoveling 'dog bombs' off the back porch.
But the true Holiday Home Office Blues don't officially attack until once the bills of Christmas present begin to pile on top of the ones from Christmas past. Finances with a home business can sometimes get a little tricky around the holidays. Especially if your business is experiencing a dip (or crater) at the moment.
NASE and SOHO to the Rescue
Hopefully none of the above describes your current home office situation, but if any of these sound a little more familiar than you'd like to admit, then perhaps it is time to pay a visit to Tiny Tim (a.k.a. The National Association for the Self Employed, NASE).
NASE can give you advice on Tax deductions, affordable health insurance, methods of screening and hiring new employers, and will keep you informed on the latest trends and developments in small business organization. On the same note, SOHO (Small Office Home Office) can offer the home office operator access to discount coupons, calling cards, and various self-help articles on marketing, financing, debt, credit cards, and how to create a business plan for 2009.
Last night upon logging out of the NASE and SOHO I was at last visited by the ghost of home office Christmas past. I was reminded of all the nights that some folks don't get home until both their wife/husband/kids are in bed, sitting in a meeting when they would rather be cheering their kids volley ball team to victory, and suddenly I saw things in a different light...
Holiday home office blues no more. Those of us who are in home business situations are actually very lucky in many ways beyond just the green standpoint. Nobody ever said that running a home business was going to be easy, but it can be worth its weight in gold if you keep yourself organized, well informed, and allow yourself to ask for help when you really need it.