The Joy of SOHO: Making a Life While Making a Living
A Better Choice
The next time you overhear a friend or coworker chattering excitedly about SOHO, don't assume that they are talking about New York. In today's business world SOHO refers to "Small Office/Home Office," one of today's biggest explosions in the economy. The home-based business has been born out of necessity. In an era when large corporations always think of downsizing, what are your other choices?
Your choices are usually limited: find a lucrative niche in the small business world, stand in line at Unemployment, or accept a cut in pay and benefits. We were all raised to give 9 hours work for 8 hours pay, and we are not backing away from that. Bosses don't understand that you just put braces on your child's teeth and now have to pay for them. In this economic climate, where cost-cutting measures are the group of the day, setting up a home office on your own may
just be the ticket to beat the odds. So now, to configure your own small office, home office set-up can be a breeze.
How to Start
Let's congratulate on your decision to start your own business. But where do you go from here? Paper clips, memo pad, phone and table ?almost but not quite. One of the faults committed by home-based business owners otherwise known as a small office home office is that they fail to consider the possibilities of expansion.
It is fine to start working from the kitchen table but what happens when things start to take off and you still do not want to have an office space? where do you place the home office? If you have the space, I highly suggest a room unto itself. This permits you to close the door and separate your personal life from business. You are able to leave everything you are working on right where it is instead of shaving to clean-up for dinner or to go to bed. These clean-up steps can lead to problems down the road. where you anchor the home office is important for your future
success. A corner in the living room, bedroom or attic is preferable if you do not have a room solely for your business. Reasons for the separation include fewer distractions and the ability to think and focus more clearly.
And you may have to have one or two clients come to your "office" in the lifetime of your business. Even though it is your home, you want to present the best professional atmosphere possible, which is very important if you have people working with you. Their productivity is important to your bottom line. Invest in the appropriate chairs, tables, lighting and ventilation before you invest in the paper clips and the stapler. If you are not comfortable, neither you nor your employees will stay there and finish the job. Bottom line: Your employees don't want to interact or become a part of your family issues. It is fine to have employees in your home but just make sure you supply them with the best working atmosphere possible.
The Popularity of Being SOHO
Today, researchers and marketers have identified a
segment that is now labeled SOHO, small offices, home offices, whether they are high-tech start-ups or women selling Mary Kay .But they drive America's economic growth and have created most of the new jobs in the last 20 years. 3% of companies accounted for 6 million of the 7.7 million jobs that were added to the economy between 1991-1995. Small businesses represent over 90% of all businesses in the U.S. with an economic output greater than Germany or France or the UK.
Reportedly, home-based workers earn more money. The 46 million home-based workers in the United States, including a large number of women, working at home in an attempt to better balance work and family, earn 28% more than the average office worker, and spend less time making their pay. Of course this could be due, in part, to the fact that more experienced and aggressive workers tend to start their own businesses.
Remember, going into business on your own, or from a home office may mean making do with less. But it can also mean achieving more: more independence, more
challenges, more results. In the long run it may well mean more money for you and your family. In a word, doing it on your own means freedom, to grow, experiment and learn. If you are successful, you won't have to go ask for a raise or accept what you're given or worry about being turned out to pasture when a younger version of yourself comes along. You will have the freedom to enjoy the profits of your own work, and the continuing growth and profit which comes from owning your own business. Good luck and enjoy the journey.