Working from home

Hi all,

Just wondering, those of you who have had experience of starting your business from home as to what issues/challenges etc you found with this and how you overcome them?

1.Did you state you worked from home at the outset to clients and therefore admit your are a tiny set up (although you are being honest) or do you keep a veil from this fact until it comes to it?

2.Did any clients get put off from you working at home?

3.Did you ever try and meet at a neutral place/client's premises?

4.How did this all change when you got your own office etc?

5. Anything else worth adding...

ALSO

For those of you who worked part time did you use a virtual receptionist?

Many thanks for your thoughts and time! :)

Comments

  • JodieR
    JodieR Registered Posts: 1,002
    I've worked from home for the last 8 years.

    1.Did you state you worked from home at the outset to clients and therefore admit your are a tiny set up (although you are being honest) or do you keep a veil from this fact until it comes to it?

    Yes, I've always been completely honest that it's just me (and later my assistant) working from home.

    2.Did any clients get put off from you working at home?

    Nope. I guess some may not have contacted me if it was a problem to them, but I don't think I've ever lost a client or (after an initial conversation) they've picked someone else because I work from home.

    3.Did you ever try and meet at a neutral place/client's premises?

    I give all clients the option of meeting me at my house (in my living room), at their premises or in a cafe etc. Very occasionally I meet clients on neutral grounds; I often do bookkeeping work at client's premises and have a few tax return clients where I collect & drop off their papers but most come to me.


    4.How did this all change when you got your own office etc?

    I've not got an office so can't comment here.

    5. Anything else worth adding...

    The reasons i love working from home are:
    * My daughter gets to be in her own house after school and that doesn't limit me to working 9:30 - 3 only on school days.
    * I've not got office rent to worry about
    * I know that if I did have a separate office I'd still bring things home and then I'd end up with overly complex IT systems and constantly be leaving paperwork at the wrong location. But that's probably just me!

    The downsides are:
    * A few years ago when my husband was working in an office (he too now works from home, which is lovely) I had a potential client come over who spooked me a bit - he was a security guard so pretty intimidating to look at - luckily he didn't do anything untoward while he was in the house but minutes after he left he started sending me inappropriate text messages. It made me feel really uncomfortable and a bit nervous of the risks i was exposing myself to but luckily nothing really bad happened and now I've got my husband around it's not something I need to worry about any more.
    * I sometimes get a bit stressed when clients drop in unexpectedly and the living room is a mess, and if they're coming around when my daughter's playing in the living room then it's horrible telling her to clear up quick cos there's a client coming over, but she's used to it now and doesn't complain too much. I would love to somehow put stairs on the outside of the house so that clients could come straight into my work room but after a lot of enquiries it turns out it's going to be a big job, so probably won't ever happen.

    ALSO

    For those of you who worked part time did you use a virtual receptionist?

    No, never. I did have a part time temping job when I started on my own and even now I regularly do full/half days bookeeping out of the office so it's quite common that I can't answer my phone immediately - my clients are all very aware of this and know to leave a message if I don't answer. If it's something urgent I get back to them as soon as possible (in the evening if necessary), but most queries can wait until the next day. In the days of email, text messages and answering machines and I don't see that having a virtual receptionist would in any way speed up getting the query dealt with and therefore find the whole concept a bit of con... much in the same way I dislike sole traders with no staff refering to themselves as 'we' on their website!
  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    Hi all,

    Just wondering, those of you who have had experience of starting your business from home as to what issues/challenges etc you found with this and how you overcome them?

    1.Did you state you worked from home at the outset to clients and therefore admit your are a tiny set up (although you are being honest) or do you keep a veil from this fact until it comes to it?

    I didn't specifically state but it was clear from my address. Although I had a converted (attached) garage with its own entrance.

    2.Did any clients get put off from you working at home?

    Think I had one turn up and drive away without coming In but overall no problems.

    3.Did you ever try and meet at a neutral place/client's premises?

    Only if it suited a client.

    4.How did this all change when you got your own office etc?

    I work less hours but I do more travelling. Far more clients come to me than before. I do nothing work based from 4pm fri - 9:30am mon. Clients are more free to drop in to drop records off. My wife doesnt have the pressure Of keeping the kids quiet when I'm in a meeting.

    5. Anything else worth adding...

    Dont feel pressured to get an office until at least you have enough work to be working full time. Before hat it's possibly a waste of money and time travelling. You may find a home office won't gain you the larger companies (most forget where they started) but you will not put off the smaller ones at all.
    ALSO

    For those of you who worked part time did you use a virtual receptionist?

    Many thanks for your thoughts and time! :)

    Hope that helps somewhat
    Regards,

    Burg
  • stevo5678
    stevo5678 Registered Posts: 325
    Thank you to both of you for taking the time to share that with me.

    I'm very grateful to have other experienced MIP s share their experience as it is no doubt invaluable to people like my self just starting out in the scheme of things.

    I would like to eventually get an office but am in no rush and will try and take each step at a time. I think working from home is very sensible and realistic at this stage and am glad that there doesn't appear to be any issues in the main from clients.
  • paulstafford
    paulstafford Registered Posts: 126 ? ? ?
    I work part-time from home and agree with all of the above comments. A few random thoughts:

    1. One of the reasons my largest client selected me was because I worked from home. His logic being he is quite happy to pay for my knowledge but does not want his fees helping to pay for expensive premises.

    2. My website 'contact address' is my home address and I have attracted a small number of clients who live or have businesses in my part of town, precisely because I am local to them. I wouldn't have got this business if I'd tried to hide my humble operating base.

    3. I think the main reason for having a virtual receptionist is to capture the missed calls from potential clients. I don't employ one but I can see the sense in having one if , like me, you work part-time. Gaining one extra client could pay for the years service charges.
  • Dcollins
    Dcollins Registered Posts: 179 ? ? ?
    I agree with Ian, Jodie and Paul, but just want to add that if you do work from home it's important to make time to get out. Might seem obvious, but it's easy to become isolated. Do anything where you can meet other people, or even just going out for a run/walk at lunchtime helps.

    Also, try to separate your working space from your living environment, or at least be able to pack everything away at the end of the day. It can be hard to switch off sometimes.
  • stevo5678
    stevo5678 Registered Posts: 325
    Thanks Paul for your input, I'm pretty much there in being re-assured that there is nothing to worry about. From a start up perspective I think it's a no brainer, I would eventually like to get a small office space but one step at a time!

    I have considered making myself known in my immediate local area and will definitely give this a go now.

    Dcollins - That's very true. I already need to find time to switch off and putting everything away/keeping it separate will surely help.

    Thanks again all :)
  • villapb
    villapb Registered Posts: 357
    Also do you get paid on time......................
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