Setting an Office Up for Freelance Work
Posted November 12, 2010 in Getting Started, How-To
Freelance work is becoming the new “in thing.” You work from home and can set your own hours. This is all well and good, but when you work from home, you want to be sure that you have the area in order to work effectively. This means you might want to set up an office. There are some things that you should have to make your work easier and they should be in your office.
In this post, I’ll list some essential tools that all freelancers need and describe how you can arrange your office for maximum productivity.
Basic Needs for Your Freelancing Business
The first thing that you should have is a computer and a good comfortable office chair with a chair mat to protect your floors. It’s always nice to have a laptop for times when you go on business, you can take it with you. With this, you should have an email address and if you can swing it, you should have a website to promote you and your business.
You are going to want a good place in your home to work in. A place that is not in a highly trafficked area in your house is ideal so that you do not get too many distractions during your work time. A spare room in your house is perfect for the job if you happen to have such a thing. Being able to close the door and have the room out of the way is a perfect way to detach your work area from the rest of the house. Working from home can sometimes make you feel like you are always working so closing the office off during non-work times is an excellent way to keep the line between work and home.
Additional Tools You May Find Useful
Another thing that is useful is a fax machine. This is nice to have as you create contracts and orders. This way, you have a hard copy that you can have on file, which will come in handy for when you have to prove something for taxes or other issues that may arise during your work. These days, you can even opt for a three in one option that will include a fax machine, printer and a copier all in one device. These are relatively inexpensive and makes for excellent use of space since one thing does all.
It’s wise to have a phone with an answering machine. This line should be separate from the phone you use for your home so then you aren’t worried about the kids erasing the phone call from that one client or so forth. You should have this in the office as well. Alternatively, you could use a cell phone for your office number with voicemail enabled. This way, you can always have the phone with you and you will never miss any important calls that may come up while you are out doing other things. And, if you start to feel like you are getting to many calls during your off work time, you can let it go to voicemail and get back to them as soon as you are in work mode.
Organizing Your Business Documents and Your Time
It’s a good idea to have a file folder or an envelope that you can keep receipts in as well. As a freelancer, you are self-employed and you need to be able to keep good records of all your earnings as well as expenses. While you are self-employed you can write things such as your stationary, your envelopes, and your stamps off your taxes. You need a place that you can put all these receipts and keep them well organized. It is not a fun task to wait until the end of the year only to find that you have a huge pile of receipts and earnings that you have to shuffle through.
The other thing that you want to do is make sure that you have sticky notes. You might laugh, but these will really come in handy. You will be jotting down notes and things like that to remind you of what you need to do and when you need to do it. I believe that the sticky note is one of the best inventions in the office supply realm and they have saved me from forgetting a lot of things over the years!
The last thing that you should have is a calendar. The reason for this is because of the fact that you are on deadlines. Therefore, to make sure that you don’t overbook yourself use one of these. There are many who do this and if they could keep track of the date, they could have saved themselves the hassle.
What About You?
These are the things that you can do to help you get where you need to be. This will help you to organize yourself and to be ready to do business. Now, it’s time to get clients so that you can get down to business and working from home.
What tools do you use in your freelancing business? Share your answers in the comments.
Image by Extra Ketchup
- 6 Alternative Work Spaces to the Home Office – FreelancerMagazine.com
- Ten Essential Items Every Freelance Office Needs to Get Started
- Should You Rent an Office Space?
- 9 Pieces of Unusually Creative Office Furniture
- How to Really Use Twitter to Find More Freelance Work