Running a Business When You Don't Have a Lot of Room

Being an entrepreneur can be a rewarding experience, but if you’re running a small business, you may not have the money or need for a standalone office space. Though this setup can seem stressful, you can take steps to make running your business easier when working from home or in a confined area.

Managing Space

Organizing your business in a smaller space can be accomplished more easily than in the past since most people work primarily on their laptops or desktop computers. If you can find a niche where you can place a desk, you can more easily set up everything you need to succeed.

Consider lighting availability (natural lighting yields several benefits), ease of movement if you have to get up a lot, and storage for everything you need to do your work. Sometimes all you need is a podium or standing desk, but you may be more comfortable with a full table as well. Try to make your workspace feel like a truly separate area so you're less likely to feel distracted when trying to focus.

Separate Your Work and Home Life

Without clear distinctions, you may find it difficult to get into work mode or to unwind at the end of the day. Physical boundaries can help enforce mental boundaries, so try placing your office in a separate room. If you must put it in a common room or your bedroom, tuck the desk or table in a corner or in a separate part of the room. 

There are also techniques to help you unwind from work and stay mentally balanced. For instance, adding plants to your workspace or home in general yields you more fresh air and the psychological benefits associated with nature.

Messy areas throughout your home can add to your stress as well. Cleaning and reorganizing your space regularly can help you feel calmer and more refreshed. If you live with others, have children, or take care of pets, be extra mindful of how you organize your office space since you don’t want them to accidentally mess it up or feel claustrophobic because of newly-imposed space restrictions.

Legalities and Landlord Questions

You may not be sure how legal it is to run a business out of your home, but most industries allow for it. This question largely rests on whether or not you need to see clients in person and what laws surround the storage of sensitive materials, such as documents. Unless your business operations are likely to disturb others or be noticeable by those in the immediate area, it probably isn’t a big deal as long as there’s no increase in foot traffic. If you have any doubts, consult a business lawyer before setting up.

In addition, you’ll need to go through the process of legally structuring your business. While there are several to choose from, many emerging entrepreneurs go with an LLC or S corporation. LLCs offer protection of your personal assets as well as some tax benefits, while a Virginia S corporation owner can expect lower self-employment tax rates and the option to claim tax deductions on their company losses. If you’re like most and don’t know how to start an LLC in Virginia or an S corp in our state, working with a formation agency can take the stress out of the paperwork.

Make an Office Work in a Small Space

While it can seem challenging to place everything you need in a confined space, it can work as long as you’re mindful of building and legal restrictions, you respect those you live with, and you set up a space with clear boundaries between work and daily life. Declutter and reorganize your space regularly to keep it feeling fresh and tidy.

For great local resources and connections that can help you launch your business to success, join the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce.

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