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Home Business: benefits, challenges and looking after yourself

Benefits and challenges

Some benefits of running a home business include:

  • more flexibility in working hours and lifestyle
  • lower overhead costs
  • less time spent commuting.

Some challenges to consider before starting a home business can include:

  • feelings of isolation due to fewer opportunities to interact with others
  • never being able to leave work behind or inconsistent hours, which may place strain on health and relationships
  • more opportunity for distractions while working at home can impact on productivity.

Looking after yourself

Running a business from home has many advantages but it also comes with challenges that can expose you, your employees and/or relatives to feelings of stress, anxiety or depression.

7 top tips for maintaining a healthy mind

1. Participate in regular networking opportunities

Isolation is a key issue for some home businesses. Some options for regularly connecting with others that may also help your business may be provided by your professional or industry association, your local business chamber, events or networks specifically for small or home businesses run by your local council or the home business networks.

2. Seek advice if your business is facing challenges

Identifying and connecting with the right local business support services can assist homebusinesses access critical business advice, information, training and government services in all phases of business development. Some services are available for free or low cost. Find a Business Connect advisor.

3. Set a daily routine

When the office is located at home, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate work life and personal life. Setting fixed working hours for visits, work and calls, and communicating these to your customers, clients and suppliers, can help you manage your work-life balance and safeguard relationships at home.

4. Stay motivated by planning short and long-term goals

Once a home business is established, there can still be challenges with maintaining and cultivating steady trade. Dealing with tough times or slower times throughout the business lifecycle requires lots of courage and self-motivation. A systematic and consistent approach to project management can help manage downturns by setting daily, weekly and monthly goals that are realistic and in line with your business strategy.

5. Keep learning

Training can provide a sense of achievement and good opportunities for networking. The time spent on improving or learning new skills is an investment that can quickly translate to an increase in productivity for a home business.

6. Regularly assess if home is still the best place to operate

It is important to regularly assess whether your business is beginning to outgrow your home office or whether there are other good reasons that you should move the business from your home. There may be a need to hire more staff or invest in more equipment, your health or family may be negatively impacted, the use of a residential premise might limit the productivity of the emerging business and compromise its ability to grow, or family circumstances may change. In some instances, a home business might even unwittingly fail to comply with relevant legislation or Council policies. In some communities there are start-up hubs, co-working spaces or other options that may assist home businesses transitioning from residential to commercial premises. It is worth checking with your local Council.

7. Ask for help when you need it

Ahead for business is a digital platform (website and mobile application) that has been specifically designed to support small business owners to take action on their own mental health and wellbeing. It identifies specific needs and connects small business owners to tools, tips and e-health programs to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

If need support or advice, you can contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14, or find more support agencies on our Mental health for small businesses web page.