The 10 golden rules of home business

Working From Home

10commandmentsIf you’re new to home business in 2010, or considering starting out in freelancing, working for yourself or working from home, these **10 golden rules** from [Enterprise Nation][] founder [Emma Jones][] are are great place to start.

### 1. Base the business on what you enjoy
When your hobby/passion/skill becomes your full time job, [it never really feels like work](/training/the-one-thing-you-must-do-this-year-for-your-work-to-take-off/). Leo Babauta has an excellent introduction to [making a living doing the things you love](/starting-out/go-freelance-making-a-living-doing-the-things-you-love/) and our ['Making a Living Without a Job' podcasts](/tag/making-a-living-without-a-job/) should give you a few ideas on how to live a ‘joyfully jobless’ life.

### 2. Write a plan
[Prepare a basic business plan](/managing-your-business/freelance-business-the-importance-of-planning/) to set out your vision, market, and how you propose to reach out and sell to that market. Include financials and review the plan every six months or so.

### 3. Find dedicated space
Create space in the house that is your workspace. When in that space family and friends know you’re in business mode and you can walk away at the end of the working day. [Invest in a good desk and chair](/lifestyle-and-timeout/freelance-advice-make-the-most-of-your-office-chair/) as you’ll be spending quite a bit of time at and in them!

### 4. Create a professional front door
When customers come calling, be sure they’re met with a professional welcome. This applies to the way you answer calls, to your website, company stationery and even the [places in which you choose to meet with clients](/working-from-home/create-a-professional-welcome-while-working-from-home/).

### 5. Make the most of social media
Tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been warmly embraced by the home business community. They are free to use and act as business development channel and a virtual water cooler for the moments when you miss the banter of an out-of-home office. Read our [**Marketing Yourself** features](/tag/marketing-yourself/) to find out how to boost your social marketing mojo.

### 6. Become an expert
Set yourself up as an expert in your field by blogging/tweeting about the subject, writing a report, publishing a book or hosting an event. Being an expert gives credibility and with that, comes customers. You can also [contribute to Freelance Advisor](/contribute/).

### 7. Never stop learning
Part of becoming an expert is continually picking up intelligence from those around you. Keep an eye on what others in your industry are doing, read about successful entrepreneurs and tune in to trendspotters so you can prepare for new market opportunities.

### 8. Get out of the house!
Attend networking events, work from the local café, sign up to a personal development course. It’s good to get out of the home office but be sure you can still be contacted and respond via your mobile/laptop/webmail etc. This is your road warrior kit!

### 8. Do what you do best and outsource the rest
To grow the business, focus on the core product of the company and [subcontract non core tasks to other experts and professionals](/working-from-home/do-what-you-do-best-and-outsource-the-rest/). Tasks like admin, accounting, PR and fulfilment.

### 10. Follow the golden triangle
To keep the business in balance, spend roughly a third of your time on three things; **customer care**, **business development** and **admin**. That way you’ll have a smooth running business with happy customers and new income streams on the way!

[Emma Jones][] is Founder of [Enterprise Nation][] the home business website and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’. Her next book ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’ will be published in May 2010.

[Emma Jones]: /author/emmajones/
[Enterprise Nation]:

  • Anthony Hewson

    Great list of advice. I work from home as a freelance copywriter, and certainly each of those tips has delivered results when put into practice. Even getting out of the house for a coffee regularly has given me one copywriting client (the business gained probably hasn't quite paid for all the coffee I've consumed…but still!).
    Thanks for the list…

  • FreelanceAdvisor

    I agree. Emma has done really well to isolate some fantastic rules of

    I need to get out of home, and office, at least once a week. It's
    great to be able to meet different people, work with fresh eyes on
    something new. At the moment I have 2 days in an office, 2 in a
    university and 2 at home, if I have 1 out in a cafe then I think and
    feel I get a really great balance.

  • Pingback: Freelance Friday - Social Media for Job Search, Client Rating Scale & More | Kristi Hines

  • Katy Adams

    Good advice, something we all need to be reminded of, too easy to slip into old habits, but have printed the list and will stick it on my wall. What would help me no end would be to find a book-keeper / accountant to take away the job I hate doing the most, all I seem to do is pay money out for the job and then it comes back to me!

  • FreelanceAdvisor

    Hi Katy. There are lots of bookkeeping options, from paying someone to add your receipts to a spreadsheet to a full service accountant who will look at all the ways to run your business to keep it tax efficient – tax planning is a specialism all of it's own.

    We like to recommend to our users as they hit a nice balance between DIY accounts and full-service. Basically you get the best of both worlds, so you are in control and can send invoices and track your expenses in an online system, AND you get an accountant to submit everything for you at the end of your tax year. Basically, because you keep the system up-to-date, the system is able to automatically calculate, generate and prepare your accounts for you — including VAT, PAYE and end of year stuff.

    You can even get a free consultation from Crunch if you give them a call and mention 'Freelance Advisor'

  • Rock Env Consulting

    Excellent Advice, I particularly like the get out of the house aspect, I will definately be following this one in future I guess you never know when you will find your next potential client, and sometimes it just does you good not to be looking at the same four walls and be out of your comfort zone!!!!
    Just Started running my own environmental consultancy from home and have set the commandments as my desk top background!!!!

  • Coffee Clubs

    Sharing tips with using creative ideas like the 10 commandments is really great. All of the tips written are cost effective.

  • Home Business Ideas

    This is the 10 commandments not just of home business but also big and small companies. If one of the commandments is not followed or practiced that will only give a negative result that will greatly affect the business.

  • InceptingReality

    Great article! Thank you!