So, you’re about to make the jump to a home-based business. Maybe you’ve been wanting to start your own company for a while and have carefully laid out all the pieces. Or maybe job loss, furloughing, or some other type of career setback has forced you to think outside the box.
Whatever the case, opening a business out of your apartment can provide you with unmatched flexibility and freedom. But there are many factors to consider before you get too deep into the process. Below, I will discuss three of them: sorting through the legalities of your business, ensuring you have reliable internet service, and creating a home office that meets your needs.
Without further ado, let’s get to it!
1. Make Sure Your Business Is Legal
There are many legal considerations to make when choosing to work from home, particularly if you live in an apartment. From local regulations to your specific lease agreement, it is imperative that you understand the requirements and restrictions involved before you dive into launching your venture. Let’s talk about some of the most common factors:
Every business should have a legal structure. Many solo entrepreneurs operate as sole proprietors because it requires the least amount of preparations and maintenance. But forming an LLC could prove advantageous to your small business. LLCs are also relatively easy to set up and require less paperwork and maintenance than a corporation. But you will also have liability protection and potential tax benefits that come into play.
Licenses and Permits
Whether or not you need a business license or permit to conduct business from your apartment will largely depend on the city, county, and state in which you reside. The type of business you are starting will also help determine the licenses and permits you need to obtain.
For example, if you are operating in an e-commerce store or selling local produce out of your living space, you will need to consider different factors than if you are a freelance writer or operating as a massage therapist. The best way to understand what you are required to do in this regard is to contact your local and state government offices.
There are standard lease agreements that you can research that touch on the topic of running a home-based business. But what matters is what your particular lease states about the issue. Every landlord is different, so it is generally a good idea to evaluate your lease anytime you are thinking about doing anything unique in your apartment. Opening a business would be one of those things!
As you pore over your lease, look for anything related to operating a business, and confirm there are no restrictions you need to be aware of. It is also best practice to speak to your landlord or property manager. This will better confirm that you are good to go on your business idea as well as show your landlord that you are committed to being a good tenant. Plus, if you have any other concerns, you can take the opportunity to address them.
Similar to licenses and permits, the zoning laws you will need to consider will depend on where you live. Each municipality and county is different. In essence, zoning laws determine whether the area in question can be used for residential and/or commercial use.
These days, mixed-use laws are quite common; you can see examples of this when looking at apartment complexes being built over shops downtown. When speaking with your local government office, ask which zone your apartment complex falls into so that you will know whether there are any concerns you need to address.
Local ordinances are ultimately established to help ensure safe and comfortable living experiences for the residents in a community. These rules are wide-ranging and often vague. Your local government office, once again, is an excellent place to learn about the ordinances around town, and your landlord should be able to enlighten you on any rules specific to your apartment building.
Common areas addressed by local ordinances include noise restrictions, business hours of operation, fire code and other building safety issues, parking, employee maximums, and more. If you’re operating as a solopreneur, chances are your business won’t be significantly impacted by all of the ordinances. Nonetheless, it is important to know about them so that you can ensure your business isn’t becoming a nuisance to the community.
2. Get Reliable Internet Service
If you plan on using a computer for your apartment-based business, it’s likely that you will need stellar internet service. Many apartments nowadays provide internet as part of the package, but the performance of the service varies from complex to complex.
If you already have internet in your apartment, it’s essential to evaluate the strength and reliability of the signal. In an apartment building, all tenants are using the same service, which can cause some serious lag in the connection. If you are experiencing problems, find out how your building is wired as well as the average strength of the signal; you can find this out by talking to your landlord or property manager.
Additionally, consider things you can do in your apartment to improve your own internet service signal. If your apartment is further than other apartments from the building’s router, that can be a major issue. Metal inside the walls, HVAC systems, and other electrical sources can block connections. Any such problems may require you to invest in extra equipment to ensure that you have reliable and fast internet access.
If you are responsible for getting your own internet service, do plenty of research to see which providers work in your area. Most importantly, compare the bandwidth offered from each provider, and make sure you choose a company that can accommodate your business growth and resolve issues in a timely manner.
3. Outfit Your Home Office
Finally, you’re going to need a home office that allows you to work comfortably day in and day out. Depending on the size of your apartment, you may not be able to dedicate an entire room to your business. If you have an assistant you’ve recruited to help you out, you’ll want to take their need for space into consideration as well.
Take an objective look at your apartment and reconsider how you have it laid out. Could you comfortably fit a workstation in the corner of your bedroom or spare bedroom? Is there a dining nook or hallway closet that can be repurposed? Maybe the window in the living area would make for an ideal workplace?
You need to think about the equipment and tools you will be using as well. Nothing hurts productivity and efficiency more than trying to work without the necessary tools. Invest in high-quality products at every level—from your laptop to your desk to your office chair.
Also, figure out how you can minimize distractions. If you have other household members who will be home during work hours, you might need to put up a partition or rearrange so that you can set up your office in a closed-off room. And if you want to work by a window, which can provide you with excellent natural light, you need to make sure that the scene outdoors will not distract you.
Then there’s the inspiration factor. This may require you to walk a thin line; you don’t want the design aesthetics of your home office to stray too far from that of your apartment but also want it to be professional and set apart from the rest of your living space. You’ll also want it to be a place you feel comfortable and stress-free, like keeping the temperature at a comfortable 77 degrees fahrenheit or taking advantage of window light rather than artificial lighting.
Whatever situation has encouraged you to take the leap to entrepreneurship, you must diligently prepare before launching your venture from your apartment. Consider the information and advice above concerning the legalities of operating a business out of an apartment, obtaining reliable internet service, and creating a home office that accommodates your needs. And remain open-minded to other ways that you can position yourself for a strong, long-lasting business!
Would you like to read more helpful content about organizing your personal and business life? Visit Issata O. Inc. today!