Small business: Anna Radford on working from home

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Owner of Radford Communications, Anna Radford, talks about running a business from home. Photo / Supplied, Thinkstock
Owner of Radford Communications, Anna Radford, talks about running a business from home. Photo / Supplied, Thinkstock

Anna Radford, owner of Radford Communications, strategic communication solutions consultancy on running her business from home in Mt Albert.

What sorts of expenses do you have to factor in when working from home?

Working from home has low overheads and has the added advantage of home
office tax deductions. My main overheads are for IT related expenses,
computer, phone and networking - lunches, coffees, professional events
and professional development. Once one is all set up there are very few
expenses directly related to working from home, per se.

What sort of technical support do you have?

When working from home you quickly learn to become a Jack (or Jill) of all trades.

I'm the IT person, cleaner, procurement manager, accounts department, etc. Some days I even find the time to be a public relations consultant!

How do sick days work?

You get sick; you work. Well, there is the added advantage of being able to work from the sick bed or to have a little lie down if one is feeling unwell or very tired. Seriously though, the lack of sick pay is a concern and I really should get around to arranging some income protection insurance.

What downsides are there to working from home?

The main downside for me is personal and professional isolation; working from home can be very lonely at times. I have put some strategies in place to deal address this, including undertaking occasional contract work that involves me being based in the client's office, renting a desk in someone's office for one day a week, doing lots of networking.

Where do you have client meetings?

I used to do have them at home quite a bit when the kids were very small and I was just starting out in my own business. Clients who were parents themselves, often enjoyed meeting at my place because it got them out of the office. These days I rarely hold meetings at home. Clients are inevitably very busy and they don't want to spend the time travelling to meetings at my place.

How are you affected when it's school holidays?

That can be difficult, particularly when I need to go to meetings. Fortunately my husband is also self-employed (but does not work from home) so when the kids were younger they would sometimes go to his work. My office is downstairs, completely away from the living area, which helps. Now my kids are older (14 and nearly 12), they do their own thing at home while I work on.

Did you have to renovate your home to make your home office possible?

We didn't need to renovate the home to make an office possible, but some interior decorating was necessary because I couldn't bear the thought of spending my days surrounded by pink walls, hideous curtains and seriously ancient carpet. I like to keep a clear separation between work and home life, so do 99 per cent of my work from my office. If I need to do a lot of reading, then I will often bring that upstairs and sit somewhere comfortable to do it - usually on the bed.

What bad habits can you get into working from home?

It's easy to let errands such as grocery shopping and chores such as hanging out the washing, eat into the working day and it's important to manage one's time well in this respect when working from home. Surfing the net and checking Facebook updates are two other time wasting sins.

Next week: Building your brand from scratch will be one of your first challenges as a start up. How did brands like Icebreaker and Moa build their brand from day one? Email me your stories at the link below:

- NZ Herald

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