Business operations

Is running a business from home right for you?

Increasingly, people choose to work from home or start a home-based business. Before you take the plunge, consider whether you and your business are the right fit.

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Work out if it suits you

Working from home suits some people more than others – and running a business from home adds another layer of complexity.

First, consider whether you have the skills and personality to start a business. It’s one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do, so if you’re not someone that is fiercely determined, self-reliant, confident in your own abilities, action-oriented, and a self-starter, you might struggle. You’ll also need the right skills to run your business – or be willing to learn them. 

Without the motivator of the outside world, working from home can amplify these challenges. If you tend to lose motivation when you’re alone, for example, you might do better in an office environment.

Work out if your business is suitable

Working from home may be right for you, but you also need to consider whether it’s right for your business.

Some types of business are well suited to operating from home, for example:

  • Service and consultancy type businesses such as freelance writers, bookkeepers, financial advisors, marketing consultants, beauty consultants, home cleaning businesses, or gardening services
  • Technology businesses such as website builders, IT consultants, or software developers
  • Online businesses that don’t need large physical premises, e.g. online stores
  • Small scale or home industry type businesses, e.g. caterers or dressmakers.

Other types of businesses may not be suitable. You need to consider what will be your workspace and if there may be any restrictions you need to be aware of.


If you need to project an upmarket, professional image or have regular meetings with clients or customers, it’s more difficult to do so when there are children running around or dogs barking when you’re on the phone. 

It may pay instead to rent space in a serviced suite of offices or use the services of a shared space or co-working environment. That way you could benefit from facilities such as a reception and waiting area, meeting rooms, and other shared business equipment that aren’t cost-effective for the average home office.


There may be restrictions on the number of employees you can have working in the business, noise levels (e.g. for a panel-beating business), or concerns if your business attracts a lot of customers. For example, neighbours may object if your business occupies all the available car parks in your street.

You should also always check first with your local council or regional authority to find out what they permit in a home office situation. If you’re renting, you should also check your lease as there may be restrictions you’re not aware of. 

Your local council is also a good place to find out about:

  • Signage rules
  • Whether you need a license, e.g. if you’re running a health and beauty business or food business
  • Special requirements such as health and safety, food-handling, and liquor licensing
  • Building modifications that may be required for your business, e.g. smoke alarms if you’re setting up a homestay business.

Next steps

If you’re confident that operating from home is right for you and your business, the next step is to consider how you can overcome any challenges that might arise.

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