Taking Yourself Seriously
If you want to be successful in your home office you need to take yourself seriously. Whether you are working for yourself or working from home for a company you need to make sure that your family, friends and neighbors realize that you are actually at work, not just 'at home' and available for a chat. You also need to cultivate a professional image so that even if you never meet your clients or customers they will have confidence in you, take you seriously and pay you appropriately.
Space And Time
After setting up your office space, however humble it may be, you need to set your other parameters. You need to set and mark your boundaries clearly so that when you are working you don't get interrupted by domestic concerns and can concentrate properly on the task in hand. Many parents who work at home prefer to work when the kids are in school and after they have gone to bed, but if you have deadlines to meet you may not be able keep to this. This is where even a simple 'Do Not Disturb' or 'Genius At Work' sign on the door to your office can work wonders, both for you and for your family members, so that everyone knows that you are 'at work' and to leave you alone, except for a major crisis.
Dedicated Phone Line
If you are going to be doing any of your business over the phone it is very important to have a dedicated office phone line with a proper professional answer message. Although your three year old's answer message might be cute for the family it doesn't convey the proper image to a client. A dedicated line will also ensure that your teenage girls' phone conversations aren't preventing your vital clients' phone calls from getting through. And of course having a mobile phone number for clients only is essential. With phone number recognition programs and individualized ring tones, you can know who you are speaking to before you pick up the phone.
When you are running a business, which is what your home office is, it is helpful to have a proper business name. Whether you actually set yourself up as a properly registered company, having a snappy sounding business name will help people see you as a professional in your field. Calling yourself Smith Supplies gives you more scope than just calling yourself Susan Smith, whereas Susan Smith Supplies could give the completely wrong impression altogether!
Even if you are doing all of your business over the internet it is still a good idea to print up some business cards to hand out. You never know who you might meet at the PTA or at the gym who could help you in your business. On your business card you want your business name if any, your name, title e.g. 'Education Consultant' or 'Interior Designer', email address, phone numbers and your website address, if you have one. Putting your home office address depends on your office setup and your type of business. If you are operating out of the living room you may prefer not to, whereas if you have a home office with a separate entrance it can be advantageous.