One of the issues that many home business owners face is the fact that they seem a little bit unprofessional. After all, rather than having an office, you are working out of your home. How professional can you be when there is a suspicion that you are working in your pajamas?
Even if you are sitting in front of the computer while wearing your sweats and with your hair a mess, you can still project a professional image. Indeed, maintaining professionalism in your home business is an important part of ensuring that your business is seen as legit.
Ways to Project a Professional Image for Your Home Business
There are ways you can project a professional image, even when you have a home business. One of the best things you can do is to create a dedicated office space in your home. Your clients might not see it, but having a home office workspace can go a long way toward getting you into a professional, work mindset.
Next, consider your communications. This is something that I, perhaps, might have been a bit lax about. First of all, consider what it looks like when you have an unprofessional email address. A long time ago, my email address used to be luna_aurora. Not exactly professional. If you were partygrrrrrl69 through college, it might be time to switch it up.
However, even just having a Gmail address might not be the most professional approach. Even though I have a Gmail address, I sometimes think that using email hosting, through a company like 123 Reg, might make sense. After all, I could choose to have an email that looks professional, coming from my business, rather than coming from a generic account. There's something legitimizing about having a unique email account. And many email hosting services are compatible with email programs like Outlook, so it's easy to manage everything from one place. You don't have to do extra work, but it looks as though you have a special email address for your business.
Also, consider your phone number. This is another issue that I have. I don't have a separate business line. You don't even need a truly separate line. It's possible to pay to have your business number forwarded a home line, with an indication that it's a business call. Separating your business phone from your home phone can be a good way to boost your professionalism as a business.
Another way to look more professional is to avoid meetings at your home office. It's one thing if your home office is set up like a true office, with its own entrance, and dedicated space. However, most of us home business owners just use a small space in the home. I know I do. If I actually meet with a client, I do so over lunch at a local eatery. It's also possible to use coworking spaces for meetings. There are coworking centers that allow you to schedule conference rooms in professional settings for meetings. You might have to pay a little bit, but you'll look more professional — and get a tax deduction.
Portraying yourself as a professional is important if you want to be taken seriously as a home business owner. By changing things up a little bit, it's possible to offer a professional image and boost your business reputation, all from the comfort of your home.
3 thoughts on “How Professional Does Your Home Business Appear?”
Yep, I do consulting and I work from home and one of the hardest things is having that professional image. E-mail is definitely the easiest thing to start doing.
For the phone line, I personally use a separate line from Verizon but I know that there are lots of cheaper/free alternatives. This is really important because how you answer the phone says a lot about your business for a first impression.
There’s Google Voice (I’ve run into signal issues a lot), Skype (2.99/month unlimited minutes in the USA) and Grasshopper (never tried). But what I like about Verizon and a regular phone line is that you don’t rely on internet signals.
I don’t do meetings at offices. Even if I had my own office, I’d still prefer to meet over lunch or drinks. It’s just a more comfortable setting and environment to talk business in my opinion.
You should have shown a pic of your home office as well to show how professional it is. 🙂
Haha. I actually have a pretty decent set up. Computer, messy desk. I face a wall, where I have my degrees, as well as my awards. That little space is actually fairly professional. The rest of the room? Not so much.