Back when you had a “real” job, it didn’t matter if your office was covered in clutter, craft supplies, and cat hair.  The room could be a catchall for household detritus because nobody ever had to see it (besides you).  But now that you’ve started your home-based business, you really need a space that’s more functional and organized.  It should not only suit your day-to-day needs, but also provide a meeting place that you can proudly bring clients to.  Even if you only entertain your clients periodically, you need to be able to have a business meeting without them stepping on a toy, sitting on a floor cushion, or getting pet hair in their iced tea.  In short, you need a home office that’s appointed (and treated) as a professional space.  Here are just a few ways to get your room client-ready.

1.       Clean and organize.  You have to start thinking of this space as an extension of your business, even though it happens to reside in your family home.  Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you aren’t serious about being a pro, and your home office needs to reflect that demeanor.  So start by clearing out anything that doesn’t belong (toys, gym equipment, personal reading materials, etc.) and get your space organized with proper storage (professional bins, filing cabinets, and so on).  This way, when your clients meet with you, they’ll feel like they’ve entered a corporate headquarters run by a consummate professional, rather than a private home.

2.       Add seating.  You don’t want to put your paying customers in folding chairs that you dredged up from the basement.  If you’re going to entertain clients in your home, you need appropriate seating.  While office chairs will certainly do the trick and look the part, consider splurging a bit for a sophisticated, leather sectional and chairs that will give your office a more upscale feel and offer the impression that your business is doing well.  This can often make a difference in whether or not you inspire the confidence needed to nab the job.

3.       Provide ample lighting.  A dim desk-lamp may be good enough for your needs, but when you’re going over a spreadsheet or prospectus with clients, you want them to be able to see it.  This by no means necessitates glaring fluorescents, but a combination of ambient lighting (think wall sconces) and several lamps ought to do the trick.

4.       Get technological.  The ability to teleconference (or video chat), show a power point presentation, and print and send files for clients is absolutely essential, especially if you’re going to be hosting meetings in your home.  So make sure you have the right tech to get the job done and you won’t wind up cobbling something sub-par together at the last minute.

5.       Keep family out.  Let it be known that this is your space.  Implement a no-knock policy when clients are in attendance and deny entrance to kids, pets, and yes, even your spouse.  As long as you are earning money and using your office as a tax write-off, your space should be treated with the respect it deserves.  So make it clear that the room is off limits so it will be ready to receive visitors any time a face-to-face meeting is required.

Jennifer Kardish writes for Sofas and Sectionals where you can find an assortment of high end items by brands like Palliser furniture and Berkline furniture.

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