Should indie authors set up an office at home?

As an indie author running a business stemming from your books, your home is the perfect place to set up office.

Working out of your home offers a number of benefits. First, it helps you maintain a low capital investment up front. You have no rent and no utilities that you aren’t already paying. In fact, you probably can save on taxes, as a home office often is tax deductible. In addition, working from home means no morning or evening commute, increasing the amount of time you have available to work. Further, you have the flexibility of setting your own hours, as you’re not keeping a storefront of sorts (though at times you will have to work when others are available to discuss business with you). Lastly, working from home allows you to maintain a healthier lifestyle. You can better control your diet when not confronted with birthday cakes for coworkers and donut Fridays, and you also can get up and stretch and even hit the treadmill for short spurts throughout the day, something that would be frowned upon at most workplaces.

As great as working out of your home sounds, before converting your den or that extra bedroom into an office explore if you actually will be able to do so. Local zoning laws often prohibit certain kinds of businesses, especially those that generate a lot of vehicle traffic, from operating out of a home. There also may be deed or rental agreement restrictions. For most authors turned coach/consultant, neither probably will be an obstacle to running your business out of your home, though.

In truth, the real obstacle may be you – you may not be able to personally handle working from home where chores and a hundred other activities can divert you from your business, where the neighbor’s dog barks throughout the day, where on a perfect warm blue sky day you can’t resist the temptation to chuck it all and head to the beach. When working from home, you always must maintain a line between personal and work lives rather than allow them to blur. The solution is to still set up a home office but work in public at coffeeshops, cafes and libraries.

If you decide to work out of your home, the next step is setting up the office space for yourself. We’ll discuss that in an upcoming entry.