When some people see something they want, they buy it without giving it a second thought. When other people see the same something they want, they pinch their pennies and choose to go without. Most people fall somewhere in between (I definitely lean toward the second). Part of the reason why you might choose to go into business for yourself and to start working from home is because of all the money you can save (plus the theoretically limitless earning potential).
But, this can lead you down a dangerous path where you “cheap out” and are unwilling to spend any money on your business. Realistically, you have to recognize that you need to spend money to save time (and earn more money). Outsourcing some tasks is part of it. Another part is choosing to indulge in certain “luxuries” that you can totally justify in the name of growing your business. Take these examples.
A Dedicated Workspace
Remember that your business, even if you run it from home, is still a business. It’s not a hobby. If the objective is to turn a profit so you can earn a living, it’s a business. You can still have plenty of fun doing it and you can certainly enjoy the work, but you’ve also got to make money doing it too. Treat it like a real business.
What this means is, if at all possible, your “home office” shouldn’t be a laptop while sitting on the living room couch. It shouldn’t mean you set up temporarily on the dining room table for a couple hours before it has to be cleared for supper. You need a dedicated workspace. Ideally, this is a separate room you can call your home office. If you don’t have an “extra room,” you should at least designate a specific space in your home somewhere just for your work and nothing else.
A Large Computer Monitor (or Two)
Here’s another thing that I’ve learned very quickly over the course of my career as a writer, editor and blogger. Working exclusively on a laptop “works,” but it’s hardly ideal. Staring at that small screen all day, you can really only accomplish so much.
Instead, even if you use a laptop as your primary machine and not a desktop, invest in a large computer monitor and a proper desktop setup with an external keyboard and mouse. This isn’t just a luxury. A better workstation with a big screen boosts your productivity. I’ve run a dual monitor setup for years and can’t possibly go back. Digital Trends has a list of the best ultra-wide monitors if you prefer to have a single screen.
Quality Over-Ear Headphones
If you’re still using a cheap set of earbuds or some tiny little speakers for your computer, you’re well overdue for a suitable upgrade. A good set of quality headphones can work wonders in blocking out distractions, especially if you live with other people (particularly young children). Put on some instrumental music of your choosing (I find lyrics distracting) and really get in the zone.
If you don’t need to block out distractions or you don’t need to worry about bothering the other people in your home, then you might choose a nice set of speakers instead. But I find headphones are better for focus. You can get a pretty great set for about $100.
Comfortable Office Chair
They say you should spend your money where it matters. If you’re going to be sitting in front of your computer for hours on end, it makes sense to invest in a quality monitor, a good keyboard, and a decent set of headphones. You’ll also want a comfortable, ergonomic, supportive office chair for your rear end to rest on.
While there are some proponents who’ll tell you the Herman Miller Aeron is the gold standard of office chairs, you don’t have to spend over $1,000 to get a good chair. However, don’t cheap out on one of the many low-tier options out there. Your back, bottom, and the rest of your body will pay for it dearly.
A Better Webcam and Microphone
This depends a little on the type of work that you do and what that work demands of you. If you participate regularly in Zoom meetings and video calls, or you may get called up to participate in podcasts or interviews, you need to present yourself as professionally as possible. There’s nothing worse than looking at a low quality video with terrible audio, even if the interview subject is intelligent and insightful.
Get a decent webcam and microphone. It’s such a small investment and it could make such a huge difference in the impression that you make with colleagues and coworkers, potential investors and customers, and the public at large.
Faster Internet Connection
Here’s yet another example of how time is money. Chances are that you rely heavily on your connection to the Internet in order to run your business. This is true whether you’re a YouTuber, a podcaster, an Internet marketer, a digital artist, a consultant or just about anything else. The less time you spend waiting for webpages to load or for you to download (or upload) important files, the more time you’ll have to do the actual work.
And the faster Internet connection makes those Zoom calls work way better too.
It Takes Money to Make Money
On the one hand, it’s certainly true that something like starting a blog requires next to no startup capital. That’s a big part of the appeal, because practically anyone can get started with almost nothing. On the other hand, sticking to that “nothing” is going to severely hamper your opportunities for growth. Spend money where it matters and indulge in a few work-from-home luxuries. Because they’re not luxuries at all. They’re investments in your future success.