By AAT Comment Run your business Setting up your own business from home 21 Jan 2015 In the final of a three-part series about running your own business, we look at why many entrepreneurs start and operate their businesses from home. One of the easiest ways to minimise the financial risk is to launch your business from home. Having a home office means you can claim expenses for domestic bills such as telephone calls and heating. This will help reduce your overall expenditure. Cutting out the commute also helps you save time and money. The 120 minutes daily travel time you save frees up one whole extra working day each week. That day could be spent expanding your business or with your loved ones. Lindsey Dove, 28, a mum and entrepreneur, effectively built her candle shop Berry Cocoa Handmade Candles, after hours and now operates her business from home. We highlight the hiccups, motivations and advantages of the business trend so many aspiring entrepreneurs are leaning towards. What path led you to setting up your own business from home? In 2009 I was diagnosed with Hypermobility Syndrome, which causes pain to my joints, and it has always been difficult for me to do a standard nine-to-five job. So it seemed like my options were limited when it came to the employment sector. I always knew I would work for myself one day. My retirement dream was to have my own little shop selling candles, soaps and bath treats. However it was always a “one day dream” and never something I thought would come into fruition, certainly not now, in the present. How does having accounting skills help you run your own business today? Having the AAT qualification has helped a lot. When you are a one-man-band looking to set up your business with limited resources, the costing aspect can be make or break. Having the accounting skills enabled me to keep my own records without having to pay someone and that goes a long way. Any hiccups along the way? It has not always been smooth sailing. I struggled with the whole becoming an official registered business part. However, there is always help at hand as long as you hunt for it. I went online and followed the HMRC’s guidance on this aspect which made a seemingly daunting task very straightforward. But can’t the lines between work and home become blurred? Perhaps, if you don’t remain disciplined. This has been difficult for me as I have a 19-month-old daughter but there are measures you can take to ensure the lines stay big and bold. I recommend choosing a work area, whether this is a room or a garden shed it really doesn’t matter, as long as you dedicate that space to work. The important thing is that when I am in that space everyone knows I’m working. At the end of the day I close the door and leave work behind. The top three things you enjoy most about your work? • Being your own boss is definitely as good as it sounds. Every decision about my business is up to me, even the fun stuff: fragrance, colour and presentation of the candles. • I love the creative aspect. Being able to produce something that utilities my technical aptitude and artistic skill is very fulfilling. • The feedback from my customers has been overwhelming; this really makes all the hard work worthwhile. What advice can you offer other aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start up their own businesses? Research, research and some more research. I spent over two years researching everything to do with candle making and it has certainly paid off. Initially I considered making both candles and soaps. As soaps have to be tested before they are deemed safe for use, which is very expensive and something I could not budget for at the time, I decided to launch my candle range first. What does every small business owner need to start up? An idea, the determination to carry it out and the bravery to take risks when necessary. AAT has launched a suite of qualifications to help equip you with skills to set up your own business. Check out the business skills qualifications here and our bookkeeping and computerised accounting skills qualifications here to get a head start. Author: The youngest (and probably the coolest) member of the content team. Flaka is the Editorial Assistant and all-round writer, interviewer and helpmate for the AT magazine. AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.