Sunday Woman brings tips on how to create your dream home office.

Having decided that you want to become a freelance web designer, setting up a dream studio might seem an easy step. But there are many things to consider and many steps to take along the way before you have everything you could have wished for.

Dream a Little Dream

In your head, you will always have had an idea of what your studio should be like. You may have picked up ideas from employers or agencies and want to marry all the good things into your own super-efficient and expertly run freelance web design studio. Why, now you have the opportunity to set up your design studio to your personal taste, should you settle for second best?

It is all about planning and preparation. Be prepared to bide your time to get things right rather rush headlong into the creation of the studio. Don’t splash out on things you don’t need – list the things you do and work towards getting them in place. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Start Simple

Start with the obvious and make a business plan. Devise a name (a catchy or memorable one means you will stand out from a very large crowd), target work and set out your finances before even starting out. Too many businesses fail to get off the ground because of a lack of planning, funds or just plain old stupidity so make sure the setting up of your dream studio does not turn into a nightmare which leaves you heavily in debt with a lack of clients and income. Then, of course, do the necessary paperwork by registering as a limited company, a sole trader or something similar to make everything official. You also need to set up a bank account and make contact with an accountant at this stage too – after all you will hopefully be cashing plenty of cheques before too long!

Space is Good!

An equally important factor to consider is office space. Will you be working from home, will you be renting on office or building or will you be hiring floor space in another company’s studio? The financial implications of all scenarios differ massively so take time and work out what is best for you Рand importantly big enough for your needs. If you will be working from home then it is advisable to set up your dream studio in a spare room, study, office or even the garage to ensure that work is entirely separate from your home life. Once you close the office door you will have left work or vice versa Рand it is vitally important to keep the two apart. An even better situation to have, providing your house has this, is to set up your studio in an annex. By having to go out of the front or back door to get there, it will feel much more like you have gone to work for the day.

With the admin and preparation and planning done and dusted, think about the practical stuff – name, logo, branding and also get your stationery sorted (this shouldn’t be too difficult given you are a design expert). Having such

things as business cards, letter headed paper and compliments slips already designed and printed gives you a head start.

Then there is what you need in the studio itself, of course. A telephone and broadband are a must as is your mac and a printer. Consider, too, what applications you need to produce your best work. Do you prefer In Design or Quark? Do you need Photoshop and illustrator or Adobe Creative Suite? Or are you a CAD designer? You will need to decide what you need and more importantly what your budget stretches to. You may want a PC or laptop to on which time-taking admin, email and financial duties are easier to perform.

The studio or office itself will also need kitting out in furniture. A desk and chair is a necessity as a set of filing cupboards or similar for paperwork storage. But also consider anything else you require, and think out of the box too – it could be a case of a plant or two creating the perfect environment to work in.

How to Finance Your Office

If you’re self employed you could be entitled to a tax refund, on uniform, mileage, tools, capital gains and many more aspects of business. Use the tax calculators at Tax Rebate Services to discover if you’re entitled to a tax refund and you could finance your dream home office with a tax windfall.