Even though there are 38 million home-based businesses, according to the U.S. Census, there is still a pervasive stigma against those who work from home. The perception is that home-based business owners are running a hobby business, are unprofessional, or are some type of scam.

The truth is that the vast majority of home businesses are not only serious and professional – but many are actually doing better than traditional brick and mortar businesses. Operating a business from a home office can help increase your productivity, keep your overhead low, and set your business up for success. In fact, both Apple and Dell were started from home – as were countless other successful companies.

If you’re running your business from a home office and are concerned about how perceptions will affect your’ success, there are steps you can take to give your business a professional edge while still maintaining the flexibility and freedom that you currently enjoy from being home-based.

1. Find shared office space in your area.

Shared office space is a terrific option for home business owners who need a professional physical location occasionally – but not frequent enough to require a full time office. For example, you can work in your home office, but go to your San Francisco office space for client meetings or presentations. You’ll be able to keep your costs low (shared office space is much more affordable than traditional office space) but you’ll also have the added bonus of having a more polished presence when needed.

2. Create a good first impression with an answering service.

Having a live voice answer your phone with your company’s name will make a great first impression for first time customers and give you an edge over your other home-based business competitors. Often times, you can package your phone answering service with your shared office space service (Our offices offers services packaged this way). Having professional phone answering can help your business make a mark early on in the process.

3. Focus on the quality of service or product that you provide, and not your business location.

Many home business owners “psych” themselves out when it comes to networking with other businesses because they feel that they will be shunned, ridiculed, or looked down on because of where they do business. The fact of the matter is, your clients want your solutions and how those solutions can help. The place from which you develop those solutions can help your image, but it’s much more important to get those solutions done right in the first place. If you use shared office space and an answering service, you’ll have enough of a polished presence to meet skeptics – but at the end of the day you should be focused on selling what you do.

Making a good first impression with shared office space and telephone answering, and backing up that good impression with a great product or service can help you bust through the home business stigma and create credibility.

Courtney Ramirez
Research Analyst, Pacific Workplaces

Courtney’s research for Pacific Workplaces focuses on tracking emerging office space trends and best practices – with an emphasis on how they affect business operations, technology, and the future of work trends.