43 – Look the part. Part 3. Working from home
There is nothing inherently wrong with working from home. Doing so suits some practices, and it can add a lot to your bottom line. No travel time (maybe not even a car), and fewer costs.
If you work from home but conduct all your meetings at your client’s place, then all you need in your office is a quiet place to make phone calls. You can be as slovenly as you like. Just don’t use skype.
It is a very different matter if you receive clients at your home.
Remember, you are a financial planner. It will make things hard if your own home looks like you do not have a cent to your own name. So, only work from home if your home suggests you know what you are doing financially. If you need to, rent. If you can’t do this, then meet at your client’s home or workplace. Failing that, provide advice remotely.
Please don’t work from home if your home looks like this:
Assuming that your home suggests your own personal financial ability is sound, again, keep it clean, quiet and calm.
Children can be tricky. Some clients won’t mind if there are kids around (although they will want to discuss their finances in private). But if your children are likely to distract you, then think about this and try to meet clients when the kids are not there.
In particular, if you have teenagers who are going through one of ‘those phases,’ then remember that your teenager’s main aim in life is to make you look foolish. Do you really want your clients to witness that?
Bear in mind, this can also work in reverse. If your child is adorable and polite then he or she can actually reflect well on you. Be objective, though. Make sure a reasonable financial adviser would agree that your children are adorable and polite. If they would, and you and your magazine-quality children speak to each other calmly and respectfully, great. This can help a general impression of competence that can add to your professional appearance. Most people assume that competence in one sphere means competence in others. This is why people keep asking Shane Warne for his opinion on anything other than bowling legspin. If your kids like you, the client probably will too. (If your kids don’t like you, don’t worry. it is probably them).
That said, most clients will understand if children are home unexpectedly, due to an illness or school holidays or similar. Clients realise that working parents have to juggle things sometimes. As long as you can clearly focus on your client during the meeting, you should be fine.
If clients object to your kids being around under these circumstances (sickness, holidays), change the clients. Keep the kids. They will be around for longer and are more important, anyway.
Carve out a part of the house to use as an office. Separate entrances are an easy way to avoid constantly needing to keep the house in pristine condition.