Crowded House

House Rules

There are plenty of ways to avoid headaches when sharing office space in your home. Here are a few:

1. Use any available technology--virtual assistants, e-mail, cordless headsets, voice mail and the like--to help solve problems of privacy and professionalism.

2. When setting up your offices, delineate your own separate spaces, build partitions or soundproof your offices.

3. Take advantage of economies of scale. Share conference rooms, fax machines, printers--everything except phones.

4. Don't expect your fellow entrepreneur to set aside business commitments to fix your computer, lend a hand with a mailing, type your invoices or discuss a business problem.

5. Communicate with each other regularly about business and personal schedules--and do it both verbally and in writing. A calendar should reflect what you've already discussed: who's picking up the kids from school, when you're having a meeting in the home or office, or when you can schedule a round of golf together.

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