In this first section, we are going to talk a little bit about getting started, organized and making a plan for your home business so you can avoid potential pitfalls on the road to success.
A successful home business gives you the freedom to set your own hours, control your financial future and spend more time doing the things you love to do. Things that you can’t always do with a traditional 9-5 job. It’s a very alluring lifestyle and one that many never reach for because they don’t know how, think it won’t work or simply because they are afraid to try.
As with anything in life when it comes to growing your home business there are some potential pitfalls along the way, but with some simple planning, they can be easily avoided which can help ensure the success of your business from the start.
– Make a plan
There are several things you can do during the startup process to make it easier, and if you do it right you should be able to successfully run your business without extra-added stress.
One of the first things you should do is to make a schedule to separate your business hours from your home life. When you work from home, it’s very easy to let the two blend, which can be a recipe for disaster.
Because your business is at home, it’s tempting to work at all hours of the day or night, especially if you are working online. Many home business owners fall into this trap. You get tempted to take on additional projects, fill orders or other tasks that bleed into your home life because you feel like it’s the only way to succeed.
But, the truth is if you don’t set limits for yourself, you’ll find that you won’t be able to produce quality work or get as much done and your home life will suffer as well. Everybody needs some downtime, so don’t be afraid to take it!
In order to avoid this problem, you need to set realistic business hours. Look at the hours you want to work. Just like a regular office, your home business should have office hours and hours when you are not available. It’s simply too easy to work all of the time, even if you need the money. However, keeping hours and making sure that you keep them regularly is a good way to make sure that you’ll have ample time for, business, home, and family.
– Office space
Next, it’s important to set up a dedicated office/workspace for your home business that is separate from the rest of your home. So many home business owners skip this step and their business takes over their whole house before they even realize what happened.
Your home office doesn’t have to be big or fancy it can simply be a corner of your kitchen, living or a spare bedroom. Just so, it’s dedicated to your business, which will make it much easier for you to keep the two things separated. If you can keep your home and business apart, you’ll have a much better chance of managing them both well.
– Support system
Lastly, it’s important to have a good support system in place. This can be a coach, mentor, someone with a similar business, or simply your family and friends. You need to have people close to you who will encourage you and give you any support you need.
You can join your local Chamber of Commerce, online communities and forums of people in the same industry as your own. A good support network is very important to the success of your home business, so don’t take it for granted.
In this section, we are going to talk about staying on-task and managing the day-to-day responsibilities of running your business from home.
Once you have a solid plan for success, there are going to be a million things that need your time and attention. It’s not that these things haven’t been there all along, it’s just that now you have a plan in place that will help you focus specifically on the tasks that will help grow your business.
So how do you stay on-task?
One of the best ways I’ve found is to keep a log book of goals and the tasks that are necessary to reach them. Like a short and long-term to-do list.
Start with your bigger goals and then break them down into a series of small tasks that must be accomplished to help you move towards your goals. Be sure to prioritize this will help keep less important tasks from pulling you off-track. As you go through the list, cross off tasks as you complete them, so you can keep track of your progress.
I know this may seem too simple to be effective, but it is one of the most effective ways to keep yourself on the fast track to success. You can use a notebook, whiteboard, word doc or if you prefer you can look online for goal tracking software to help keep you on track
Motivation is a very personal thing. What motivates one person may not do a thing for another. So, when it comes to staying motivated finding what motivates you and keeps moving forward towards your goals is your golden key to success.
As we have been discussing it’s very important to set goals and organize them in a way that is simple and attainable. Remember if the carrot is too far in front of the horse, the horse will give up, but if it’s close enough to smell and see but just out of reach, the horse will keep moving towards the incentive.
One way to stay motivated is to incorporate rewards into your long and short-term goals. Often times home business owners, forget to reward themselves when they achieve goals. They just keep chugging along and don’t take time to celebrate their successes.
For instance, treat yourself to a long lunch when you attain a new customer or an extra day off when you reach your monthly sales goal early. Small, incremental rewards will help you move faster towards your goal. Remember to treat yourself. You work hard and you deserve it!
– Time management
Good time management skills are especially for when you are your own boss. You must define the parameters of your business.
– What days and hours will you work?
– When will you market?
– When will you provide services or products to clients?
– How will you keep all of this straight?
By defining, a list of necessary tasks you need to accomplish to make your business run smoothly you can create a livable schedule to accomplish them without working yourself into the ground.
Automate your business as much as possible. Granted, you are just one person (right now) and might have a lot of extra time to take care of all the details. This might work for now, but won’t work into the future as you get busier and busier. It’s best to set up automatic systems and processes right from the start to free up your time to concentrate on the most profitable activities.
You may be surprised to discover how many things that you can automate, once you set your mind to it. For instance, you can automate the online ordering process and email correspondence, so that your customers receive receipts directly after purchase.
Staying motivated and organizing your day-to-day tasks is one of the best ways that you can stay on track and ensure your home business a huge success.
Many people are drawn to the idea of starting a home business, and not having to work 9-5 for someone else. They dream of the freedom that comes along with being self-employed. Far too often, they discover the freedom was just a dream and they are actually working long, hard hours for at least in the beginning as they trying to get their business off the ground.
What is the most effective way to deal with the stress and anxiety that can often come along with running a home business?
The quick answer is to realize that this is part of being a business owner. This stress doesn’t go away overnight and there will be times when it seems like it will never end. There will also be times when everything is running smoothly. The trick is to find the proper balance between work and home. It’s important to look for ways to effectively manage your stress when it occurs.
Being self-employed means that the most part everything rests on your shoulders. When you’re working for someone else, you have to deal with things but you probably didn’t have the financial success of the company to worry about. When you run your own business you have to make sure there is enough operating capital to keep going, enough profit to invest in inventory, supplies, vendors, employees and to pay your bills.
A small amount of stress can be great motivator. The fear of failing or falling behind is what makes many home business owners get up and face the day, even when times get tough. Remember, simply because you are feeling stress doesn’t mean your business is going to fail. It simply means you’re the boss and it’s up to you to make it a success.
Procrastination leads to unnecessary stress, especially when you are the one in charge. To help alleviate this type of stress practice good time management skills and put time limits on the tasks you need to accomplish for your business to operate smoothly. Having a deadline to meet can help motivate you to get your project done in time, but ignoring it or putting it off till later will only cause undue stress. When planning a schedule to accomplish both large and small tasks it’s important to set realistic goals that you feel can be met on time.
Many home business owners get so stressed out and wrapped up in routine tasks they forget the reasons why they decided to become self-employed. It’s important to remember to enjoy the fact that you are your own boss. Learning to enjoy yourself while you work keeps you enthusiastic and motivated Yes, it’s important to be professional and get the job done, but when it comes to coping with stress it’s also a good idea not to take yourself too seriously.
Maintaining a good sense of humor helps keep your stress levels under control, especially on those tough days when it seems like everything goes wrong. Remember to laugh, it’s the best medicine and one of the best ways to make it through any stressful situation.
Now we are going to jump right in and talk about setting up a schedule, and sticking to it.
As we well know, one of the main attractions of working at home is the freedom that comes with it. When you’re self-employed the dream is that there will be no time clock, no time sheets, and no one but yourself to be accountable to. It’s an attractive proposition, but like so many wonderful dreams there is a downside, especially if you find yourself falling short of reaching your goals.
If you are constantly running behind then you are likely wasting time on tasks that are unnecessary or could be accomplished more efficiently with proper time management.
If you want your home business to be successful, it’s important to set a schedule and do your best to stick to it. This way you can avoid wasting time, stay on track and accomplish your goals more efficiently.
Here are a few good reason you should set up a schedule and stick to it:
– It makes it easier to prioritize
– It helps avoid wasting time on non-priority tasks
– It keeps you from getting sidetracked or distracted
– It helps you stay organized and on track
– It prevents work from bleeding into family time and vice a versa
– It increases concentration and productivity
As I’ve mentioned before a simple to do list will often do the trick, but if you have a lot of projects on the table and tasks that need to be completed creating a spreadsheet will work even better. Having an agenda to follow can help improve your productivity and reduced your stress greatly.
If you don’t want to use a spreadsheet or aren’t sure how to set one up, look online. You’ll find plenty of examples and even ready-made timesheets and schedules that you can print and use yourself.
When it comes to proper time management, the best way to get something done is by keeping it simple. This holds true for creating your daily and weekly schedule as well. Breakdown larger projects into smaller, easily accomplished tasks and allow plenty of time to complete them. Putting a simple plan in motion will help the work that needs to be done go smoothly and more efficiently.
If you find it, difficult setting up your schedule and sticking to it, don’t be afraid to ask for help. By recruiting a coworker, family member or friend to gently nudge forward you when you’re falling behind, it can make sticking to your schedule and staying on track much easier.
In this last section, I am going to share some tips and tricks that you can use to make your home business even more successful.
As we know, having a home business can be a great way to take control of your financial future, it’s also a fantastic way to generate income while doing work that you truly want to do.
There are many things to take into consideration when it comes to growing your home business. As you may remember from your first lesson if you make and follow a sound plan, you can be the owner of a successful and profitable business.
The first tip I have to share with you is to have a good plan. It’s important to have a clearly laid out business plan. As we touched on in your first lesson without a business plan and goals to achieve, then chances are you’ll never get anywhere. A business plan, even if it’s just written down on a slip of paper will help you map out what you need to succeed and how you’ll achieve your goals.
Whatever your business will need, you’ll need to be well informed about it. So you’ll need to do my research so that you become an expert on the niche, product or service. Knowledge about the business is an important home business resource, so you must do the necessary research to be well informed about the industry or product/service.
– Office space
As we discussed in your last issue you will need to set up a dedicated base for your home office. Your office is a very important because it helps separate file from business which increases productivity. In your office, generally, you’ll need a computer, printer, internet access, fax, telephone, business cards and a conducive work environment.
Keep in mind that sometimes you’ll be working long hours, especially in the beginning, so your workspace needs to be comfortable. A suitable desk, comfortable chair, and appropriate lighting are very important and often taken for granted. Allocate some money towards setting up a working environment conducive to productivity and you’ll enjoy your time in the office much more!
Money to cover capital outlay and running costs is an important even if you’re starting out on a shoestring budget it would require some form of investment, and you’ll need to know how much you have, and how much investments and ongoing marketing your business will need to stay afloat until it begins to generate a solid income.
Business leads and clients are a crucial home business resource. Making and creating contacts and networking is very important because no customers equal no income. You need to start building your potential client base before you launch your business. Start marketing your business by giving away some products and services. By creating a relationship with your potential customers, you build trust with them, and when you launch your business, it will be easy for them to buy from you.
– Be professional
The way you run your business and relate to your customers is very important. Be prepared to ‘go the extra mile’ with your customers. Care about your customers, and provide all the information they may need.
– Get help
Hire any professional help you may need. Treat your business professionally, and if you need the services of a lawyer or accountant, hire one. It’s more productive and effective to hire skilled professionals to do what you don’t have the time or skills to do it yourself. If you want your business to be successful, it’s important not to overload yourself with time-consuming tasks or projects that can be easily outsourced. It’s also more cost-effective in the end because it leaves you free to focus on growing your business.