Using your home as
a home business
When starting any kind of home
business, there are certain steps to take and guidelines that
every entrepreneur should abide by in order to be successful. The most important
thing is to develop a business plan and stick to it! Even though
you may have the business plan in your head, you will be amazed at
how clear things become and how many things you find you have to
work through when you start to put it all down on paper.
Building a business at home can
work great, but it also requires a tremendous amount of
discipline. Home based businesses have a large number of
advantages, but there are real dangers as well. Without
proper safeguards, it is very easy to become sidetracked, lose
your focus, and begin a pattern of behavior that is
self-destructive to your business goals.
"Work from home"
goals vary but often include a necessity of being available in a
family capacity, a lack of ability to get to or work in an office
environment, schedule flexibility, and economy.
Home based businesses are cheap
to run as there are none of the traditional office expenses such
as rent, utilities, and the duplication of equipment that you already
have at home such as a computer and office furniture.
Then danger comes when you allow
yourself to be interrupted unnecessarily or lack the discipline to
put in the necessary hours because other things are pressing are
also around you. People work well in the 9-5 environment
because they know that the end of their day happens at 5 PM and
everything must be done within that timeframe. Home
businesses are not so challenged and it's easy to put off that
necessity until after 5, simply because you can.
Structuring your home office
To avoid some of these pitfalls,
consider the following tips:
Designate a piece of your home as
your business office, preferably a room that you can close off
when you are working to avoid unnecessary interruptions, but also
that you can close off when you are done and not face it during
the rest of your life.
Try not to use this office space
for other things such as socializing, as a gym/rec room, or put a
television in there. These can distract you and leave this
space feeling non-business. You want every minute that you
are in this part of the office to be productive.
Treat and demand that your office
space be treated with the same dignity that a similar business
office would be treated if not in your home. Kids playing on
your computer, playing in the office, or allowing it to be treated
as a phone room sanctuary for teems is a bad idea. It WILL
limit and interfere with your work time. Both you and your
family must respect this area as "work-space".
Never mind rationalizing it, it simply works this way and it is
far easier to start out with these concepts than to develop them
Keep your own business phone and
have a dedicated line run into your office. The last thing
you need is to have kids picking up the phone and start to dial or
a kids computer modem trying to connect when you are trying to
talk to a client.
Set home business hours
Many people start home businesses
because they want schedule flexibility. Yet people work best
when they are on a schedule. These two concepts can run into
conflict of you let them. Set up standard office hours and
keep them except for when necessary.
The biggest difficulty that most
home business owners face is simply to say "No, not
now!" It's so easy to say yes and it only makes sense
that since flexibility is what you want, the right answer is to
give in. Wrong answer. Instead, it should be that you
can change the schedule, but only when needed.