The number of business coaches, trainers and speakers in my Mentor Program who work from home are growing exponentially. The excitement and trepidation rise as you take your seat at your desk realising you are independent, answerable only to yourself, free to manage and prioritise your time, efforts and schedules. Many consultants, trainers, coaches and speakers are escapees from the corporate world; relishing the freedoms afforded self-employment and entrepreneurialism.
However, the transition is not always trouble-free, uncomplicated or stress-free. Friends will telephone while you are working, assuming you have an abundance of time to chat. Others will call in mistakenly believing you have ample time for socialisation as well. You may also consider that you may have the discretionary time to quickly complete some household chores during your productive work time.
Establishing a business from your home premises is not always as liberating as it sounds or imagined. The abundance of distractions competing for your attention can destroy your concentration as well; young children, dirty dishes and television can be daunting challenges for home-based entrepreneurs attempting to establish, grow and develop a successful business.
There are a number of measures you can implement to support and assist your efforts to be successful as a home-based entrepreneur. Here are Ric’s Tips:
Formalise your working environment.
The temptation can be to treat working from home informally, especially considering you are your own boss and answerable to no one (excepting maybe your bank manager). Specifically, formalise how you will manage and prioritise your procedures and operations of working from home. This can incorporate scheduling of regular tasks, such as, telephone calls to clients, report-writing, invoicing, and so on.
It will benefit you to clearly understand how you will handle various scenarios which may impinge upon productivity, like: drop-ins by friends and relatives, interruptions by family members during important telephone calls, or children illnesses requiring they remain home from school. You might consider designating scheduled appointments for household chores, family errands, and recreational activities that you might otherwise be tempted to slip in to your working day.
For many of the professionals in my Mentor Program
, there is a preponderance to work far too hard, and not nearly smart enough. Be realistic and be kind to yourself; emotionally, physically and creatively. Your success or otherwise will have less to do with the number of hours you work and more to do with the results and outcomes you produce.
There is no reason at all why home-based entrepreneurs could not be sitting by the pool at two in the afternoon, reading some journals, magazines or a good book. (See my article: “A martini by the pool.
”) Thereby having no guilt at dropping by the ‘office’ at nine at night for an hour to do some emails and write a report. Just because you have your office at home does not necessarily require you work ‘office’ hours. But it is incumbent upon you to be disciplined to do what is needed, when it is needed.
Pronouncements for the home.
Just because you are clear about your patterns of work and priorities determined, it is negligent to assume your family and friends have the same clarity. There is no valid reason why you cannot close the door to your home-office as a simple indicator to your family that you cannot be disturbed and/or you are on important telephone call and quiet is important. Explain the measures to your family in advance, and then use those measures as needed, but only as needed so that they are not only understood but respected by others in your home.
Location, location, location.
Where your office is located within the confines of your residence will play a big role in the potential distractions and how enticing those distractions may become to you. Ideally, your office should be away from the busiest areas of the home; not in the thoroughfare of life. Neither should it be in your bedroom! It does need a door … that closes.
It is imperative that you maintain a separate and dedicated business telephone line that nobody else in the family answers … ever! And it is preferred that you have your own office equipment that is not for family use. Computers, printers, scanners and alike are tools of your business. Let the family have their own in another area of the home.
Achieve more by doing less.
Whether it be home duties or business needs, where it makes sense and is readily done with minimum supervision, outsource tasks. Get a housekeeper, have the lawns and gardens handled for you by a contractor, hire an external bookkeeper, use a virtual assistant; you get the idea. Utilise others to quickly accomplish tasks that distract and unenthused you so that your creative and productive energies remain focused on bringing in the high-premium business results.
Being a work from home entrepreneur has as many challenges as it does rewards; whether you profit from the opportunities it affords you, is a matter of choice. The level of efficacious productivity will be solely determined by the decisions you make. There is a rising tide for home-based entrepreneurs, unless you wish to be a victim of the water.
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