Running your own business from home sounds great. You could work for yourself, let your creative ideas flow, and make money doing something you love. But once you settle into the daily grind of working from home, you may find that it’s easier said than done. It might be worth your time to reconsider your daily routine and working environment to maximize productivity and success.
Know the rules for your situation
- How you run your home business depends on the rules that govern your residential area and the work that you want to do. If you live in an apartment, for example, knowing what management will tolerate when it comes to daily business activity can help. As a tenant, you should talk with your landlord to find out what they are comfortable with. And if you own a home, laws related to restrictions on the type of business in your residence may conflict with your business ideas. It is easiest to know the rules first, instead of finding out you were wrong later. It helps to speak with a business lawyer to understand your specific situation.
Create your workspace
- It is difficult to concentrate if your “desk” is really on the couch in front of the television. You will get more done in a day if you carefully create a workspace that gives you privacy and the ability to focus. Clear off the kitchen table every evening so it’s ready for you to work the next day. Set apart a corner of the living room or buy an affordable desk and place it in the guest bedroom. Make enough room for all your files and equipment – and give yourself a spot to work at your best.
Expect household distractions
If you are accustomed to a daily commute and focusing free from distractions at the office, working from home will require a change in your mindset. Here’s why:
- Remember all those household chores you usually do in a day? Those chores still need to be done, even though you are busy running your business. It is easy to get side-tracked by a load of laundry when a pile of paperwork awaits you.
- If your children are home with you, the chaos multiplies. You may be trying to concentrate on a task when your child needs your attention. And it’s always hard to conduct a business call if a baby is crying in the background.
- Your family may not understand what it takes for you to get your work done each day. Family relationships can become strained over time.
Don’t lose hope if these distractions seem overwhelming at first. Maintaining a home-based business is a learning process. Take note of the distractions and figure out a game plan to keep your business afloat in spite of them. Maybe start the laundry before your workday begins, or schedule business calls during your baby’s naptime. It is best to have a discussion with your family about the work you need to do. Explain your needs and ask for their support.
- The best part of establishing boundaries and designating an official office within your home or apartment is that you could be able to write off some of your home expenses on your taxes. Consult with a tax lawyer, accountant or other tax professional to learn your options.
- Many home-based entrepreneurs find that motivation and time management are their biggest weaknesses. A quick internet search on “time management course” will show thousands of training classes that can help you develop skills to maintain an efficient workday. Many of these courses are free.
One of the best ways to stay motivated to is remember why you started your business in the first place. Are you hoping to help people with your service or product? You probably also want to save for your family’s future at the same time. Whatever your reasons are, remember your passion. Whether you are facing mountains of paperwork or worrying about business finances, don’t lose sight of the big picture.
Learn how to take a break
- Working hard and staying committed is important. However, knowing when to stop working is just as important! If you never close the laptop or continue accepting phone calls at all hours, you will never rest. Your family relationships may suffer, or you might quickly burn out. Stick to a schedule each day and don’t work past it unless absolutely necessary. Your business will be more successful in the long run.
Running your home business is going to require diligence. By learning to work around distractions and keep yourself motivated, even on those days when you feel like you are just going through the motions, you’ll maximize your chances for success. Most importantly, know how to balance your work and life to maintain healthy relationships and your support system. Even though a home-based business requires hard work, it can be incredibly rewarding for you, your family and your customers.
You might be running your own home-based business, but you aren’t on your own. Learn more about legal plans for your home business.
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