With the growth of e-commerce, more and more people are leaving their corporate jobs and starting home-based businesses. Working from home can be a rewarding experience. You won’t have to worry about the crazy morning and evening traffic, you will have more control over your work schedule, and you will have time to spend with your loved ones.
Running a business from your home will also save you money. It eliminates the costs associated with renting office space and the additional utility expenses. When you think about it, having a home-based business is a sweet deal.
However, if you aren’t disciplined, it is easy to forget the basic rules of running a business.
Designate your office space
The first requirement for any home-based business owner is to have a designated office space in their home. Ideally, this space should be free from distractions and spacious enough to hold your business equipment and supplies.
A home library, spare room, or the garage can easily be turned into your business headquarters. Equip the space with a desk, a computer, printer, a work telephone and storage space. Make sure there’s enough seating for you and your clients — especially if you plan to hold meetings in your office. The office should also be well-lit.
If you don’t have much room, a corner in your living room is a good place to start. Just let your family know when you’re working and ask them to not disturb you.
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Structure your Work Day
Having an office to commute gives you a tangible start and end of each work day. You might find yourself tempted to sleep in, spend hours in front of the TV, or get caught up running endless home-related errands.
On the other hand, you might find yourself working unusually long hours. Although your business might thrive from this, it is definitely not good for your physical and mental health.
To have a successful home-based business, you need to strike a balance. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a structure that mimics a normal workplace. For example, you can wake up early and start working at around 8-9 am and stop working at around 4-5 pm. You can spend the morning part of each workday doing the highly demanding tasks, and the afternoon doing lighter tasks.
Have a to-do list for each day. This list should be written out in your planner, making it a visual reminder for what you need to accomplish before the end of day. Try to have every item on your to-do list crossed off by the end of the day.
This way, you’ll still have plenty of time to hang out with your loved ones and run errands, while still getting your business-related tasks accomplished.
Update your software
To keep all business-related documents safe, you need to have an external hard drive. This will ensure that you don’t lose important documents in case your work computer crashes. It is also a great idea to have key documents backed up in a cloud service. This way, you will be able to access your documents from anywhere. Unlike many people assume, having a home-based business doesn’t mean you’ll be at home all day every day.
It also goes without saying that you will need to install home Wi-Fi. You should be able to send and receive emails, open large files, and conduct video meetings smoothly without network interruptions. This also means that you need a reliable working computer with a great webcam. Depending on the nature of your business, you might also need to have a separate work phone.
Take family time into account
To properly organise your professional time, you also have to consider your family time. When you work from home you naturally find yourself working around the schedule of your family members. Maybe you need to drop and pick the children from school, take them to after-school activities, and make some family meals.
Many people, especially young mothers, quit corporate jobs to start home-based businesses and take care of their children. But to be honest, you might not be able to do everything by yourself if you have a thriving business. It is best to hire someone to take care of your children and some household chores to allow you to focus on your business. Ensure that you are guaranteed at least six solid hours in your workday to get tasks done.
Keep yourself motivated
Without the support of an office full of employees or colleagues, keeping track of your goals becomes harder. There’s no one to report to, no quarterly reviews, and no reports. But if you’re serious about building your home-based business to the next level, you have to track your progress and keep yourself motivated to achieve goals.
A daily to-do list is one thing, but you have to set weekly, monthly and annual goals for your business. Your daily goals should always be in line with your long-term business goals. To keep yourself motivated, you can decide on a small reward when you achieve particular milestones. Rewards don’t have to be financial; it can even be taking some time off from work.
Don’t forget to network
Working from home can be quite isolating, especially if your business doesn’t require you to physically meet with clients. You might find yourself spending days moving from one corner of your house to the other, without getting out to meet other people.
Actively seek networking opportunities with other business owners, whether in formal or informal settings. Networking will help you get leads to potential clients, find new suppliers or service providers, and keep in the know about your industry. Networking with other home-based business owners will also give you the support you need to weather the challenges of running your business.