Are you thinking about starting a home based small business? While there are certainly some challenges involved, it’s not actually as hard as you think. Of course, the first thing you’re going to need to consider is what you’ll offer and how you will go about doing so, but that’s actually the easiest part in some ways. Many people have great ideas for a business, but taking those ideas and making them a reality is the challenge. That’s especially true once you’ve done the paperwork to make your business official. Why? Because then you have to start doing the day-to-day running of the business! If you’re thinking about taking the leap and starting a business based out of your home, here are some tips for making it a huge success without stressing you out too much.
Have a Work Schedule
Yes, you’re working from home, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can work whenever you want. You may need to keep standard business hours (or at least close to standard hours) so you can be available to your customers. Some businesses may be able to get around this—if you’re making products and selling them online, it might not matter if you work at 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning.
Even if you can work whenever you want, it still helps if you set a work schedule and stick to it. That’s because working from home can be very distracting. You might decide you need to do laundry or the dishes, or maybe you’ll pick up “just a few things” around the house. The next thing you know, you’ve been doing housework for several hours instead of working. If you set a schedule, you’ll avoid doing this. You’ll also avoid working more than a standard work day. You may find that you work for 10 or even 12 hours a day, which can take its toll. Give yourself time to relax and leave your job in your home office.
Tasks to avoid during work time:
- Personal calls
- TV shows
Have a Work Space
Likewise, it may be tempting to spread your work out all over the dining room table or the coffee table in front of the sofa, but then your work space and your living space are going to intermix, and one can take over the other. Try to create a space in your home that’s only for work. This way, you’ll be better able to keep your home office materials corralled in one space, and when you leave that space, you’ll be able to leave the work there.
Learn some DIY
You don’t have to become a technology master or an accountant, but if you use the internet to learn how to do some common business tasks yourself, you’ll be able to save a lot of money. Most people never make an attempt to handle tech issues, but the truth is that a quick Google search can often reveal a tutorial video on how to fix the most common printer issues. You don’t need to pay for tech support every time something goes wrong. You can even do some of your own website work if you choose to create your eCommerce site using something simple such as WordPress.
Network with Other Home Based Business Owners
Another option for handling some of your tech issues and other business needs is to connect with other home based business owners. For example, maybe you’re a photographer and want a custom designed website. Why not talk to someone who does web design from home and see about a trade? Maybe you could do a series of promotional photos for him in exchange for some web work. Some home based business owners cross-promote each other’s services, especially if they complement each other. Networking with others is also a good way of learning about vendors who may offer you materials or services you need for a better price than you’re getting now.
Make use of Cloud Based Communications
Getting one of the latest cloud based business phone systems can be a great way of avoiding clogging up your home phone with work calls, paying for a second line, or giving out your home phone or personal cell phone number. These systems use voice over IP to route your calls through the internet instead of phone lines. This means that you can take your business phone number with you anywhere you go as long as you can plug it into your laptop or other internet connection. These systems include many of the common features you’d find on any phone, such as caller ID, voice mail, and conference calling. Some even offer to do things like sending your voicemails to your email or even convert them to text.
Take Advantage of your Flexible Work Time
While it’s true you don’t want to get into the habit of working too much or working at odd hours if you need to be available to customers during the day, it’s also true that you should take advantage of flexible schedule. For example, if you need to go to your kid’s play at school or want to see a movie some afternoon, that’s fine—just make sure it doesn’t become a bad habit.
But also take advantage of your flex time to work. For example, you’ve probably gone to the post office on your lunch hour or right after work and had to wait for 30 minutes or more. You can bet there’s not much of a line at 10:30 a.m. or at 2 p.m. The same often goes for other businesses. If you run work errands during the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, you have a better chance at getting in and out without much of a wait.
What do you think?
Do you work from home? If so, do you have any tips to give those who are thinking about running a home based business? We’d love to share them if you do!