Practical Tips for Working From Home
If you run an online business or are thinking of starting one, most likely you work from home. This isn't as easy as most people think as you have to compete with the daily distractions of life and avoid forming bad habits.
If you can get past these though, it is highly rewarding, allowing more freedom, time and potentially a much higher income than in a 'normal' job.
Setting Your Work Space
One of the biggest obstacles in working from home is avoiding distractions and keeping work and life separate. Having home comforts around you can be very tempting and can lead to procrastination and bad habits.
By setting up a room or part of a room specifically for work use, you will find it easier to stay focused. This will also create more structure to your day. You can 'clock off' by not having work reminders in areas of your home used for relaxing.
Let those you live with know that when you are in your work area you are at work and must not be disturbed. By clearly defining where work begins and being strict with yourself, you will be more productive which saves time, stress and minimises mistakes.
Create a space that is comfortable and preferably uncluttered. Uncomfortable seating, bad monitor height and so on, will make it hard to focus and can lead to health problems.
Create A Work Life Balance At Home
As mentioned before, one of the dangers in working from home is defining when work starts and ends. It's easy to feel you never stop as you are in fact living at your work place.
Some of the easiest ways to separate the two are...
Set yourself work hours. Anything outside of this is time for you. Those who are self-employed often work longer hours than those that don't~ particularly when starting out. You will also have to deal with unexpected events, but in most cases these are not as urgent as they probably feel at the time. Without time to relax you will become stressed, tired and resentful, when the idea is to create the opposite. When not in work hours keep the door to your office closed or put away your work so that it isn't staring at you.
Only do what needs to be done. Sounds obvious right? But you'd be amazed at just how many of us are busy rather than productive. Even those who are employees are often just given 'busywork' rather than something that actually makes a difference. One of the reasons to be self-employed is the potential for more free time and doing things that aren't necessary defeats the object.
Don't become a hermit. This is my biggest downfall. Working and living at home can create a rut, where you end up not actually doing anything. Get out and about, meet new people, explore new places and experiences. Make the most of your alternative lifestyle. You will find many people are not free when you are because of their conventional lifestyles, so it's important to meet those in a similar position to you. This also creates a network of support for each other in your ventures.
Love What You Do
If you really want to make a go of your home based business, you will have to love doing it. As I said, you will probably be working on it for some time before it starts to pay and if you don't love your niche you will quickly lose interest.
It can easily become overwhelming, being responsible for everything and making sure everything works ok. Be honest with yourself and your abilities and don't be afraid to ask for help in areas that you struggle with.
Stick with it. I have tried many ventures in the past, but found fear always got in the way. I would get to a certain point, then get distracted by a new idea and it's exciting potential. It was only until I realised my pattern and was honest with myself that I started sticking with it and had more success. Looking back I could have made a success of virtually all of my ideas, I just didn't give them or myself a chance.
Don't take on too much. Sometimes you just have to let an idea pass, put it on hold, or give it to someone else. Taking on too many projects at once can stop you giving each one the attention they need. There is no reason you can't have more than one source of income, in fact it's a good idea to, but don't spread yourself or your resources too thin. Ideally, concentrate on getting one established before attempting the next.
Remind Yourself Regularly. Write out exactly why you want this business and why you chose your niche and pin it up somewhere where you will see it regularly. Every month or so give yourself a reminder and look back over your progress. This will help working on your business easier and have the added bonus of keeping your work fresh and interesting as your love for it will come through.