How to Make Running a Home Business Easier
There’s much to love about running your own home-based business. You’re in charge of how you spend your time, the commute is non-existent, and there’s also the matter of the satisfaction that comes from succeeding in making your dreams come true. But of course, it’s important to remember that running a home-based business is never easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it, and succeeding. With that being said, while you can’t make it “easy,” you can at least make it easier on yourself. Below, we take a look at a few tried and tested ways you streamline your operations, and avoid making it more complicated than it needs to be.
1. Make sure the business is home suitable
When we talk about home-based businesses, it’s important to remember that not every type of venture will be suitable. There are some businesses that, while you could technically do them from the comfort of your own property, probably aren’t suitable. These are the businesses where having a great location counts, or where you need to store a lot of items. Before embarking on your new company, think of all that it entails, and figure out whether it’s realistically something that you could do in your living space.
2. Concrete business plan
It has never been easier to get a business up and running. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing. After all, there’s a large percentage of companies that end up failing within the first few years of their existence. It’s not because the ideas were necessarily bad — it’s that they got things started too quickly. If you’re serious about building a long-term, sustainable business, then it’s important that you’re taking things slowly. Taking a measured approach will allow you to come up with a concrete business plan, which is something that makes success a lot easier to come by.
3. Create a space
You’ll be working from home, but you’ll need to keep in mind what this means. It’s not about just opening up your laptop and getting down to work while you’re still in bed or sitting on the couch. You might one day reach a level where that’s possible (since things are running smoothly and essentially on autopilot), but you can’t do it in the beginning. Then, you’ll need to be at your brilliant best, working hard and productively, and that’s just next to impossible when you’re working in a space that’s usually reserved for relaxing. As such, it’s important that you’re taking the time to develop a working space within your home. Get rid of the spare bedroom, and create a home office instead. When you’re there, you’ll know that it’s time to work, which will make it easier to get into the zone.
4. The right set up
One of the primary advantages of working in a regular office job is that they provide all the tools for you to work. This is something that people often don’t fully appreciate until they try to set up their own home-based business, and realize that they seriously lack in infrastructure. So when you’re setting up your desk and chair office space, take some time to figure out what tech you’ll need to deliver your best work. This will involve having the right computer, a high-speed internet connection, and so on. You’ll also find it convenient to have all those usual office supplies, such as pens, paper, and other sundry office equipment.
5. Dedicated working hours
Even with a home office, you might find that it’s difficult to be as productive as you’d like. That’s because, well, your home is a treasure trove of distraction, for one, and also because you’ll have other responsibilities in the home, especially if you have children. One way to get around this is to have set working hours, during which you do nothing but push your company forward. The time that you set will depend on various factors, including when you have to meet your other obligations, how many hours you need to work, and what time of day you work best. If you’ve blocked out 10 am – 3 pm every day, then make sure you stick to the hours, even when you don’t really want to. It’s really important to have self-discipline in all areas of life, but especially when you’re running a business.
6. Going to work
People are generally pretty eager to give up the ‘going to work’ routine, but it does have its advantages. The process of rising early, having breakfast, getting dressed, and physically taking yourself to work gets you into the right frame of mind for a productive day. When you’re working from home, this routine is dispensed with. It’s no longer necessary. However, it might be worth manufacturing the routine. It’ll help to put a clear divide between the sleepy morning and getting down to work. Set the alarm, go through the usual pre-work steps, and then go for a short walk. You’ll find that stepping outside of the house, even for ten minutes or so, gets the blood flowing and wakes up your mind.
7. Acting professional
Your property is a place where you can truly be yourself. It’s for relaxing, for fun, for expressing all sides of yourself. Alas, your business is no such place: there, you need to act professional and serious. This can sometimes prove to be a challenge for home based business owners that end up feeling too comfortable where they’re working since it’s their home. Their professionalism standards can drop. As such, it’s important that you’re staying on guard to keep your professionalism at a high standard.
8. Get covered
You will, of course, have home insurance. But did you know that your home insurance won’t cover any accidents relating to your home-based business? They’re separate things. And if something does go wrong, and you’re not covered, then you could find that you’re facing financial difficulties because of it. As such, you’ll want to work with the best insurance broker to ensure that you get the business insurance that’ll keep you covered in case something goes wrong. You’ll be more comfortable getting down to work and hosting business meetings at your house if you know that there is a safety net to catch you.
9. Staying legal
Additionally, it’s also important that you’re investigating whether there are any home-based business restrictions in your area. Sometimes, there are laws that prohibit commercial activity from taking place in private homes, especially for certain industries. Or you might just be required to fill out some paperwork before getting started.
10. Outsourcing tasks
It doesn’t matter where you’re based: sooner or later, you’ll realize that, my oh my, there sure are a lot of tasks that need to be handled when you’re running a business. Depending on how large your business becomes, these tasks could threaten to disrupt your flow and keep you from getting on with your core duties. If you find yourself in this position, look at outsourcing the jobs to third-party companies. Just because you’re working by yourself, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of other people from time to time, and for certain jobs.
11. Switching off
There’s another reason why working in an office isn’t as terrible as it is sometimes made out to be: when you leave, you can switch off. You don’t have all the infrastructure of the office at home, and you’re off the clock — it’s time to relax. When your work is at your home, this isn’t the case. You’re always just a few steps away from the office. While it’s noble that you’d want to get back to work even after your day is finished, the truth is that this isn’t always the best idea. If you want to keep your energy and commitment up long term, then it’s important that you’re switching off when the day is done. Your brain needs to rest. You’ll always be tempted to check your emails, but if we’re talking about the evening, then any emails that arrive can surely wait until the following morning.
12. Connecting with others
Another advantage of working in a regular office is that it gives you contact with the outside world. Sure, on some days, this sucks, and is positively the last thing you want. But after you’ve been working by yourself for a few weeks, you’ll begin to see the value of connecting with other people. If this feeling sets in, then look at mixing things up by going to a cafe to work for a few hours. You could also look at sites like meetup.com to see if there are any events aimed at home based business owners.
12. When to move on
Finally, remember that there may come a point when you need to move beyond your home, and begin working in a rented office or a coworking space. If you think that you’ve outgrown your home office, and you’re beginning to feel the limitations, look at spreading your wings — it’ll be the right thing for your business.
[a contributed post]
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