Owning a home-based business can be stressful. When your business is based from your home, it can be difficult to stay on track and be productive with your time. It can be tough to stay connected to your employees and create a harmonious company culture.
But just because you’re operating your business from home doesn’t mean it’s doomed to be disorganized or chaotic. The fact that you’re reading this article shows that you are invested in your business and want to make it work against all odds. Remember the old saying: “When there’s a will, there’s a way.”
We scoured the web to come up with a list of 10 actionable tips for operating a successful home-based business. Without further ado, here they are.
Stay on task.
Do we know how hard it is to take care of business when there are infinity cat and puppy videos to watch online? When Facebook beckons from just a tab away? When Google has a fun new game to play on their homepage? Yes, we do. That’s why it’s important to make yourself stay on track while you’re working. Close those extra tabs and focus on the task at hand. The kitties will be there when you finish.
If you’re working with a remote team, it’s really important that you stay connected to your team members. Make sure you’re checking in often, and that everyone is on the same page. No one should feel like an island on a remote team. Check out apps and programs like Slack or Pidgin to stay in touch with your team when you can’t be there in person.
Switch things up.
Feeling like you just can’t take another day of working from your couch? Don’t! Visit a local park, coffee shop, or library to do your work for the day and get rid of your cabin fever. Don’t want to leave the house? Try working from a different area of the house; with or without soft music playing; at different times of the day. Switching things up could be the change you need to succeed!
If you find yourself going to coffee shops a lot just to be around others, coworking might be the ticket for you. You’ll be able to surround yourself with other remote workers–freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote corporate teams–and that can get the creativity and productivity flowing. You might even meet someone you’d like to hire to work for you!
Get a business phone number.
Services like Grasshopper provide professional phone numbers for your small business. You can get your own toll-free or local number, along with the ability to transcribe voice mails directly to your email, add extensions, and forward calls to your mobile phone.
Designate some concrete boundaries for yourself so you can concentrate on being productive. For example, you might say that from 8am-12pm, you’ll work, 12pm-1pm is lunch, and 1pm-4pm is your second chunk of productivity. Your boundaries may look nothing like this, but it’s important to be realistic when you schedule your time. Don’t put yourself down for working 4 hours straight when you know you work better in 2 hour bursts.
Schedule family time.
Even though you’re home most of the time, owning a home-based business can seriously impede on your family time. Why? Because it’s hard to set boundaries on work when you’re in the same place where work is done. You literally live at your office, so to make sure you don’t skimp on family time, schedule it just like you would schedule a meeting. You can schedule that time daily in big chunks or schedule specific activities with family members. For example, on weekdays from 4pm-8pm is family time (barring any unforeseen crises at work), or on Mondays, I take my daughter out to eat at 6pm-7:30pm.
Set goals and track your progress.
It can feel like you’re disconnected, or doing it all alone, when you’re running a business from home. That makes it especially important to set goals and track your progress along the way. This works in two ways. First, it will build your perseverance toward working on long-term goals, which is invaluable for an entrepreneur. Second, it will give you concrete, measurable milestones and accomplishments to celebrate. Who could turn down a perfectly good reason to celebrate? Not us.
Hire extra help.
If you’ve been going at it alone, or if you’ve been working with a limited team, it might be time to consider hiring some extra help. That might be for your business (a virtual receptionist, marketing assistant, web designer, etc.) or it might be for you or your home (a maid, organization specialist, chef a few nights per week, etc.). If you’re having trouble getting something done, look into hiring someone to help you do it.
Get some exercise.
You may not think exercise has anything to do with your success as an entrepreneur, but it can. Research has shown that sedentary lifestyles do affect our brains and the way we learn, react to, and retain information. If you’ve been working from your couch, it’s a good idea to take a walk during your next phone call, do some leg lifts while you answer emails, or join a gym. Keeping your body healthy will put you in the right state of mind to accomplish your goals and run a successful business from home.