Being an entrepreneur is a dream for a lot of people; for many, it will be feasible to run their businesses right out of their homes. Why not? It saves a lot of money on overhead and can—if done correctly—provide a big boost to your quality of life.
Here are some home-based business tips you can follow to make sure choosing this path works for you.
Tip #1: Know thyself.
Get honest with yourself about your work habits and whether or not you need the structure of an actual business environment. This isn’t necessarily a negative evaluation. Most people with the ambition to start a business aren’t lazy. It’s also likely they’re choosing to start a business in something they’re passionate about. A willingness and a desire to work might not be the problem but walking away from the work might be.
If you work for someone else, you can shut it down at the end of the business day. If you’re the boss, but work at an outside location, at least the physical structure provides some boundaries for you. But at home, there’s the temptation to keep going—especially at the outset of a new venture when there’s no limit to the amount of work that must be done. Make sure you know when it’s time to just relax.
Tip #2: Build structure.
Establishing a new structure to replace the clear distinction of office and home is the first step to doing that. Set what your working hours will be and stick to them. Make yourself accountable to loved ones for working within those hours. People who will ask, “Do you really need to be doing this right now?” when you’re insisting you need to work on Sunday afternoon.
A part of this is having an area of your home specifically designated as the workspace. Ideally, you can have an office. If nothing else, just a desk in one corner of a study can suffice. Stay away from there when it’s not your working hours and stay put when it’s time to work.
Tip #3: Don’t go it alone.
You may be working from home and you may be in business for yourself, but you can’t do it by yourself. Networking will be vital to your success—and not just professionally, but mentally. Reach out to other professionals that you can network with. Maybe it’s a formal business association or maybe it’s just meeting other people for coffee once a week.
And to the extent that you can afford it, delegate out responsibilities on your business. Your networking may bring you into contact with people who are good at areas of your business that you prefer not to deal with. Don’t hesitate to bring them on board.
Every business venture is different and so is every business owner. But the principles of knowing your work habits, building structure and working in community are universal to the human experience. They’re essential to running a successful home-based business.