Let’s talk about getting started, organized and making a plan to run a business from home. It may seem simple to follow but the checklist will help avoid potential pitfalls on the road to success.
A successful home business gives you the freedom to set your own hours, control your financial future and spend more time doing the things you love to do. Things that you can’t always do with a traditional 9-5 job. It’s a very alluring lifestyle and one that many never reach for, because they don’t know how, think it won’t work or simply because they are afraid to try.
As with anything in life when it comes to growing your business, there are some potential pitfalls along the way, but with some basic planning they can be easily avoided which can help ensure the success of your business from the start.
- Identify the Source of Inspiration
Before you even start making plans, it is important to write it down on your journal why it is important at this time to start working from home. It may not be a full-blown business, but you need to identify your source of inspiration for going an extra mile to do this. This exercise will prove helpful and will appear more significant during a phase in your business when you feel down or discouraged. To be reminded of the “why”will give you that extra push to get you back on track.
2. Make a Plan
There are several things you can do during the startup process to make it easier, and if you do it right you should be able to successfully run your business without extra-added stress.
One of the first things you should do is to make a schedule to separate your business hours from your home life. When you work from home, it’s very easy to let the two blend, which can be a recipe for disaster.
Because your business is at home, it’s tempting to work at all hours of the day or night, especially if you are working online. Many home business owners fall into this trap. You get tempted to take on additional projects, fill orders or other tasks that bleed into your home life because you feel like it’s the only way to succeed.
But, the truth is if you don’t set limits for yourself, you’ll find that you won’t be able to produce quality work or get as much done and your home life will suffer as well. Everybody needs some down time, so don’t be afraid to take it!
In order to avoid this problem, you need to set realistic business hours. Look at the hours you want to work. Just like a regular office, your home business should have office hours and hours when you are not available. It’s simply too easy to work all of the time, even if you need the money. However, keeping hours and making sure that you keep them regularly is a good way to make sure that you’ll have ample time for, business, home and family.
- Allocate a Work Space
Next, it’s important to set up a dedicated office/work space for your home business that is separate from the rest of your home. So many home business owners skip this step and their business takes over their whole house before they even realize what happened. Your office is a very important because it helps separate file from business which increases productivity.
Your home office doesn’t have to be big or fancy it can simply be a corner of your kitchen, living or a spare bedroom. Just so, it’s dedicated to your business, which will make it much easier for you to keep the two things separated. If you can keep your home and business apart, you’ll have a much better chance of managing them both well.
In your office, generally you’ll need a computer, printer, internet access, fax, telephone, business cards and a conducive work environment.
Keep in mind that sometimes you’ll be working long hours, especially in the beginning, so your work space needs to be comfortable. A suitable desk, comfortable chair and appropriate lighting are very important and often taken for granted. Allocate some money towards setting up a working environment conducive to productivity and you’ll enjoy your time in the office much more!
- Identify Your Support System
It is important to have a good support system in place. This can be a coach, mentor, someone with a similar business, or simply your family and friends. You need to have people close to you who will encourage you and give you any support you need.
You can join your local Chamber of Commerce, online communities and forums of people in the same industry as your own. A good support network is very important to the success of your home business, so don’t take it for granted.
3. Get Capital
Money to cover capital outlay and running costs is important even if you’re starting out on a shoestring budget. It would require some form of investment, and you’ll need to know how much you have and how much more is needed. While marketing your business, you will need to stay afloat until it begins to generate solid income.
There are a lot of claims stating that you do not need any capital to do affiliate marketing. In a way, it is true but if you want to build a list and have an “authority blog”, the minimum capital needed is about $120 yearly for your domain name, web hosting, and SSL certification. Given of course, that you have a laptop or desktop computer and a stable Internet connection.
I wouldn't encourage anyone to have the perception of going into affiliate marketing because you do not need capital. To go into business with such a perception may cause some frustrations along the way. You need to have a good system in place, a system that works for you in order to create more opportunities for yourself.
4. Master A Daily Routine
So how do you stay on-task? One of the best ways I’ve found, is to keep a log book of goals and the tasks that are necessary to reach them. Like a short and long-term to do list.
Start with your bigger goals and then break them down into a series of small tasks that must be accomplished to help you move towards your goals. Be sure to prioritize this will help keep less important tasks from pulling you off-track. As you go through the list, cross off tasks as you complete them, so you can keep track of your progress.
I know this may seem too simple to be effective, but it is one of the most effective ways to keep yourself on the fast track to success. You can use a notebook, white board, word doc or if you prefer you can look online for goal tracking software to help keep you on track.
Include a daily health routine like brisk walking for 30 minutes/ day. What good is it to make a lot of money when you will just spend it later for medication and hospitalization?
5. Manage Your Time
Good time management skills are especially for when you are your own boss. You must define the parameters of your business.
– What days and hours will you work?
– When will you market?
– When will you provide services or products to clients?
– How will you spend weekends?
By defining, a list of necessary tasks you need to accomplish to make your business run smoothly you can create a livable schedule to accomplish them without working yourself into the ground.
6. Motivate Yourself
Motivation is a very personal thing. What motivates one person may not do a thing for another. So, when it comes to staying motivated finding what motivates you and keeps moving forward towards your goals is your golden key to success.
As we have been discussing it’s very important to set goals and organize them in a way that is simple and attainable. Remember if the carrot is too far in front of the horse, the horse will give up, but if it’s close enough to smell and see but just out of reach, the horse will keep moving towards the incentive.
One way to stay motivated is to incorporate rewards into your long and short-term goals. Often times home business owners, forget to reward themselves when they achieve goals. They just keep chugging along and don’t take time to celebrate their successes.
For instance, treat yourself to a long lunch when you attain a new customer or an extra day off when you reach your monthly sales goal early. Small, incremental rewards will help you move faster towards your goal. Remember to treat yourself. You work hard and you deserve it!
7. Get Help
Do you find yourself spending endless hours setting up a sales page? Hire any professional help you may need.The faster you can start selling, the faster you find out more about how to do things better.
Treat your business professionally, and if you need the services of a lawyer or accountant, hire one. It’s more productive and effective to hire skilled professionals to do what you don’t have the time or skills to do it yourself. If you want your business to be successful, it’s important not to overload yourself with time consuming tasks or projects that can be easily outsourced. It’s also more cost effective in the end, because it leaves you free to focus on growing your business.