This is an article with practical suggestions for the HOME-BASED Business Owner, or any of you considering running your business from home.
- Just Because I’m Home Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Working
- 12 Tips to Train YOURSELF to run a successful business from home
Running a successful business from home is a continual work in progress. Not only organizing your space but then there’s setting boundaries for your mate, kids, maybe pets, and delivery people, as well as setting work-life balance limits for yourself. I used to do all my paperwork, writing, and coaching phone calls from home. Then I’d schedule clients in person and them at another co-working location. Separating locations helped me to focus on each type of task—the business of running a successful business at home versus time with clients focused on their needs.
Then there was the pandemic. Like you, I brought my enterprise home full-time. Together business owners and families pivoted and we are all now well versed in running successful businesses from home. Some more smoothly than others. As the world opens up again, some workers really do want to go back to the office because of the stressors caused by disturbances at home. While these owners really do love their mate, their kiddos, and their pets, managing it all can be overwhelming.
In 2020, the SBA noted that about half of all small businesses were home-based out of 31.7 million. Surprisingly, 3rd Quarter 2020 also yielded the start of more new businesses than during any other quarter in U.S. history. Women-owned home-based businesses grew more than 114%. Sixty-nine percent of start-ups are home-based with entrepreneurs reporting greater happiness working virtually, and from home.
These positive statistics bode well for your home-based business adventure! Creating solid systems, maybe hiring a virtual assistant or team, setting boundaries for those in your household, and establishing limits for your own work vs. personal time are four key factors in feeling good and running your business successfully.
Just Because I’m Home Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Working!
In my own recollection of last year, the ups and down of managing a home life AND officing from home became apparent to me a while back as I was trying to create a marketing video. As you might well know, any noise or disturbance is not welcome during that activity. I realized I had hit a real low point when I hung a sign that said “DO NOT DISTURB UNLESS THERE IS A FIRE!” on my office door so as not to be disturbed!
That sign worked for the very short term. I got my peace and quiet that day, but it’s not how I want to react to the ongoing potential for disruptions, noise, scheduling, or even the confusion of personal and business roles on a regular basis. So today I am going to resurrect some better and more proactive solutions. They might seem small, but when you put them all together and consistently implement them, they will help you focus and achieve a better, more efficient workflow.
12 Tips to Train YOURSELF so you can run a successful business from home
- It’s All About Scheduling
For your sake—set hours just like you would at the office. Give yourself a reasonable start and stop time each day. Then try to stick to it. Otherwise, it is way too easy to go to your email or computer at 6 a.m. before you’ve even had your shower or coffee. Be sure to include daily breaks and exercise times in your schedule.
For the sake of others in your life—discipline yourself and work with those around you when you are especially busy so you adjust your expectations and their needs.
- Schedule Specific Times With Your Staff or Virtual Team
A huge part of scheduling is to make appointments with members of your staff or team on a regular basis so they can count on you. These can be in person or on the phone depending on if your business is local or virtual. That way your staff knows when they can connect with you to move their assignments forward – projects to leverage your business.
If you work with your mate or family members, this suggestion is especially important for each of you. Otherwise, the familiarity of spontaneous interactions may be energizing at times, but in the long run, it can also lead to undesired interruptions and feelings of overwhelm.
If it’s a virtual team helping run your business, investing some dollars in a centralized online project management software system—to collaborate and communicate online with your team (without having to text, email, or phone all the time) may also be a wise investment at some point in time. Scheduling talk times to review individual or team projects—or have a social catch-up time—can keep everyone connected and in the know.
- Close Your Office Door When You Are Working or When Necessary
This one is a no-brainer if you can handle it!
- Post a Sign on Your Office Door
You may have to have a few different signs. Experiment with what works for you. Some examples include:
Working – Do NOT Disturb
Yes, You Can Disturb If It’s a Quick Question
And any other that is customized for your needs!
5. Have Family and Friends Email or Text
I happen to have some very communicative family members. If you do too, you might train them to email or text. Then train yourself to look at emails or texts (even phone calls) at specific times each day (2-3 times are advised.) Then everyone can count on you to check and respond to emails or texts. If they can count on you, they may bug you less often!
6. Turn Off the Racket
This includes Computer sounds and Phone ringers.
Even try turning your iPhone off altogether for periods throughout the day so you can concentrate on the projects at hand.
7. Use Caller ID to Screen Your Calls or Silence the Ringer
Personally, I don’t use a caller ID because it’s still too tempting to answer. I prefer to turn off the ringer when I’m “not available.” Either I want to talk, or I don’t. But you can experiment with Caller ID or silencing the ringer.
8. Use eVoice or Similar Service for 1 (800) Numbers
For incoming business calls, an 800 number is great, then your home phone is for personal. Such services send you or your VA / Assistant an email when someone leaves a message and then you or your VA / Assistant can respond at appropriate times.
9. Know When the Lawn Mowing & Repair People Are Coming
Due to noise levels, disruption, and any need for your input on repair projects, adjust your business activities according to scheduled household needs.
10. Hang No Solicitor sign on the door
I do not like it when anyone other than friends and expected visitors ring my doorbell. So I always keep a pleasant sign outside my front door saying: “No Solicitors. You May Leave Written Materials You Wish.”
11. Train UPS, FED EX, USPS, and All Other Delivery Services
Leave a note or ask your regular delivery folks to leave packages in a specified safe place and to NOT ring the doorbell unless absolutely necessary.
Train yourself to leave signed and dated signature forms when you are expecting a package that requires a signature.
The only exception to this might be the florist is someone special is sending you a birthday bouquet!
12. Go to the Coffee Shop or a Co-Working Space Once in a While!
For your own sanity and for some peace and quiet you may just need to go to the coffee shop or co-working office space once in a while! Go. Guilt-free and enjoy! Sometimes the sound of the espresso machine is soothing background music!
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Again, I know that so many of you work from home at least part-time. I’d love for you to share what works for you in keeping the peace, staying connected with loved ones, AND running your successful business from home!
- Check out our video tips and resources here.
- If you haven’t already, download the assessment of styles of relating and reflect on how you’d like your relationship to be. You can find this on our FREE Resource page – You’ll be guided to think about where you’ve been and the destination you desire. What has characterized your relationship up to this point in your lives, and how would you like your relationship to look a year from now?
- You can always contact Dr. Jan directly – Reach out for a complimentary discovery call to discuss your needs and best ways she can help.