Many entrepreneurs make their homes into their businesses. With no mandatory meetings, set schedule or co-workers, this might sound like the perfect work situation, but if you are not personally disciplined you might not get very much done. While using your home as your business office gives you a great commute, you’ll also face challenges that you might not have considered. You might even need to change some bad habits in order to make working from home work for you.
Here are six tips to run a successful home-based business.
1. Dress the Part
Working at home in your pajamas all day sounds appealing, but what effect does it have on your productivity? Even if you’re working at home, you need to shower and get dressed as it will help you start your day. No one is saying you should throw on your best suit, but getting ready in the morning will help you get your mind on the business.
2. Set a Schedule
One of the perks of working for home is that you aren’t running on anyone else’s schedule. This can be a great thing because you can truly make your own hours. Flexibility is great, but to get the most out of your business, you still need to have a set schdule. Since you work from home, you may decide you don’t want to be nine-to-five; maybe you want to work noon to 8 p.m. It’s completely up to you – but stick to it, and be productive in those eight hours.
When running a home-based business, discipline will be an important factor. If you want take a two-hour lunch break, no one is there to stop you! Still, you must remain focused and dedicated to your daily tasks. The last thing you want to do is make a habit out of slacking off. Your lack of productivity and sales will be obvious at the end of the month.
4. Leverage Technology
If you’re going to run a business from your home, you need all of the same amenities you would have at an office. You will need a computer, high speed internet, a VoIP phone service, and a reliable all-in-one machine with copy, online fax and scan capabilities. You also want to get a smart phone so that you can catch calls and emails on the fly. You need to be prepared to communicate however a client or customer wants to.
5. Create a work area
Working from your couch all day sounds good in theory, but trying to be super productive in an area where you’d normally kick back and relax is counterintuitive. Set up a space dedicated to getting work done and get in the “work” mindset while you’re there. It’s best if it’s a work space with a door.
6. Protect your personal time
When you are working at home, it can be easy to forget how many hours you’ve actually worked each week. You don’t want to slip into being an unhealthy workaholic. At the end of your day, shut down your computer, plug up your cellphone in your office and don’t check email anymore. Even though you are working out of your home, you need to keep your work life and personal life separate.
There’s no set way to run a successful business. If you’ve decided run a home-based business, follow these steps so that you can stay on track.
Melinda is a founder and president of Quintessence Group, an award-winning marketing consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA, serving Fortune 500 brands who target small businesses.