How to Run a Successful Home Business
Even though it is tempting to work in your pajamas, take personal calls and play with your pets, it will not benefit your business’s future. Keep yourself accountable with these 10 home based business ideas and you’ll succeed!
1. Self control = key – When you don’t work in an office or store, there is more of a likelihood that you will get distracted. You possess complete freedom, so it is vital to be accountable and budget your time. Don’t allow yourself to sleep past your alarm, take TV breaks or hang out with friends. Regardless of your business’s location, it is still a business, and work hours should be spent solely doing your job.
2. Less personal problems, please – Running your small business from home doesn’t mean you can utilize business hours for family matters. Unless it is a legitimate emergency, you should handle these issues after work. If you’re a parent, make sure you schedule childcare. Working from home and watching your children may seem like an ideal situation, but chances are if your child is around, you’ll spend considerable time with them.
3. Leave the house – If you’re getting distracted, go to a local café or public library to do work. Instead of hosting an important meeting around your kitchen table, consider renting a conference room for the day. Knowing how to work from home effectively means recognizing when you need to leave the house so that you can maintain a professional, active mindset. Leaving the house occasionally will ensure you don’t go stir crazy!
4. Don’t stay in your pajamas – The thought of not having to blow dry your hair or shave your beard may sound euphoric, but personal hygiene is mandatory regardless of where you work. Wake up, brush your teeth, put on acceptable clothing (sorry, just do it) and get to work. If a customer or employee stops by, you’ll need to look appropriate, and being put together will keep you motivated.
5. Make a “work only” zone – Even though you’re working from home, you should still have a designated work space. Clear out personal clutter and create organized storage space that is dedicated solely to your business. It would be pretty embarrassing to have to admit to a business partner or employee that you couldn’t find this month’s budget because it got lost amongst your magazine subscriptions.
6. Don’t go off the grid – While we aren’t recommending that you stare at your iPhone all day perusing social media, you need to stay connected to your employees and customers. Since you won’t see these people every day, you should be available by phone and email. Being difficult to reach is going to make you look undependable, and chances are your co-workers are going to question whether you’re actually working.
7. Focus on marketing and networking – Running a small business from home means marketing efforts have to be strategic. Make use of social media platforms to advertise your business and communicate with customers. In addition, attend local networking events and meet face-to-face with other people in your industry. Your business will benefit if you find ways to collaborate with people in your community, and by utilizing both digital and in-person opportunities, you can make up for not having a storefront.
8. Hire trustworthy, competent people – Home business employees must exhibit discipline. If they work in your home, discuss boundaries, so that they do not invade any personal areas not used for business. The alternative is that if they work in their own homes, ensure that they can be trusted to do work, and won’t spend time doing personal things. Regardless, both situations require individuals who are trustworthy and won’t take advantage of the relaxed situation.
9. Know your tax and zoning laws – We know, reading about this kind of stuff doesn’t exactly evoke excitement, but learning your area’s tax and zoning laws will serve you in the long run. Figuring out the tax laws will deter you from having a meltdown during tax season, and the zoning laws will determine some major aspects of running your home business (think work hours and in-home employees). Certain tedious tasks like these are easy to postpone, but not knowing these laws may cause you serious stress.
10. Act like a regular business– In summary, the only difference between your business and a company with a physical office should be location. Otherwise, the way you conduct affairs should be the same. Write a business plan, work traditional hours (if possible) and follow strict deadlines. Although running your small business from home provides a relaxed environment, and saves money on additional costs, these benefits shouldn’t be abused. If you keep yourself and your employees accountable, your home-based business will be a great success.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.