Do you have what it takes to work on a business from your home? The truth is, not everyone is cut out to work from home. It is not as easy as a walk in the park, as some perceive it to be or some people may tell you about. It takes more than just passion to survive working at home.
Working from home may succeed for many people, but many others find it a hair-pulling experience. They are stumped with the very idea that they will work alone in their basement facing their computer or working tables for most part of the day. Yes, there s no boss to tell them what to do and how to do a task. but for those who are used to being told what to do, this situation will take them nowhere. Worse, there s no one else to talk to, other than the family members and maybe, the cat or the dog.
To make the process of starting and nurturing a business from your home a success, you must have the right inner workings for it. Even with a fool-proof business plan, you need to have the proper mental attitude to be able to work successfully from home. Otherwise, you may be better off allocating capital to rent a proper office downtown, or go back to your previous job as a salaried employee.
How do you maintain your sanity while working from home? Below are five traits you need to survive working at home and succeed at a home-based business:
You must be able to focus on your objectives.
As a start-up entrepreneur, it is so easy to be pulled in to many directions. However, you need to have the ability to focus your efforts on clearly defined objectives and stay on course despite constant distractions.
Having a clear focus allows you to schedule each day with activities designed to achieve your goals. Whether the task at hand is to secure a meeting with a potential investor or request for reciprocal links for your web site, you wake up each morning driven to reach your business objectives.
Focusing on your objectives also entails identifying and exploiting significant opportunities, the pursuit of which is the very heart of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs have the uncanny knack to see things in the marketplace that others don’t and build viable businesses around that recognition.
You must be capable of remaining optimistic at all times.
Entrepreneurs who succeed are those who worked to build their businesses despite a plethora of obstacles. Why do they do it? Because they’re driven! Driven by passion, opportunity and optimism.
You need to believe that the glass is always half full, even when it s pretty much empty. You must be convinced that the future will be better than the past and will improve upon the present. This optimism, this belief in the possible, is a remarkably potent resource for overcoming obstacles.
I came across an interesting study that looks at the nature of competition between optimistic entrepreneurs and their realistic counterparts. Michael Manove in his empirical study Entrepreneurs, Optimism and the Competitive Edge; (Boston University and CEMFI, Spain: November 2000) found that optimistic entrepreneurs (whom he calls unrealistic optimists ) may actually earn more than their realistic counterparts. While unrealistic optimism in business can lead to a misallocation of resources and a reduction in welfare, the study finds that it can also stimulate savings and investments and provide added incentives for hard work.
You must learn how to balance family, work and personal needs.
Let me tell you a little secret: this is the hardest part of working from home. If you are one of those who decided to work from home to be with your family, you will sometimes find that it is nearly impossible to do work while juggling with your family and personal life.
Writing out the words balance work with family is easy, but the reality of it is not. I have a 19-month old toddler, and my work patterns drastically changed on his arrival. I found that it is literally impossible to make babies understand that they need to let their mommies or daddies work. When I used to stay glued to my computer working the whole day, now I have two cute tiny hands tugging and pulling me away from work and the computer. I can only work when he sleeps or whenever he allows it. He is now the boss.
If you are faced with a situation similar to mine, you need to be prepared to sacrifice your own sleep in order to get work done. Or make arrangements for someone to take care of your children, whether a babysitter or daycare. Real life is not a switch that you can turn on and off for the convenience of your business, and you must make a lot of effort to be able to work on your business while meeting the demands of your family.
You need to be proactive in managing time.
Discipline is an important ingredient if you want to make it big as a home-based entrepreneur, and part of discipline is effectively managing your time. In spite of interruptions in your home (children, laundry, cooking, etc.), you must find time to work productively. It is important that you are able to stick to your guns and stay on track, despite temptations to take a longer nap, go to the mall, or watch TV. Disruptions are inevitable in a home-based environment, but how you control those events will spell the success of your business.
Get into the habit of writing your to-do list using a system that works for you. A daily planner where I jot my To-Do list is an essential tool for me. Knowing what I need to accomplish for the day helps me make the most of my work hours.
You can put a white board in your work area where you list down the things that needs to be done for the day. A big calendar with enough space might also do the trick. PDAs, high-tech cell-phones, or computer programs are also neat tools that can help you organize and prioritize your day.
Once you have your list, prioritize your activities for the day according to their importance. You can do this the night before or in early morning, whichever works for you. Then tackle your to-do list from the most important to the least important. Even if you are unable to complete everything in your to-do list, you are able to get the most important tasks out of the way. That is the key is to working smarter, if not necessarily harder.
Flexibility, however, is also important. There will be days when your child s babysitter may not be able to come, or your son s baseball game got extended. During those days when your time for work is cut, be sure to do the most important tasks first.
You need to have a strong appetite for learning.
To succeed as a home business entrepreneur, you must adopt a sponge-like attitude to learning. Your enthusiasm and openness to learn new things, try out new ideas, and finding better ways to do things are critical to the continued positive development of your business.
If you are starting a business from home, it is definite that you do not have a management team to craft and hone your strategies. You will have to rely on yourself to develop approaches that will work for your business, carefully identify and reach your audiences or prospects, and manage the daily responsibilities of running a business. Some of the tasks and challenges you will face may be beyond what you know; some will even be over your head. Even if you have no idea what to do, the phrase, “I can do it” must be part of your vocabulary.
To gain ideas and knowledge, you will need to research better, seek mentors and ask the right people. Read more about your industry. Borrow books on how successful entrepreneurs did it, and adopt the winning strategies that are applicable to your business. Get inspired to do better by networking with like-minded individuals.
- Intelligent Optimism: The Power of Optimistic Thinking
- Starting a Business Part-Time or Full Time
- 10 Common Home Office Mistakes
- Work-Life Balance for the Home Business Entrepreneur
- How to Live Up to Your Greatest Potential