The Challenges Facing Home Business Owners
Running a business from home is supposed to be the dream, right?
You can get out of bed when you want. You can work in your pyjamas. You can avoid the daily commute. And you can work for yourself, without a nuisance boss breathing down your neck to push you into working harder. In many ways, yes, working from home is a dream. On the other hand…
There are challenges that need to be overcome.
You will realize this yourself if you are already working from home. However, all hope isn’t lost. Dreams don’t have to be shattered. In this article, we will look at some of the challenges home business owners face, and give you some tips to counter them.
Challenge #1: Being taken seriously
Running a home business is not just a part-time hobby. Well, not all of the time, anyway!
However, that is how a client might perceive the business, especially when this is evidenced with home contact details printed on the website and letterheads, or when Skype meetings are interrupted by children running around in the background. To avoid a negative reaction, you need to take the steps detailed below to improve your credibility.
Tip: While you may not have the professionalism of a big business owner, you should still work on your professional facade.
This includes using a registered office for your business address, alongside a business email address and phone number that are separate to those you use in your personal life. If you have meetings on Skype, try and hold them in your home office, and ensure your children are safely looked after elsewhere.
Be sure to wear your work clothes too, as while you might enjoy the benefits of working in your pyjamas, your client won’t get a good impression of you if you appear negligent in your dress sense. And consider hiring a meeting space if you want to meet somebody face to face, as this is more professional (and safer) than inviting somebody around to your home, especially when there are children running around, or you have neglected to do the housework. Remember: first impressions matter!
Challenge #2: Home distractions
Working from home is great, but there are distractions that could limit your productivity. The first is your family.
If your partner or kids are always popping in to say hello, then you won’t get any work done. The same applies to your extended family members, as well as your friends and neighbors. And then there are those other distractions that could delay your day.
- You might be tempted to stop working to catch up on one of your fave television shows.
- You might be tempted to check Facebook for non-working purposes, or any other website on the internet that interests you.
- And you might have more tea breaks than you should, especially if your kitchen is right next door to you.
It’s a wonder you get any work done at all if any of these relate to you.
Tip: You need to learn the power of the word ‘no.’
For starters, let your friends, family and significant others know when you are working, and tell them you are not be interrupted. They might not get it at first – they might not take your home business seriously, either – but you have to be firm. Let them know when your downtime is, and let them know you will be fully available at this time. They will get it, eventually. Then tell yourself ‘no.’ If you have work to do, you need to get into a diligent habit. Timetable your day with a list of everything you have to do, and stick to it. Have drink and snack supplies on hand, so you don’t have to disappear to the kitchen every ten minutes. And block internet sites that would otherwise distract you, as this way, you might be able to get through an hour without checking to see who has liked your recent posts.
Challenge #3: Working overtime
There might never be enough time to do everything you want in the day, but if you’re working from home, you might be forced or feel tempted to work longer than you should.
You might feel forced to do more because you have faced the distractions we referred too during your day. And you might be tempted to work longer because your work will always be present. Rather than coming home from work where you can leave projects on the desk, you will be in the same vicinity as those unfinished reports and unanswered emails. But here’s the thing. If you do work overtime on a regular basis, you will miss out on quality time with your family and friends, as well as the time needed to relax away from work pressures. Relationships might become frayed, and you might burn out with exhaustion.
Tip: This is a difficult one, but it can be overcome.
For starters, you need to adhere to our advice in the last point. If you can eliminate your distractions, you might have a fighting chance to get through what needs to be done for work.
Secondly, learn to prioritize. There will be some tasks that can be left until a later date, so concentrate on those jobs that come with deadlines, and leave anything else until afterward, be that on the same day if time allows, or until the next day. Then think about outsourcing some of your jobs, including the tasks listed here. This will give you more time to focus on those priority tasks that befit your time and talents.
And finally, remember to care for yourself and others. You need to rest, as this will make you more productive later on, so do take the time out for yourself. You might only make yourself ill, otherwise. And remember the people who love you. After telling them ‘no’ all day when they have threatened to distract you, they still need to see you at some point. You will only hurt those relationships if you don’t.
Working from home can be both a dream and a nightmare, but by adhering to these tips, you will hopefully experience more of the latter than the former. Let us know what you think, and if you have any other pieces of advice for our readers, be sure to let us know.
© New To HR