Six Tips for Juggling Home-Based Business Success with Home Life Busy-ness!
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: March 30, 2010, 7:47 am
- Updated: April 30, 2012, 6:59 pm
There are now over 23 million sole proprietors filing tax returns in the U.S. Given the low overheads and other business and lifestyle benefits, a significant number of sole proprietors also choose to operate out of their home and are generating $102 billion in annual revenue in the process (source: SBA Office of Advocacy).
Numbers aside, sole proprietors and other home-based businesses succeed because they are able to manage their life in a way that allows them to enjoy the benefits of their entrepreneurial choices. But being a sole proprietor in a home-office environment also means you are bombarded with a myriad of conflicting work/life demands, 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week.
Each of us has our own secret formula for success, but how often do you actually stop and assess wha;s working and what is-t as you do business from your home?
Here are a few tips that can help you dust off your home-based business routine and strike a balance between the demands of your business and the busy-ness of the home environment in which you operate!
1. Learn to Delegate or Outsource
When you run your business out of your home two worlds collide and without some discipline and planning you can easily get distracted. Errands need to be run, kids need to be ferried around, dry cleaning needs to be picked up, and so on.
Try delegating some of your daily home-life chores- consider sharing school run or after-school duties with a friend or neighbor on a reciprocal basis. If you need help in the home, try hiring a part-time housekeeper or nanny for a few hours a day, and plan your errands in advance so that they can take care of them while you focus on your business.
If you find yourself buried in administrative tasks, a virtual assistant might be able to help. Virtual assistants are self-employed individuals who use their own office equipment and software to help you stay on top of administration for as little as $20-$50 an hour, but they can also be drawn on for marketing support' and at a much lower cost than hiring a personal assistant. Read this excellent article* by Wendy Maynard that explains how VAs can be the'savior of small businesse'.
2. Stop Wasting Time
Find yourself losing hours during the day? I call it the home-based business equivalent of water cooler chat' that inevitable delaying tactic that curtails productivity. My nemesis is Facebook and online browsing, that will surely take bite-sized chunks out of my business day if I let it!
Evaluate what your distraction of choice is and remove it. Yo'll be surprised how many hours you gain back in a week!
3. Stay Focused
For many sole-proprietors, the work can ebb and flow. One minute you are in a dry spell and next you are so overwhelmed with work that something has to give.
Try to optimize your work/life schedule so that you can work when you need to be working. Avoid over-scheduling your calendar during busy periods by bunching routine non-business related appointments and commitments during periods when you anticipate that your workload will be lighter. By planning ahead and protecting your calendar you can keep stress at a minimum and give your business your best.
You can also optimize dry spells by using this time to build your business or to get ahead on non-urgent business. For example, rather than deliver a piece of work when i's due, get ahead of the due date and check it off your list so that you have more time to manage any variables or unexpected work that might come down the line. Your clients will appreciate it too!
4. Manage Time in Blocks
Just as you block time off for meetings, block time off in your Outlook calendar for you and your family. Whether i's an hour at the gym or a Friday afternoon off, mark it in your calendar and manage your business around those times. Frida's tend to be light on meetings and, let's face it, productivity levels are not at their highest - maximize this time by blocking it in your calendar and catch up with family, run errands, or catch up on business administration - without interruptions!
5. Stay Productive with the One Hour for Me Rule
Just as the average worker gets an hour each day to grab lunch and catch up on errands, treat your business in the same way. Limit your extra-curricular activities to one-hour per day and learn to say no to unnecessary meetings, errands or obligations. Whether it's an off-site meeting, a yoga class, or taking the kids to after-school soccer - sticking to the one-hour rule will help you maintain a consistent six to seven hour work day without un-scheduled distractions.
6. Invest in Networking
I'm constantly surprised by conversation.
Going beyond chit chat with like-minded business owners or even casual everyday acquaintances at the school drop off or the gym can lead to inspiration, motivation and, for the isolated, home-business owner, a sense of connection and well being.
Find time in your day or week to invest in others and you'll be surprised how rewarding it can be.
Community business groups such as Small Business Development Centers and your local Chamber of Commerce can also provide networking and business growth opportunities. For more networking tips, read Going Beyond the Schmooze - How to Embrace Business Networking and Make it Work for Your Needs.
- Home-Based Business Guide - This guide provides resources that will help you learn more about working out of your house, starting a home-based business, and managing your business within the law.
- Home-Based Business Smarts -Tips for Finding Opportunity, Starting-Up, and (oh yes) Thriving
- When Something's Got to Give! - Outsourcing Options for Your Growing Freelance Business
- Taking the Plunge - Tips for Getting over the Fear of Starting a Business
- Starting and Growing a Home-Based Business - Uncle Sam has some Props that can help!
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General small business tips and tricks.