Starting a business from home is both a blessing and a curse. Don’t get me wrong here – I know it feels really great to start a home based business – it gives total freedom both financially and for life.
However, since the business is “home based” there are some risks associated with it. Well, not technically “risks” – that’s not a good word – but still, if you’re not aware of what you’re into, you might run into some trouble.
You know, surviving a solopreneurship or even being an entrepreneur with a team while you work at home is not always as you expect in the beginning. Let me put out some of the challenges you might face in this respect.
Problem #1: People taking you for granted
I’ve had this many times. People usually expect me to come over for shopping or join a meeting or help them out with something urgent and they give me notice only at the last moment.
And if I tell them that I’m occupied or busy, they just give me a weird look – like “What? You’re busy? You are at home always, right?”
This might sound like a very little problem. But over the due course, if you don’t make it clear to everyone about what you are doing and the nature of your work, you will soon run into trouble – the kind of trouble where you could ruin relationship with people. And that’s not good.
So here are the possible solutions to survive this issue.
And one more thing before I dive into offering you solutions – When I say “people” that includes both outsiders and your family, of course. Yes, unless and until you put things straight, even your family will have some problems adjusting with yourself.
Solution #1: Have a working place, schedule and let your family know about it
This is probably one of the first and one of the most important things you should take care when you plan with starting an online business; in particular, a home based business! As I said earlier, since you work from home, it is most likely that people from your family will take you for granted.
Hence you should make sure that you keep them informed of whatever is needed for the proper functioning of your business. Otherwise you will not only ruin your business but might also ruin your relationship with your family members.
Make sure you have a dedicated work place at home, even if it is a small room. This will make it easier for you to intimate them about your working hours.
For instance if you are working, you can close the door and let your family know that it’s your working time and you don’t want to be disturbed. Over the time, your family will start to realize your working routine – this is very important.
Also conduct a brief meeting weekly or bi-weekly with your family and let them know about your appointments or meetings that require your time and commitment. But don’t make the meeting just to announce your appointments, of course, rather make it a quality time with your family.
Solution #2: Don’t hesitate to say NO
Whenever people (doesn’t matter your family or friends from outside), ask you for help or for your time and if you find that you cannot give your time for that, just say NO. Don’t even think or hesitate.
You might think that you are being rude or that you are denying helping your friends – but if you say yes and then if you cannot give your 100% to your friends they are not going to be happy!
Problem #2: You become financially stressed
Most bloggers stress them out with finances when they start a home based business. Some start a business by devoting their time fully; and some others do it as a part time business while they work in a regular job.
Whatever be the case, it is highly important that you make it clear to yourself and your family (if they depend on you for financial support) that it will take time to make money with blogging.
Let’s see how you can fix this.
Here are some solutions
1. Save as much as you can when you start earning any small amount of money.
2. Be conscious about spending. Do not over spend, ever. It is very important that that you think again and again before you buy anything for your business. You won’t always need that extra software, or that “yet another” e-book.
3. Set aside money for taxes right from the beginning or else you’d be shockingly and unpleasantly surprised when you have to pay your taxes.
4. When you are outsourcing any task for your business, it is important that you do your research and find the cheap and best option – don’t compromise on the quality of the work, but at the same time you don’t have to pay that much always.
5. Tell your family that it will take X months to start seeing consistent income. Otherwise they might start expecting income from your source too early and this will lead to stress.
6. Also let your family know that there are certain costs involved in running your business.
If you follow these tips I’m sure you’ll be a lot relaxed on the financial front and you can be more focussed on developing your business for good!
And, I have to stress again – please don’t take any of these things lightly and don’t postpone with setting these straight right from the beginning.
Problem #3: The problem with staying focused
Yes, working from home becomes almost a curse with this one issue. Since it is a house where you and your family perform the regular rituals, it cannot be a perfect or a suitable place for you to do business.
There are all sorts of distractions like the TV, screaming kids, the washing machine that calls your attention, the microwave that beeps, people who call you because they think you are available at home kinda “always”, the countless online distractions and so on.
In the middle of all these distractions it is highly challenging to focus on your business. At the same time it is very important that you give enough “serious” working hours every week/day for your business to grow.
Here are a few tips to solve this issue
Solution #1: Get clarity with your goals
If you get clarity with your blogging goals, it will be much easier for you to focus on what’s needed to be done. This is why goals are important. If you have a clear goal in place, you know for sure what you have to work for. You clearly know what is needed in terms of the efforts that are required to achieve success with your business.
On the other hand, when you don’t have clarity with your business, you will just be wandering on (unwanted) tasks pointlessly. You will not be able to track your progress, since you have not yet defined your “success” – in other words, when you don’t know what you want, you won’t know if you have achieved it or not (hence, success is undefined!).
Solution #2: Have a regular working schedule
Just as you would get dressed, prepare yourself and go to a workplace if you had a regular 9-5 job, you have to have a strict working schedule with a home based business too. This works two ways –
(i) Your family members will clearly know about your working time and they will not interrupt you – this saves you many unwanted discussions and misunderstandings.
(ii) Your mind and body will adapt to your working schedule and you won’t have difficulties in tuning in.
I wake up at 5 am or 6 am in the morning (some days at 5 and some days at 6) and work for about an hour – since this is my golden hour, I get some of the major work done during this time.
Then, I prepare myself physically (take a shower, dress up informally, tie my hair) and sit down at 10 am in the morning at my table after I send off my hubby to office and the kid to school. I work until 11:15 am and there will be a 15 mins tea break. And then I work from 11:30 am until 1 pm.
After lunch, I take a nap from 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm and then my kid gets back from school at 4 pm. I give him some personal time, get him eat some snacks, etc. I work on and off during this time until 8 pm. After dinner I get some minor work done and get to bed at 10:30 pm (by all means).
This is my schedule – both my family and my mind/body know this schedule (and now, you know it too :)). So unless for some very important reason my family doesn’t interrupt me during this time!
Solution #3: Allow enough breaks
If you work at an office, you meet people, you socialize, you commute – there are quite some “non-work” kind of tasks. But when you work from home, there could be only “work” related work and “home” related work – if you are currently working from home, you’ll understand what I mean.
And at times, you will really become fed up with the “all work and no play” schedule. So make sure you allow enough breaks in your work schedule so that you allow time for some fresh air, time to pamper yourself, family time, time to do things you love and so on – in short, you should live your life!
Solution #4: Be disciplined and have will power to follow your dreams
It can be challenging to stick to a schedule! It can be stressful to work hard on your business. It can be quite challenging to make all the ends meet. It could be hard and boring to wake up early every day. It could be hard to focus on writing your blog post while your friends are hanging out on Facebook.
All you need is discipline and will power.
Make sure you have clarity with what you want to achieve with your business. And make sure you remind yourself often about this goal.
Analyze your progress on your business every week and plan your next week. Analyze and see if you are spending your time on stuff that really matters and that really promotes your business. If you find that you are working or in fact, wasting time on unnecessary tasks you should cut back and stay focused.
Home based business blogging survival tips – a recap
There is no way I can cover all those aspects that are needed to run a successful home based small business – but I have covered some of the most basics in this post; more importantly, I’ve talked about the aspects with the big picture in mind – I’ve not gone into the very details of it.
So here’s what I covered in this post in a nutshell! Following are the major issues and possible solutions to them summarized below:
Problem #1: People taking you for granted!Solutions:(i) Have a working place, working schedule and let your family know about it.(ii) Don’t hesitate to say NO
Problem #2: You become financially stressed
(ii) Do not over spend.
(iii) Set aside money for taxes.
(iv) Outsource wisely and efficiently.
(v) Let your family know about your income.
(vi) Let your family know about your business expenses.
Problem #3: The problem with staying focused
(i) Have a regular working schedule.
(ii) Allow enough breaks.
(iii) Be disciplined and have will power to follow your dreams.
Hope I helped you with this big picture. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.