Working from home is a dream come true for many entrepreneurs. It permits you to sell products or services you truly believe in, set your own hours, work by your own rules, and it may even allow you to spend more time with family and friends. But there are also many challenges involved in operating a business out of your home. Among these challenges are a multitude of distractions to contend with, and the difficulty of growing your business while maintaining its home-based status. The following are solutions that serve to help home-based entrepreneurs with some common challenges that they are likely to face:
1) Dealing with constant interruptions. Having more time for your family and friends may have been one of your primary goals in working from your home, but unless you set some boundaries, the distractions that they can cause will disrupt your workflow and may significantly decrease your productivity. Inform your friends and family about your work schedule and insist that they abide by it. Work from a quiet place in your home, ideally your office if you have one, but if not, find a peaceful place such as your bedroom in which to set-up a makeshift office and, if possible, keep the door closed. During work hours, do not answer personal calls and advise your family not to disturb you.
2) Managing and entertaining young children. If you have young children at home, working with them around can be an extraordinary challenge. Interruptions from very young children may be unavoidable if you don’t have someone there to care for them while you work. Weigh the cost of hiring a babysitter at least part-time versus the profits that can be obtained in the free time gained. If a sitter is not an option for you, and you have a baby, set-up a playpen with toys next to your work area. For pre-school children, puzzles, building blocks, play-dough and coloring books are great ways to keep them occupied. Be sure to change the activities or toys every time you work, and take play breaks or your children will quickly become bored.
3) The business is becoming too large for your home. If you are becoming too busy to handle all the work yourself, but you still want to maintain your business’ home-based status, you may want to consider hiring virtual contractors. By outsourcing some of your duties virtually, you get the help you need, while avoiding moving your business out of your home in order to hire employees. Today, you can outsource just about any task virtually. Some examples of this are:
– Bookkeepers and Accountants for financial matters
– Virtual Assistants for administrative functions
– Marketing Specialists for search engine optimization and general marketing
– Web Designers for website design or maintenance
Outsource the tasks you enjoy least, and this will give you the bonus of enjoying your work more in addition to saving you time.
4) How to handle necessary absences. Taking a sick day or 2 may not be too detrimental to your business’ health, but what if you need more time to recover from illness, or just plain need a vacation? If it’s possible in your industry, consider automating your business. Autoresponders can handle most email inquiries and you may be able to set up an automated ordering system. If automation is not an option for your company, you might consider outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant. Most VAs are business owners themselves and consequently know the ins-and-outs of running a business. A Virtual Assistant will be able to check and respond to emails, handle customer inquiries, process orders and more.
These are just a few solutions to some of the more prevalent difficulties that a home-based business owner might face. A little advanced planning for the management of distractions and other problems in your business will help you overcome even the greatest of challenges.