Home-Based Business Success – Plan Ahead


We all know how much we love our businesses and what a joy it is to be able to finally say, I own my own business and then to actually start making money doing it.  It’s the best!  However, sometimes it’s just hard to do.  We’ve all been there — The biggest project of your business finally comes your way, and that’s when the entire family comes down with the flu, including you.  You land your dream client, one that you’ve been after for months, if not years, and then your inlaws call and say they are making a surprise visit, they will be there tomorrow.  Or how many times has this happened- you finish a project with the client eagerly waiting and in trying to send them the file, your internet decides to go down.So what’s a successful entrepreneur to do?  I think one of the most important things to do is just realize, sometimes it’s going to be hard.  And that’s okay.  Often I believe we feel that because we finally own our own business, and we work so hard for it, that we must be positive and happy ALL the time.   We don’t.  Hopefully the majority of the time you will be, however, when things come up, it’s AOK to say, wow, this is tough and find support.  Have an online or offline buddy that you can go to and talk.  Someone who will say, hey it’s going to be better; someone who knows you and knows just the right thing to say to make it better.It’s also important to plan ahead.  No, you can’t tell when the kids will get sick.  However, you can plan and have a back-up subcontractor so you can go straight to plan B.  The time to plan for this is before it happens, way before you need it.  Here are a few tips I hope you find beneficial:1)    Find someone now who can help you with your business.  Send them work now so they become familiar with your needs.  Let them know that you will be using them on a sporadic basis.  You’ll probably find that once you see how much help they provide you use them a lot more than you thought, but at least you know you have the support you need.2)    Computers – Hands up – who backed up their system last week?  Ouch!!  Think about this, how would you feel if you went to turn on the computer and it was blank, dead, gone.  That can and will happen.  You need to back-up regularly and you need to check those back-ups.  One thing I recently discovered is I backed up regularly to another computer.  However, I didn’t know how to retrieve the documents I backed up.  3)    Internet down – Do you have a friend in the neighborhood who also has a computer that you can use.  How about the local library.  Most of the time you can wait it out, however, for many of us if we do legal or medical transcription, it’s crucial to be able to get it there.  I once had an attorney preparing for the trial of the century (at least he thought so).  The case rested on me (at least that’s what he told me), and right when it was time to send him all the pleadings, our phone went dead.  (For all of you wondering, we did pay the bill, it was a technical problem).  I immediately rushed over to my neighbors and was able to send the documents.  My client was none the wiser.  4)    Sick Kids – – MOMS, tell the truth, it’s hard.  They are bored.  You are busy.  Here too you need to plan ahead.  Stock up on crafts at the Dollar Store.  Get Paint by Number Books and things that will take time, and be fun.  We have some fun ones at our site at www.virtualwordpublishing.com.  Also, allow your children to get creative.  Get 3 ring notebooks and allow them to write their own book adventures or design their own magazines.  Scissors, a few old magazines, paste and a little imagination will go a long ways.5)    In laws – It’s gonna happen.  If you want to get busy in your business, have company come in town.  Guaranteed, that’s the time that you will be your busiest.  I’ve been in business for 23 years now, and it seems that every time company comes into town, I get hit with a major rush.  And it doesn’t get easier with the more years in business.  But one thing I do is plan ahead.  Because I live in Florida and get lots of company, I can’t take time off every time.  However, what I can do is rotate and take time off with different clients.  That way I’m not working for all my clients during that time.  Also, if you don’t have a separate office, do something, anything to get a computer in a room so you can close the doors and work.  When they see you there, to many it feels you are available.  When you work a 9-5, no one considers you home until 5:30.  However, when you happen to be in the same house, it’s often easy for them to think you can socialize.  These tips should help you survive and thrive in your business even when times are tough. 

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Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker are the co-authors of numerous books including Virtual Assistant: the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Virtual Assistant the Series Workbook, and Virtual Assistant – The Series: Working Virtually, A Guide to Working Remotely as an Employee.  For complete information on starting your own VA business, stop by  http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com.  Article is free to be reprinted as long as the author’s bio remains intact.