Working from home
Working from home requires a set of essential skills that are not always as common or obvious in a traditional office job. Working from home in your own business, what ever it might be, can be very challenging despite the glossy image of lounging on the couch sipping coffee and pressing the odd key on their computer between dips in the pool and playing with the kids as the money roles in.
Home based businesses really only succeed if you are willing to put the time in and make things happen (unless you are one of the lucky ones who have bought into a ‘make me a millionaire overnight while doing nothing’… type scams 😀 )
Maintaining motivation in a home business scenario is one of the key skills that you need. In the traditional office you have imposed deadlines, you have staff motivating you or a boss perhaps telling you what to do and guidelines to work within, and mostly set hours.
If you have not done it before, working at home, by yourself, requires focus and discipline to maintain motivation. Its easy to slip into the attitude of “oh, i can finish that tomorrow… ill just go and have coffee and a lie down now”. No, seriously that can happen!
But also there is nothing wrong with doing that so long as it is planned in you activity for the day. Planning your day and setting goals (daily, weekly, monthly etc ) are really important because this will help you to accomplish tasks.
Plan your day
Your plan for the day should be broken up into tasks and might include – working on website for 2 hours, fishing for keywords 30 minutes, lunch 30 minutes, writing up some copy for your blog posts 2 hours, help the kids with homework and some play time 2 hours.
The key is to plan in your rest time and ‘me’ time. It will help you avoid the guilt trap. This is what can happen when you work from home .. you put in a tonne of hours working and then fall asleep in the chair for an hour or two each day, wake up and then feel guilty and beat yourself up about not getting anything done.
There is nothing less motivating than the guilt of not achieving. About this time you are thinking “ i cant do this work from home thing, its to hard to motivate myself and I dont get anything done… might as well give up and get a day job.”
Its all avoidable. Plan your day, set goals. Revise the goals if you miss them and reward yourself when you achieve them.
Now you might only want to work 2 or 3 days a week. That is also great (hey, its your business !) Just set tasks and goals for each day that you are working.
As with conventional businesses you should start off by doing a business plan as well. This doesn’t have to be a 10 page document, it just needs to be a guide for you – something that makes sense to you – about what you want to achieve in your business and when.
And once you have done a business plan don’t file it somewhere – the worst thing you can do is never look at it again. You should refer to it all the time and change it if your ideas for your business change. It should be a work in progress document. Just try to maintain the core ideas of what you want to achieve and when.
When you set goals make then tangible. Be ambitious but set goals that you can reach or least get pretty close to. Set some timelines about when you want to achieve things and how much money do you really want. Remember that there is nothing more motivating that success. Even small successes can be big motivators.
Set some goals
Personally, I have always been a big one for setting goals. I have set goals for myself ever since I left school. I dont think there is one goal that I set that i have not achieved … sometimes it hasn’t been exactly it but it has been close enough to call it. Around 5 years ago I found myself floundering … nothing was exiting and I felt bored and stale. I realised that I had no goals … I had run out of goals. I had forgotten to set some new ones for me to work to. So don’t forget to update your goals and plans and add new ones.
I remember about 20 years ago I had a goal to own a yacht. I used to walk down to the marina near where I lived. There was a 35ft sailing boat there that was a bit run down but I loved her. I knew the guy who owed her and I knew he never sailed her anymore. I made it a goal that I would own this boat within a year. The owner kept saying the didn’t want to sell her plus I had to raise the money to buy her as well. 12 months later I was in Singapore (on a sailing trip) and I bumped into this guy in the Tiger Bar at the famous Raffles Hotel. Wow, that was a coincidence. But over a Singapore Sling (cocktail) he agreed to sell to me at the exactly the amount that I had managed to raise.
Another essential skill is prioritising your work. This goes in hand with planning your day but also a little bit deeper. You will need to learn what are the best things to get done and when.
Try not to get yourself bogged down with things if they are starting to take up too much time. For example if you are stuck on a web site design that is not falling into place but you also know that you want to write some blog articles for another site.
Prioritise the things that you can do now and go back to the earlier work with a fresh mind after you have achieved some other jobs.
In summary, keeping yourself motivated will help to keep things happening in your business. Setting you yourself tasks and goals will keep you seeing both the small and big picture and will give you a sense of accomplishment when you achieve stuff on your list. You will help motivate yourself if you you keep things real and achievable so you can see progress Prioritise your work and don’t forget to program in some time out.
Above all enjoy it , working from home can be a very rewarding experience.
About the author – I have around 25 years management experience in a variety of industries, from supermarket management to sales and business development in the IT and agricultural industries. i spent a 4 year period working from home on my farm in Northern NSW Australia where I was growing garlic, herbs and breeding alpaca. I also produced a couple of web sites for my farm and wrote a number of gardening and small farm ebooks and articles. I currently live and work part time in the pacific islands managing a cocoa exporting company. The other half of the time is spent building my online affiliate marketing and MLM businesses. My current goal is to increase my work at home income to fully replace my salary so I can then spend more time mucking around on my farm.