Are you working your home business as if it were a Business or a Hobby?
As a work at home business owner, or a future work at home business owner this is a very important question. It is very important to your business that you treat this business as a BUSINESS. It is not a past time, not a lottery, and not a hobby. It is a business. If you project this image to not only yourself but to those around you, combined with daily forward moving action, then success will naturally follow.
Keep a work schedule
Get up every day at a regular time. Take a shower, brush your hair and teeth and get dressed for your day. Do not laugh; I am guilty of doing the opposite! I know all the stuff about working in your pajamas but truth be known you are going to feel more professional and productive if you get dressed in something that you are not embarrassed to be seen in by a colleague.
Your outfit could be nice jeans, a nice sweat suit outfit, something comfortable and free of baby spit up, holes, or lunch. You will feel more professional if your outfit is not the jammies that you slept in. In addition, you will be ready to go to luncheons, tradeshows, and other marketing events and opportunities at a moments notice.
Keep a schedule of when you will work at your desk, when you will do filing, when you will work on your website, when you will write articles, and all tasks that need to be done or delegated. If you only have 1 hour in the morning before you drop the kids off to school and go to a regular job then that is what you have, make it as productive an hour as possible.
Do not spend all day posting on message boards but do spend some time. This is a form of networking. However, look at it this way: if you were at a regular job networking by the coffee machine or the water cooler, you would not be able to “just talk” for six hours per day. Perhaps you could chat for 15 minutes, but not all day long. Limit your time and visit more than one message board. For example: You could visit a different one each day of the week. One rule I make for myself is that I have to get all the work done that I’ve listed on my “to do” list before I can go to a message board, then I get 15 minutes at a time to be there.
Go to Training
If the business you joined has training available, USE IT. You should immerse yourself in the information provided. If your business is something you created on your own, then find training out there. Go to anything half way related. You can never learn too much! If there is a professional license that you can obtain, get it. Anything that will add to your credentials is an excellent way to add to your credibility as a professional. Guess what, training related to your business can be tax deductible! Save your Receipts!
Read a lot of Books
Read as many books and magazines as you can on your business or aspects associated with your business. One cool benefit is that these books and magazines are tax deductible! Save your Receipts!!! I suggest one hour of reading per day if you can do it. If you are still working outside the home as well then take books to work with you and read on your breaks and at lunchtime. The more you read, the more you are going to learn things that you can apply to your business and promote your success.
Get Regular Exercise
If your work at home job requires you to sit at the computer for hours on end, please make sure that you get some daily exercise. The minimum exercise a person needs each day is 30 minutes a day. So get on the treadmill, go for a walk, and get out those old Richard Simon’s Tapes and Move Around!
Take your daily breaks. At an outside job you would take breaks, do it at home too. You do not want to burn out, nor do you want to burn out your family. Take Breaks. The rule of thumb is a 15-minute break every four hours of work. If you work a normal 8 hr day, you should also take 30 minutes for lunch plus two 15-minute breaks. I personally take short 10-minute breaks through out the day, at least three, where I walk fast around my neighborhood. I also take 1 hour for lunch and I try to get out of the house for lunch whether that is to the park, or to a luncheon of some sort.
Join Local Networking Groups
Join your local chamber of commerce. Usually they will have a special rate for those who work from home, check it out in your area! I joined mine for only 33 dollars a month! Go to every meeting that you can go to. You might be nervous at first trying to explain what you do, but be positive, be sure of yourself, and go out there and tell people about your business anyway and you will eventually gain more confidence in yourself. Practice makes perfect.
Check out your local paper for networking opportunities. Another avenue for networking is your local college or university. Many times, they will plan and have small business expos, luncheons, meetings or other ways to network and learn about new ideas and perhaps share your own! Join groups that have nothing to do with business as well. If you are into politics at all, join your local women’s groups such as The League of Women Voters. This is a bipartisan organization comprised of Women Voters. They have luncheons and other gatherings that can be very helpful to you. If you like flying model airplanes join your local model airplane association! Join as many groups as you can fit into your schedule and ATTEND the meetings. Join in, become the treasurer if you are trying to run a home accounting business, or the secretary if you are trying to start a Virtual Assistant business, you get the idea! Do not forget about the PTA or PTO, the Parent Band Association, and others if you have children in school. Become a part of your community and when asked what you “do” have an answer ready. Not one that says “nothing” but one that says, “I am a Professional!” Because you are!