Running a business from home might seem idyllic to some, but it presents numerous challenges in both your personal and professional lives. Learning to master this setup will prove to be enormously important over the long haul.
Working From Home: More Than a Trend
Working from home used to be a trend, but that’s no longer the case. An astonishing 43 percent of all employed Americans say they spend at least some time working remotely. An impressive 31 percent of people spend at least four days per week working remotely – with home being the most common work environment.
At the same time, home-based businesses are becoming increasingly popular. There are approximately 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S. – generating a total of $427 billion per year. In fact, 20 percent of home-based businesses make $100k-$500k per year.
4 Tips for Being Successful
Despite how common home-based businesses are, some entrepreneurs find it challenging to successfully manage and scale these businesses over time. It typically comes down to a few key issues. In order to help you increase your odds of success, let’s lay out a few suggestions:
- Establish a Schedule
From a practical perspective, it’s important that you treat your business with the same focus and discipline (regardless of the environment or location). Create a schedule – like you would have in a normal office – and stick with it. If you work best from 6am-3pm, make this your window. If you’re better working 3pm-midnight, go for it. Just make sure there’s thoughtful planning and purpose.
- Maximize Space in the Home
When you run a home-based business, space suddenly becomes a bigger issue than before. Not only are you trying to live and manage a family out of your home, but you’re also trying to run a successful business. In order to do this well, you need to make each room in the home simple and functional.
The kitchen is often the epicenter of the home, so this is the natural place to start. Install space-saving appliances, do away with clutter, and maximize storage to give yourself plenty of room to breathe.
The same goes for main living areas and, of course, the home office. Decluttering and maximizing space will make running a business out of your house a much more manageable proposition.
- Maintain a Professional Image
While you’re serious about running your business, customers and business partners may not be as crazy about the idea of a home-based business. To them, it sounds a little amateurish. You can overcome some of this stigma by establishing a professional front. This may look like getting a dedicated phone number and setting up a P.O. box for your business mailing address.
“If you’d like to take a step further, you can use a service like Mail Boxes Etc. or UPS Store that will provide you with a street address rather than a P.O.,” entrepreneur John Hebron writes. “That means you can get package from all the major carrier, not just USPS. And many locations now offer 24-hour access, which is great for moonlighters.”
- Work On Your Business
There’s a significant difference between working in your business and working on your business. Both are important, but you can’t afford to neglect the latter.
“A home-based business typically translates into being a small operation of one: you! In that situation, it’s easy to focus only on product or service delivery,” AllBusiness.com acknowledges. “However, it’s essential to make time to work on our business, and that means focusing on the finances, the marketing plans, the vision and strategy, the systems and processes that provide the infrastructure for our businesses to be not just successful, but thriving and sustainable.”
You Need a Plan
Running a business out of your home is, in many respects, just like running a business out of a commercial office space. You just have to be strategic with how, when, and where you do your work to maximize your productivity and minimize the friction that exists between your personal and professional lives. Develop a plan and adapt accordingly.