If you’re thinking of starting your own home business, these simple steps will help you to make it a success
In association with Shopify
If you were to ask anyone if they’d like to work from home, most people would say “Absolutely!”
In theory, it sounds like a wonderful idea – being able to work in pyjamas, sleep in late if you like, and most importantly, work on your own schedule. It all seems like a worker’s dream come true, right?
Well, it actually is until you’re on a call with a client and your dog is not happy that the window cleaners are in his garden!
But what about starting a business from home? Have you ever thought about taking that step?
It can be a daunting prospect, and I’m not going to try and cover everything you need to do in one single post. But here are a few tips that can help to make the transition into business owner a little smoother.
Create a Dedicated Office or Office Space
One of the best ways to achieve success as an entrepreneur at home is to create a dedicated workspace.
If you’re lucky, you might have a spare room that you can set up as your home office. I work from our home’s smallest bedroom, and it’s lovely to have a space where I can really focus on work. It’s also lovely to be able to shut the door at the end of the working day!
But if you don’t have a room that you can turn into a home office, you still might be able to dedicate a corner of your living room or dining room for this purpose. With a desk and some storage, it’ll help you to separate work and home.
Some people can only find a space to dedicate to work while others actually build a home office. A home office is ideal because it allows you to block out distractions while you’re working. It also allows you to literally shut the door on your work at the end of the day.
It’s worth spending on a good quality desk and chair to avoid pain in your shoulders and back. And it can also help to bring the outdoors inside. Filling the space with natural light and indoor plants can really help to boost creativity and give a more peaceful work environment overall.
Get Your Website Up and Running
These days, a business website is the bread and butter to your business, so you have to make sure you get this right. But don’t worry if you don’t regard yourself as being particularly gifted technically.
The key to success here is to find an easy to use website builder, like the WYSIWYG builder available through shopify.com. It’s suitable for all expertise levels, and will help make your site look professional whether you know what you’re doing or not!
The simple directions will make the set up of your website easy. And the sooner you can get it up and running, the sooner you can start accepting orders, signing up clients and earning income.
Discover Your Most Productive Periods
Part of the beauty of working for yourself is that you don’t have to be stuck in the 9 to 5 mentality. You’re the boss now, so you can choose your own working hours.
You know how there are “morning people” and “night owls?” Well, if you can figure out which one you are, you can capitalise on that.
Yes, you may still have to take calls and hold virtual meetings during the standard working day, if that is when your clients are available. But, maybe the reality is that you’re most productive at 8 o’clock at night.
Those aren’t typical office hours but if that is when your mental capacity is at its peak, your level of productivity can surpass what you ever imagined.
So find the hours that will benefit you the most, and make those your core working hours.
Don’t forget to take Breaks
Following on from that, don’t let yourself get too engrossed with your work.
Many entrepreneurs tend to skip breaks simply because there aren’t any co-workers. So there’s no-one around to go for a coffee break with or head out for lunch. But don’t let this be a reason to not take a break, because this can be detrimental for your health.
So make sure that you take regular breaks, and get up from your desk at least once an hour.
The key to success with breaks in your home office is not just to distract yourself with a little TV or social media but to get away from screens altogether. That means to get away from your computer and not to replace it with the TV or your phone.
Instead, consider going for a short walk around your neighbourhood, doing a little exercise or popping out into your garden. Make sure you take a proper lunch break, and maybe even head out somewhere for lunch. All of these are far more mentally beneficial than various forms of screen time.
When you’re running a business from home, it can easily take up all of your time. And if you’re working on your own from your spare room, you can easily start to feel lonely and isolated.
So it’s important to find people that you can connect with during your working day. Luckyly, there are lots of groups on Facebook and LinkedIn which you can use to find people to chat with. Or you may have friends who also run their own business, and who understand what it’s like to run a business from home.
I have a friend who I check in with every morning, and we share our to-do lists for the day. These quick chats help me to stay focused on my priorities, and also stop me from missing those watercooler moments at work.
Being able to talk over any issues that you have will help to make them seem less daunting. And it’s always good to have someone to bounce new ideas off!