Running a business from home is ideal for many small-business owners. Whether it’s the freedom, management of your own time, or the flexibility to care for the family, there are many benefits to working from home. However, there are also unique challenges that arise when working from home.
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In your home space, there are so many distractions that threaten to knock your workday off track at any moment. Kids, pets, service professionals, chores, personal phone calls, web surfing, and “quick” favors for your spouse can all intrude on your workday in a very different way than they could at a job outside of the home. Avoid as many distractions as you can by creating a workspace for yourself. Limit the access your pets or family members have to you when you’re in your workspace, leave your personal cell phone out of the room, and ignore the doorbell. Use music or white noise to mask other noises that may serve as a distraction.
When working from home, you are often the only one who knows how you’re spending your time. On any particular day, you may not feel like tackling your to-do list, and you may be inclined to allow yourself to take it easy that day. While this isn’t a bad thing on occasion, it can be detrimental to the long-term success of your business. Reward yourself! Instead of plowing through one task after another, find ways to reward yourself as you’re accomplishing various tasks. Take yourself to a favorite spot for lunch, or step away from your desk for a snack or to check your personal cell phone. It’s easier to talk yourself into staying on task for smaller increments of time with short-term rewards.
Managing the Budget
Caring for finances is a task that may get shuffled to a lower priority. Working from home may make it easier to mentally minimize the costs associated with running a small business, though, in reality, it isn’t any less important. Set aside time while making quarterly tax payments to review your business’s budget. Update your budget as needed to keep a practical plan in place, and address any taxes owed. You may decide that professional assistance is likely to bring about the best possible outcome, and the cost of retaining an accountant may need to be worked into your budget.
Achieving Work-Life Balance
When you have a physical office outside of the home, you have a more clear-cut beginning and end to your workday. In addition to creating a workspace for yourself, create a work schedule for yourself, too. When designing your schedule, take into consideration how you work best to set yourself up for success. Give yourself breaks, time for meals, and, most importantly, plan an end to the workday. It’s easy to blend work and family time when both happen in the same place. Plan your day so that both work and family can have your full attention for part of the day.
Set yourself up for success by planning for the challenges unique to working from home. A little planning goes a long way!