You answered the call of “Be Your Own Boss.” You’re now officially in charge of You and you have to manage You, and some days that’s a lot easier than others. If you work from home and you’re married with children and pets, you no longer have co-workers, but you have a new set of people (and animals) that will be trampling in and out of your office and who will want your time and attention between phone calls.
Some of the perks of working from home can be some of the biggest challenges and cause the collapse of the American Dream of working from home. Here are 10 tips that will make the transition from corporate office with boss to home office ‘you the boss’ – a lot easier and ensure your success.
1. Designate an office area. If you are lucky enough to have a spare room, excellent. If not, find a corner of a quiet room where you can assure yourself sanctity throughout your posted office hours, and during after-hours in the event that you need to make after-hours phone calls. Make this space your own and set it up professionally. Make it distinguishable from the rest of the house so that family and friends clearly see that its a professional office area. You’re not working on a hobby, you’re building a business.
2. Post office hours. Create office hours and post them on your office door if you have one, or put them in a prominent area in your office space so that anyone can see your office hours. Having office hours posted helps to dramatically cut down the number of interruptions during your production time. It will also let others in the home know that just because you are at home, doesn’t mean you are readily available to speak with. You are a working professional who just happens to work hard from home, instead of driving to an office. Include the name of our company on your posted office hours. This will continue to make your business real to other members of your family and any friends that come by.
3. Keep your work hours and dress professional for business each day. Remember, you are working from home now, its not a vacation and everyday is not Saturday. If you start to get sloppy and lazy your production WILL suffer and then you’ll end up not bringing in income and before you know it – you’ll be back in an office working for someone else. Once you’re making lots of money, you can relax your routine and discipline but for right now – you need to make lots of money and its all up to you! Keep your office hours and if you do have to pick up the kids from school and leave your office early to do so – then make sure you get into your office earlier to make up the time. Follow the same protocol of an office.
4. Make sure you spend your time on production actions. Production actions are those activities that will result in income. A business owner needs to be thinking constantly “will this action produce income?” Of course all actions can be rationalized as producing income, but you really have to ask yourself – how important is each action to generating income? What activities are going to result in the most income and the quickest income? Do these things first.
5. Resist the urge to check e-mail first thing in the morning. E-mail is a great communication tool and an even greater “waster of time!” If its truly urgent you’ll get a phone call! Don’t feel like you’re missing out by not checking e-mail first thing in the morning. The first thing you should do in the morning is make phone calls, send out promo – do production based activities that will generate income. Outflow is actually your greatest and most important activity – even more important than collecting the money. Without outflow, there will be no inflow of income.
6. Resist the urge to do non-production activities during production hours. If you were at an office you wouldn’t be fixing a leaky sink or playing with the dog at 11 am. Also, don’t waste time filing papers and going to the office supply store during your peak production time. Organizing files, fixing computers, printers and phones, these are non-production activities that should be done before or after hours or on weekends.
7. Help your friends and family understand that you work from home, but that doesn’t mean you are available anytime throughout the day. You are a professional who just happens to work from home. Keep schedules coordinated with kids and spouses just like you would do if you worked in an office. Don’t accept personal phone calls or invites to activities that you wouldn’t otherwise accept if you worked in an office with a boss around the corner.
8. Resist the urge to watch soaps and talk shows. It just might be tempting. After all, “freedom” was one of the highlights on the “Work From Home” brochure. Too many hours of TV will land you right back in an office with a boss! Stay focused on your goals and the activities that you need to do that day in order to reach them.
9. Manage yourself with deadlines and goals. This can be tough when you don’t have anyone to be accountable to except for “you”. You might not be as hard on yourself as someone else might. If you need a mentor – find a good one who won’t be lenient. Set daily quotas and weekly targets and meet them. If you didn’t meet goals and targets at your previous job- you’d get fired. You’re not going to fire yourself, but keep in mind the reason you chose to work from home is so that you can enjoy life’s freedoms, but you have to reach the goals of freedom first. If you are part of a networking marketing company, find out what you have to do to qualify for that free vacation or that bonus car or the President’s Club. Make these your goals and then work backwards to see what you have to do on a daily basis to reach them.
10. Keep your goals and dreams in front of you at all times. When working in an office, there’s camaraderie. Working from home can be lonely. Keep a goal board posted of your motivations and inspirations to get you through those tough times. Some days will be harder than others, but if you stay focused on why you’re doing what you’re doing – the pot of gold at the end or the rainbow will have your bank account on it!