Most first-time entrepreneurs will have to work from home. Office space is expensive, and if you don’t need it you shouldn’t buy it. The problem is that they have to motivate themselves. Being your own boss is fantastic, but it comes with a caveat – success or failure depends entirely on how you function without someone telling you what to do or when to do it.
Successfully working from home will require you to change the way you live.
1. Remember That You’re Still Working
The good news is that you don’t have to commute to work. The bad news is that the moment you wake up, you’re at work. That means that if it’s a work day, you have to start the day accordingly. Shower, dress up, have breakfast, and then prepare to work. Start the day like a professional and you’ll spend the day like a professional.
2. Create a Workspace
Set up an office where you can work. Ideally, it should be free of distractions, private, and have all your business needs available. You should also make it as comfortable as possible, as you’re going to spend a lot of time in it.
Since it is office space, you’ll want to make sure that other people in the house don’t have ready access to it. Make sure that people understand that you have a work schedule to keep and that you are only available when you’re on break or when the day is done.
3. Start Your Day Early
Start it early, but don’t get to work right away. Plan out what you need to get done, and relax on the Internet. Making a plan gives you something to stick to, which is very important when you’re only accountable to yourself, and checking your social networks gets rid of that distraction so you can focus on work.
4. Consider Your Personality When Planning Your Work Schedule
Some people are night owls and work best into the wee hours. Other people perform better when they start the day sitting at their desk with a cup of coffee. Save your most difficult tasks for when you’re in the groove, so that you have the energy and mental capacity to handle them properly.
5. Stick to the Schedule
The most difficult part of working from home is that working becomes a choice. When you’re at an office, someone is watching you. You are accountable to your boss and to your team. Alone, at home, you’re only accountable to yourself and you may find yourself a very forgiving boss.
This is what your schedule is for. If it says you should be working, work. When it’s time to take a break, take one and resist the urge to extend it. Depending on your industry, you may have to follow their hours, especially if your target market is across the ocean and in a different time zone.
6. Stay in Touch
It can get lonely, sitting in your home office, but not only does it not have to be that way, but it shouldn’t. Turn on your messaging service and keep in touch with your staff. Check in on them, both to find out if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and to see if there are any issues on their mind. You don’t have to start with business – a little small talk can go a long way towards building camaraderie. And if you were looking for an excuse to dress nice even though you’re staying at home, video calls serve as a pretty good one.
7. End the Day
Some people have trouble starting the work day, but just as many people have trouble leaving it behind. When your schedule says you’re done, you’re done, barring an immediate issue or a deadline. Step out of the office and close the door. Leave your office behind until the schedule says you’re back on the clock. It can be tempting to put in overtime, but it’ll come at a cost – possibly your health, possibly your sanity, and definitely time you could have spent resting and re-energizing for the next day.
Working from home has a level of freedom that cannot be found anywhere else. There’s no commute, no office politics, and a schedule that you choose. However, this comes with the caveat of requiring discipline and a structured environment to help you manage yourself and your time. Create and follow that structure and you’ll find success.