This is a guest article from Dawn Lambros who has her own blog called DawnLambros.com. Dawn is also the author of the ebook 50 Great Money Making Ideas for Any Economy which you can find out more about via her blog post on Money Making Ideas
Here is Dawn’s article with her tips for running a successful home based business:
Running your business from home can be a rewarding experience. Not having to commute to an office location can be great! However, running a business from your home can have its pitfalls if not properly managed. These important tips can help you manage your business successfully and efficiently:
1. Planning Your Day/Schedule: As you plan your day, set the goals that you want to accomplish. Although you may not get through your entire to-do list, try to set and meet reasonable goals each day.
2. Prioritizing: By scheduling your tasks in order of importance, you can devote more attention to your most pressing tasks. You can prioritize your day so that you do not spend five hours answering email, while the rest of your duties slide.
3. Separate Business from Personal Living: The best advice anyone can give you is to keep your personal life separate from your business life. This includes things like phones, email, workspace, etc. Trying to conduct business while the kids are fighting or the television is blasting isn’t going to work! It’s really important to create a designated office area and make sure to keep friends and family separated during the workday. Also, make sure to keep business and personal paperwork separate. The worst thing you can do is start rummaging through your business bills late at night from the kitchen table. Set good habits for yourself and stick to it. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Handling Interruptions &Distractions: If the television or radio lures you away from your work duties, turn it off! If you cannot avoid these distractions, try moving your office to another location in your home. If you are serious about running a successful business from home, this is the most important tip of all. Keep your work surroundings as distraction-free as possible. In time, and with a little discipline, it will become second nature to separate your work from your personal living environment.
5.Handling Family: While this may be a touchy issue for some, your family will need to realize that you are “at work” during certain set business hours. Make sure to sit down with your family and explain that you need this set amount of time each day to run your business successfully.
6. Burning the Midnight Oil: On occasion, you may need to work overtime. The goal, of course, is to set specific hours and stick to that schedule. However, if you do have to invest extra time it is usually worth the effort. But do your utmost to make this the exception than the rule.
7. Automation: Multi-tasking can be much easier when you can streamline your automation processes! For example, when you have large documents to print out, you can be working on other things simultaneously. If you are on the phone and placed on hold, you can be folding brochures, stuffing envelopes, or other tedious tasks that need to get done. Multi-tasking and automation can save a lotof time out of your workweek.
8.Self Discipline w/o Self Abuse! When working from home: finding the perfect balance between business and pleasure takes practice. Be strict with yourself and strive for excellence in your work, however, don’t push yourself too hard to where your whole life becomes obsessed. It is very easy to fall into this trap when working from home! The best advice is to treat your business professionally, just like you would at a regular 8-to-5 office. That means setting your alarm and waking up a decent hour, getting showered or cleaned up, have breakfast or some morning snack, and getting to work on time. Go into your office space and escape the household interruptions. Consistency and getting into good, positive habits will become learned behavior and will enhance your success level exponentially.
9.Planning Down-time & Watching Your Health: Many owners become “type-A” personalities, and can forget they need to come up for air! You may be working harder than you ever have. So make sure to allocate a little “fun” time for yourself when you can. This will allow you to return to your work with a fresh outlook. Sometimes, just getting up and taking a walk can be helpful. If you have a gym membership or workout equipment in your home, take a few minutes to exercise. This can work wonders for your frame of mind! Most importantly, try to stick to a healthy diet, which will keep your brain sharp and your waistline trim! Take a few minutes out of each day to get off-line, get off the phones, and decompress. Make sure to take breaks and pace yourself.
10. Get Help! If you find that you have too much work for one person and your productivity levels are slipping, ask friends or family for temporary help until you actually hire an employee, or until you can regain control of your schedule.
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