It’s a new year and a new you. If, like many other Americans, you’ve decided to go it alone in 2018, congratulations. Leaving full-time employment can be a daunting step. But in our experience, business is all about taking leaps of faith, and small-business owners or sole proprietors rarely look back on the decision with regret. So, without further ado, here are some tips to making a success of your new venture from the comfort of your own home.
Keep a routine
Within a couple of weeks, the honeymoon period is over and you’re faced with the realization that you’re going to need to get some work done. Sitting around in bed in your pajamas isn’t cutting it. Nor should it. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should afford yourself all the comforts of home. Instead, treat your surroundings like a fledgling office. That is: get dressed, sit down at a desk and gather everything together in neat and orderly fashion.
Join a specialty network
A good way to source business early on is to join a network dedicated to your craft. To have your name, contact details and business listed on the site often incurs a small fee. But take the initial plunge and the results are worth it. Even if you don’t get prospective clients emailing you out of the blue, you will get access to a community of likeminded workers who may be willing to lend you a helping hand. Seriously, you’ll be surprised how generous competitors can be.
Turn off the TV
This should go without saying, but having the TV parked in the corner of the room droning away incessantly isn’t helping anyone. Even if you’re convinced it provides helpful background noise, silence the beige box and download a podcast instead. TV watching is synonymous with home-life. Unfortunately, a constant reminder that you’re at home isn’t going to sharpen your productivity toolset.
Work the hours you need to, not the hours you think you’re supposed to
The one advantage of the home office is you don’t have a boss watching the clock on your behalf. So immediately, cull the number one office plague: the 9-5. The 9-5 is outdated and owes a debt to the Industrial Revolution. There’s absolutely no evidence it’s optimal. Thus, if you’re more comfortable working evenings, or indulging flexi-time so be it. Just ensure that you keep a professional routine going.
Take a break
It’s often said you shouldn’t bring work home. So what happens when work and home are one and the same? Yup, the home office can take its toll on even the most mentally resilient, principally because it becomes so monotonous. To guard against this, schedule regular breaks; find time for the gym, for a walk, for a trip to the mall.
Hire a desk for meetings
Unfortunately, appearances are everything. Soon enough the time will come when you need to host clients at your office. The bedroom isn’t going to do, so shop around for offices you can rent by the hour. These will often be in hotdesking buildings or co-working spaces where small businesses and entrepreneurs rent single desks or entire rooms. You’ll be able to score something opulent at a bargain price. When the clients remark on the impressive milieu, you don’t have to pretend you own the building, but you can truthfully say you’re a client.