Home based business and motivation can be a challenging combination. Not only is there no boss telling you what to do, there are often irresistible temptations right outside your home office door. The refrigerator, the television, that book you have been wanting to read, not to mention family and friends who may be within reach, are all distractions when you work at home. Motivating yourself and avoiding distractions is essential when operating a successful home business.
Running a thriving home based business involves setting your own goals and carefully managing your time. It requires determination, task management, managerial and accounting expertise, and professionalism. Working at home presents its own unique challenges in these areas.
Managing Your Home Based Business and Motivation
Home business owners use a variety of methods to stay focused. Below are some of the top ways to keep motivated and avoid distractions:
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to work toward specific goals. Planning plays a vital role by giving you structure in which to operate each day. Creating project milestones and to-do lists is an ideal way to stay motivated. All aspects of a home business can benefit from a documented plan. Business projects, advertising and marketing goals, and any other business process is better achieved if you have a plan with defined tasks to complete. The feeling of accomplishment as you perform each duty will help you stay motivated.
Just as you have no boss telling you what to do, you also do not have a boss who can pat you on the back when you have reached your goals. Granting yourself rewards for a job well done gives you a way to congratulate yourself and enhance your inner motivation. Rewards can include something simple, like meeting a friend for lunch, or, for major accomplishments, a relaxing weekend away from home.
The Emphasis is on “Business”
You have probably seen ads for home based businesses that say you can make millions working at home in your pajamas. These opportunities are too good to be true, of course, but the picture of someone working at home in pajamas is memorable. While checking e-mail in your housecoat first thing early in the morning isn’t a showstopper, working in your PJ’s all day is simply a bad idea.
A home business is just that – a business. Juggling a home based business and motivation is difficult enough. Successful home business owners work hard to overcome the perception that those who work from home are somehow “less” professional than those who work in offices. Your home based business should be pursued with as much professionalism as if you worked in a formal office setting.
Below are some tips to promote a professional image and stay motivated:
- Observe regular business hours. Post the hours on your web site and other advertising materials.
- Follow a schedule. Give yourself enough time each morning to get up, shower, get dressed, and have breakfast. Be at your desk and ready for work at the same time everyday.
- Take breaks during the day. Most corporate offices give employees a morning and afternoon break, and a lunch period. Taking periodic breaks gives your brain a chance to rest. Solutions to tricky problems often become clearer after some time away. Periodic breaks also increase productivity.
- The beauty of working from home is that you have greater flexibility to manage both your business and family responsibilities. It’s important to take advantage of this flexibility but do so within structural guidelines. Avoid distractions by keeping your work and family life separate. This is perhaps the most difficult part of working from a home office. Family members and friends do not always understand your need to be left alone to work. It is very easy to allow disruptions and distractions to interfere with your business activities. Establish rules and communicate your needs to family and friends.
Get Out of the Office
Working alone is one of the most attractive aspects of running a home based business. It is also one of the loneliest. Networking with other professionals and getting out of the office to socialize can do much to relieve the isolation of working by yourself on a daily basis. Here are a few tips to help you get out of the office and stay motivated…
- Schedule regular lunch meetings with clients or other professional colleagues and friends.
- Set aside time each week to visit the library or other professional reference resource to research aspects of your business.
- Become a volunteer within your community.
- Sign up to teach a class at a local junior college or adult education center.
Exercising, eating right, and stimulating the mind are always important, but even more so for those who work at home. The isolation, readily available food, and sedentary nature of working at home make it necessary to find time to exercise. Try to avoid salty or sweet snacks. Have fruit readily available. Don’t forget to relax by learning something new or doing something just for fun. Also, schedule time in the day to get out of the house and exercise. This could be a jog, a long walk or participating in a group exercise class.
Cultivate Positive Relationships
Staying positive while running a home business can mean the difference between success and failure. If you are surrounded by others who are constantly negative, your attitude will suffer. Seek those out who are positive and enthusiastic themselves. While distancing yourself from negative relationships may seem selfish at first, you’ll quickly realize the benefits of positive attitudes and energy as you form relationships with people who want to help.