A home-based office can be the equivalent of a jungle setup if you have kids or a full house. You need to curtail the noise and ensure that your space becomes an organised office, and not just a place to work but also a place of inspiration. Growing a business has various challenges, especially a home-based business, and you should prepare yourself for each one of them.
There are of course many advantages to running your business from home – cheap rent, walking the dog more often, and better coffee to name just a few – but being truly successful as a home-based entrepreneur takes some discipline. Here are a few things to think about:
It’s Still an Office
You might be working in your spare room, car, or under a tree – but it’s still an office. Where you are based shouldn’t matter. You need to accept that this is your professional setup and treat it as such. Always.
Many people tend to go wrong when working from a home-based office – the blurring of the lines between home and work can cause you to fail to act as a professional at all times. Your clients will treat you exactly as you present to them – if you showcase a professional demeanour, that is what they will follow. This will be hard when you are opening the door for a client with a clinging toddler on your leg!
Successful businesses start with a good business plan that encompasses every part of the business, and ensures everything is validated. One core aspect of your business plan that is often overlooked by entrepreneurs is the value proposition – a clear mapping and articulation of how you are going to solve a problem for your intended customers, and what value you will bring to their lives. So this is the place to start – and don’t start or consider growing a business until you’ve got this completely clear.
Start Small and Stay Agile
It’s tempting to try and scale your business as quickly as possible – but starting a business is all about learning as you go along, and spending too much money too soon – especially on advertising or marketing campaigns, where it’s really easy to spend a lot of money and not really be clear what you’re getting for it. So the rule is always to start small; try things out; and stop and reinvent really quickly if things aren’t working. Growing a business requires time and patience, plus the willingness to be agile and change direction. The temptation is to “just keep going in the same direction” if things aren’t working out, but the key to success is finding out WHY things aren’t working out and then doing something to rectify that.
Always Be Prepared
When the kids are infants, they make a mess of your work. They cover your papers with spit and snot and smear them with baby food. As they get a little older, they are no better. Your documents are now covered with scribbles and crayon marks, and you can’t pin down the culprit.
Breathe! It’s all part of the growing process, because if you let it get to you, you might start getting discouraged. Anticipate such scenes and be prepared for how you will tackle them.