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How To Operate A Successful Home-Based Business

Many people make the mistake of thinking that a home-based business would be perk-filled to the brim with glamour and glory, simply over the fact that you’ve got no snotty bosses, no annoying coworkers, no cubicles, no memos, no constant useless conferences and no meaningless birthday parties with mounds of cake to eat.

You could, of course, like all that kind of stereotypical stuff, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with working in an actual company on a W-2 basis. In fact, it definitely makes things quite convenient for you. However, that home-based business does provide a sense of freedom and autonomy unlike anything else in Corporate America.

You do, however, have to keep in mind these important tips on how to operate a successful home-based business, starting with….

A Really Good Personality Check

You have to face reality — that home-based business may not be for you. Why? You can’t separate the “home” from the “business,” basically. Interview countless professionals, and they might tell you the same thing. Sometimes in order for them to be productive or active in their work, they absolutely have to get out of the house.

Some, still, have no problem with operating their business(s) right out of their basement. That’s okay, too. The point, though, with this is to analyze yourself. What kind of personality do you have? Do you need a specific outside scenery of some kind to stay motivated? Are you a procrastinator? Maybe the commute energizes you. If these answers are all an affirmative for you, you might not want to continue reading this article (and find one about working at a regular company).

Patience Is a Virtue

Ask any CEO of a major company, and they’ll tell you the same thing — “business never happens overnight.” It is a constant process, one with development, marketing, advertising, and a lot of sweat and tears. As an entrepreneur, working straight out of your home, don’t expect to get any sales until a month, possibly two months, later.

If you can spend the time really marketing yourself for months and months to get that following, that awareness, that customer base, go for it. Be persistent. Otherwise, find a job with an established company, one with the sales already rolling in.

Stick to Your Plan

This is a big deal, really. You’re going into business for yourself. You never know: you might stay a sole proprietor for decades. This often is the case for lawyers and contractors, too. Prepare everything. That means formulating a plan, designing how you want this business to work. Set your goals. Standardize your methods. Don’t deviate from them either.

Definitely Be Honest

This is strictly an integrity issue, as you want to be truthful with your clients. In the end, you don’t want bad reviews simply based on dishonesty. If you work from home, state it. If you have an outside office, state it. I’d go as far to say “be proud of it.”

Family Is Separate

Don’t confuse that with the fact that your entire customer base shouldn’t even know you have a family. By all means — communicate that to your customers. It humanizes you. However, when you’re operating your business, don’t when it’s family time.

This is a key challenge for many home-based entrepreneurs. They have to balance the home life with the corporate life in such a way that there’s no overlap. In other words, you can’t be on the phone with a client if you’re changing your daughter’s diapers. That’s a major no-no.

Maintain a Checklist

It’s no joke: you’re literally on your own. You don’t have an accountant, you don’t have a trainer, you don’t have a manager, you don’t have an efficiency expert, you don’t have a janitor (although there are days you feel like one in your home office). You definitely don’t have a board of directors.

You’re in charge of everything. You, therefore, have to keep everything checked, marked, etched in stone, whatever you have to do to make sure it’s all organized. Each day, write down everything that has to be done. Standardize it. When all the cards are down, if there’s a screw-up, the only employee you can blame is yourself.

You Are Not 24/7!

This isn’t true, though, unless you’re a doctor or nurse. Even those professions, though, operate on a W-2 basis. They’re not bosses. They answer to their higher-ups. The same isn’t true for plumbers and the like, because oftentimes they will get calls in the middle of the night, and they must provide their services. It keeps them competitive.

As a home-based entrepreneur, though, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Make sure it’s completely known. No sales calls at 4AM. You’re not going to work till 2AM either. This is particularly a challenge if you have a lot of clients that are overseas. If you balance yourself, though, and operate within your standards, you should be just fine. Just remember — you do not work all hours of the day. You will burn out easy.

It’s a Juggling Act

That might not sound like a lot of fun, but if you really want this home-based business to work, you’ll be multitasking quite a bit. This seems to directly contradict the one tip about keeping the family separate, for sure, but understand this angle very clearly: it’s about prioritization. Your business lawyer knows this juggling act well when going to court and having multiple clients throughout the day. It’s about scheduling, it’s about taking things one at a time. Don’t drop any one thing; definitely ensure you’re handling everything.

Last But Not Least — Take Some Time to Get Away

Even when you’re “on the clock,” you still need time for yourself. You need “breaks.” We like to be efficient, and that’s a common benefit of being at home. Don’t fall for that, though. You still need breaks just like any other employee. You get lunch hours, too. Don’t skimp on that.

In the End, You’re the “Employee”

You deserve those specific “rights.” Enforce them. You’re also the CEO. Protect them. Home-based businesses can be fantastic if you realize that the cards are all on you. Only you can make it successful.

Follow these tips, and the you that is the employee, trainer, VP, director, manager and President can celebrate with your one birthday, hawaiian t-shirt day and golf outing (with the family or friends, of course) as much as you want without feeling like your business is falling apart. That spells success.