Juggling Family and Business from a Home Office
Some of the world’s most recognizable companies started as home-based businesses – Apple Computer, Hershey Chocolate and Mary Kay Cosmetics, to name just a few.
Barking dogs, visiting neighbors and screaming kids – they’re all part of life for many home-based business owners.
With more than half of all U.S. businesses based out of an owner’s home, running an enterprise from a spare bedroom has become commonplace. Here are some tips to help you take control of your home-based business.
Define Your Space
While the dining room table might provide you with a large workspace, it’s probably not the best location to manage a business. It can be very difficult to keep your family and your business separate when the latter is strewn across a common area. Keeping your business in a designated space, such as a spare bedroom or even a walk-in closet, will help set boundaries with family members. Then, do your best to soundproof your space to minimize those distracting home-office noises that can be less than professional-sounding.
Maintain a schedule
The flexibility that comes with no set work schedule can be incredibly liberating. Yet many home-based business owners find that they end up working around the clock. To be productive, you need down-time. To ensure that you’re getting a healthy balance of work, family time and rest, a daily routine that you can stick with is essential. Of course, it’s equally as important to communicate your schedule both with customers and your family.
Using the services of a housekeeper, gardener or babysitter might be necessary so that you can devote the required time to grow and manage your business. Instead of thinking of it as an unnecessary expense, consider it an important operating cost. Family members should also be pitching in to help around the house. A schedule for chores can be a big help to a home-based business owner with a family.
Invest in Your Office Space
Sitting on an uncomfortable folding chair in a dimly lit corner of a bedroom with a PC that’s about ready to crash is just not conducive to achieving success. A little investment in good quality office equipment, a reliable phone system and ergonomic furniture can go a long way in helping you grow your business.
Have a Sense of Humor
Yes, every home-based business owner has those moments when family and business converge. A customer hears the dog barking, a child answers the business phone or an important contract is thrown out with the Sunday paper. These slip-ups do happen from time to time, and while they can certainly be frustrating, customers will almost always understand the challenges of working from home. The key is to stay positive, minimize potential problems before they happen and roll with the punches when the unexpected occurs.
Do you have any helpful tips for successfully running a home office? Share them with other small business owners on our Facebook page.