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Guest Post by Arman Sadeghi
There is no question that setting up a business that allows you to work from the quiet and comfort of your own home is great for your lifestyle. However, many entrepreneurs who decide to start an at-home business find themselves settling for making far less income than they used to make when they used to get into their car every morning and drove to an office environment. It seems counterintuitive, considering the time saved by being able to work directly from home. Nevertheless, the fact is that working from home and staying focused is much harder than most people think. These five secrets will allow you to build a thriving business working from home and avoid some of the most common reasons why entrepreneurs fail.
Secret #1: Get on the clock.
There is a very good reason why almost every company in the world puts over 80% of their employees on an hourly system where they clock in and out. In fact, professional firms that pay extremely high salaries such as law firms require attorneys to not only clock in and out of work, but to track essentially every minute of their billable hours. If you want to play around at home, that is a different story. But if you are committed to having a thriving business, get yourself some sort of a time clock system on your computer or use a billing a system used by professionals to track every minute of your day. Remember to clock out and back in every time you make a run to the restroom or over to the refrigerator to grab a quick snack.
Secret #2: Separate personal from business.
Regardless of the reason, you have an at-home business, it is important to separate your time between personal and business. Failing to create this separation either will cause you to damage your business, your personal life, or in most cases both. If you have the option, set aside entire blocks of your day dedicated to work and personal matters, just like you would if you were driving to the office in the morning and then driving back at the end of the day. If this is not an option because you have kids at home or there are other factors involved, it still does not change the fact that you can block out chunks of your day into pieces, separated by personal and professional designations. That way, you can give your personal things the attention they need, while still focusing 100% when you are working.
Secret #3: Start your day as if you are going to the office.
Many at-home business owners start the day by quickly eating something and then jumping on the computer in their pajamas, knowing that they will not be seeing anyone and that it is not important for them to look professional early in the day. Unfortunately, this sends a very wrong signal to your subconscious mind. Instead of this, start your day as if you were going into the office at a specific time.
Get all of your showering, grooming, and other morning tasks out of the way before you start your day. Then get dressed in your “work attire.” Since you work from home, your work attire could be some comfortable sweatpants and a T-shirt, but it still needs to be your work attire, as opposed to wearing just anything. Ideally, it would be best to dress up a bit more than your most comfortable clothes, because this simple act will send a powerful signal to your subconscious mind that you are about to get serious and do some real work.
Secret #4: Web marketing is essential.
Most at-home business owners make the mistake of thinking that just because they are working from home, their online presence should match the casual nature of their business. This is exactly the opposite of what you should do, however. Instead of keeping your online presence casual and simple, focus on making your web presence even more professional than your biggest competitors that have offices downtown. Build a website that is simple but sleek, and one that represents you extremely well.
When you show up to an offsite meeting and someone sees you walking through the door, they should never think of you as someone who works from home. Instead, they should see you and think that you represent a company much bigger than an office in your home and a laptop.
Secret #5: Call in sick sometimes.
Many at-home business owners work seven days a week and never really time away when they are sick or need a break. The reality is that many of the days that they think they are “working,” they are just going through the motions and not being as productive as they could be, yet their mind still considers this as “work time,” so they do not truly unwind. Instead of making this mistake, act as if you go into an office and choose to call in sick occasionally. Give yourself a day off when you need it so that your mind and body can completely detach from the day-to-day work that you do and allow you to relax and enjoy some time for personal matters.
These five simple secrets will allow you to thrive as an at-home business owner and will allow you to maintain the balance you need for a successful and thriving at-home business. At first, these changes will not seem natural and they will feel awkward but by doing this consistently, you will notice a transformation within your at-home business.
Arman Sadeghi is an American entrepreneur and the creator of the Titanium Success Method. He is known for being a professional speaker and the founder of different companies in various fields. He spoke at TedxNewportCoast in 2012 on the topic the negative health impact of electronic recycling.
Arman Sadeghi, Author & Business Coach