Starting your own business is a major challenge. You are no longer in a department. You are every department. If you screw up, the business goes down. That is a lot of pressure.
Starting your own business and doing it from home presents even more challenges. If you do not stay on top of your game things can spiral out of control such that:
- Things don’t get done
- People lose trust in you when you fail to meet obligations
- Opportunities are lost
Here are some challenges you might face. If you can overcome them, not only can you avoid these pitfalls, but you can thrive and succeed where so many fail.
1. Getting in the mood
When you have a job in an office, you get into a routine. You get up, shower, eat breakfast, get dressed, check you look presentable in the mirror; and then you go to work. Maybe not in that order!
At home, things are a little different. You don’t have to do anything. You can choose to forget the shower and roll up to your laptop in boxer shorts. No one ever knows, especially if you live alone, or the house is empty during the day.
For some people this works, but for most it does not. You have not really gone to work. And it is important that you and your brain can tell the difference between at home and at work when they are in fact in the same house or apartment.
The answer: Get a routine going. Even if your commute is only a few feet. And turn off the TV (unless you are a day trader glued to CNBC). Make it a list, and check each item off. Eventually it will become second nature and you will be able to make the switch to work mode without leaving your home.
2. The blurred lines between your work life and your personal life
When it’s your business, especially if you are getting it off the ground, the question might be; When are you not working?
For an entrepreneurs, your business can consume your life. You’re not spending the day waiting for the clock to hit going home time. If there is work to be done you will do it, even if it is three in the morning. You never leave the “office.”
Answer: It’s perfectly okay to be driven like this. If you were not, you would not be much use as an entrepreneur. But you need to find balance. Be organised and productive during the day, and after the kids go to bed, if you have children. But take time out for your needs and the needs of those around you, no matter how much you have to do.
3. Distractions Distractions
There are so many other things you can do when you are at home apart from work; distractions you would never have in an office environment, whether it be your own company’s office or that of an employer. This particular entrepreneurial challenge is made worse by the fact that many people cannot equate working from home with working, and think you are available for chats or an afternoon in the pub. It’s easy to get to 6 or 7 in the evening and realise you have achieved little or nothing that day.
The answer: There is no real answer to this. Either you have the self discipline to put your foot down and stick to your plan or you don’t. For me, this is one of the cornerstone attributes of an entrepreneur.
4. Escaping House Arrest
That being said, that does not mean you cut yourself off entirely and turn into a hermit. Some people really relish isolation, but the vast majority of us crave human contact.
The answer: Stop emailing people and start calling them. Talk to your clients on the phone, not by email. And call at least one friend a day. Why not have lunch with them? Or, pick your laptop up, and take it to a coffee shop. It’s amazing how being surrounded by hustle and bustle can inject some energy into your day.