Working from home. Everyone wants to be their own boss and work their own hours. But what if it’s not as simple as it seems?
Transitioning from a 9-5 job with a boss and colleagues to a home-based business where you are the sole trader can be daunting and comes with its own challenges.
As someone who has done just that, I can tell you there are mistakes that are made by most of us and lessons learned the hard way that I am going to share with you so you can hit the ground running!
So here they are, the mistakes to avoid when working from home:
1. Create a Workspace
You have no idea how much time can be lost packing and unpacking your laptop, paperwork and other work essentials in order to get started for the day.
Not to mention dinner time at the dining table next to your paperwork isn’t shouting out relaxing family time. Set aside a room in your house as your office or if you don’t have the space, even a corner of a spare room with a desk.
This way you will have a dedicated work area that doesn’t impede on your play area.
2. Set Yourself a Routine
When I worked my 9-5 job, I would leave home at 7:30am each morning, work my job and then toddle on home at 5pm.
Once I got home, I didn’t have to think about work (haha) until I rocked on in the next day. Since working from home, I have found myself glued to my computer and working until all hours of the night.
NOTE: This is not the intention of working from home! Now, I start work at 9am and have set times and scheduled tasks for the day.
Whilst I still fit my home and family duties into my day, I feel like I have a better work-life balance now I have a routine.
3. Join On-line Business Groups
Working from home can be isolating. You have left your colleagues and daily comradery behind and now find yourself on your own.
Join business forums like Flying Solo or even business groups on Facebook.
You can learn from other entrepreneurs and solopreneurs and it’s a great way to keep up your social skills and converse with other like-minded individuals. There is so much to learn from others and these groups are an awesome way to network.
4. Keep Up Your Social Network
Maintaining your external social connections is important. Set aside time each week to meet with friends or old work colleagues to chat and network ideas.
Remember in your 9-5 job, you had regular team meetings and brainstorming sessions where you could bounce ideas off each other.
You need to recreate this so you can bounce your own business ideas off others. This can help clarify an idea in your mind or just help you to reassess a direction. It is amazing how much talking to a third party can make things seem clearer.
5. Give Yourself a Break
There is no point giving yourself a tree change if you end up burnt out anyway.
The trap most solopreneurs fall into is over working themselves. It is easy to think “I am the only person doing this, if I don’t do it no one will” or even ” I have to succeed so I have to work long hours”.
If you are burnt out or overworked, your business is not going to succeed. Take a step back and give yourself a break.
Even a few hours can make a world of difference and give you that extra burst you need. If it’s a public holiday, then take the day off. Everyone else is and you know what, the world will keep spinning and you will be far more ready to take on the next day refreshed… and maybe even a little tanned!
6. Find a Good Accountant
Running a small business is no easy feat. Invoices, taxes and bass statements can become the bain of many a solopreneurs existence. These tasks, whilst important, can take up your valuable time. Finding yourself a good, qualified accountant and investing in a piece of accounting software, like Xero for example, can save you hours of work and help ease the pain come tax time.
Running and owning a small business and working from home for yourself can have countless upsides – no traffic, you are there for your kids and you are your own boss – there are many obstacles to jump over as well.
Master these and you are well on your way to the work-life balance you dreamed of and the reason you took this leap to begin with!
Have you started your own business already and made these mistakes? Or are you glad you read this before starting?