Thanks to the web, running your small business from your home is easier than it ever has been – with Skype and similar services, you no longer need to meet your business partner or clients in-person as often as you once did, or even at all.
And as an entrepreneur, it’s easy to see the benefits of running you business from home for its cost efficiencies, its flexibility and the time you save by not having to commute to an office.
However, even though technology has made it much easier for entrepreneurs to establish home-based businesses, challenges often arise when these two worlds overlap. Luckily there are a few strategies you can use to make the most of the time you spend working at home.
Create a Healthy Work Environment
Home organization is key to keep your home office separate from your personal life. Assigning a designated workspace will allow you to set the essential boundaries you need to be able to achieve work and home life balance. Disorganization will quickly cost you in terms of efficiency and productivity.
Linda Chu, founder of Out of Chaos and a professional organizer, recommends that you categorize your workspace, limit your things, evaluate and prioritize tasks, allocate your resources correctly and remove materials that no longer serve you in order to improve your efficiency while working.
Plan for Productivity
Make lists and set goals for yourself. To-do lists are never-ending, but if you set your top 3-5 priorities each day, you will feel accomplished once you cross those things off your list.
The better you get at managing your priorities, the more successful you will be working from home. Coach Diane Rolston suggests following the 25-minute workflow process. Apply yourself completely to one task for 25 minutes then take a short break. Changing tasks will extend your focus and help you maintain clarity on projects.
Opt for Online Meetings
Skype and Google Hangouts are the new boardrooms. Make sure you schedule business meetings with your clients, colleagues and team members regularly.
Although you may not be able to meet in-person, face-time is very valuable and relieves the miscommunication issues sometimes experienced on conference calls or emails. Video calls help put a face to the name of the people you are working with, while allowing you to read the physical reactions that they have towards certain ideas.
Networking events and conferences allow you to connect with people in your industry, and are great way to meet new people who can help you advance your business.
Meeting with like-minded business owners exposes you to different perspectives, tap into new resources that you were not aware of and become more knowledgeable. You even have the chance to connect with new potential clients, even directly or through one of your new business contacts.
What’s more, conferences are an important educational tool – by attending you’ll get to listen to speakers share their experiences and take-away tangible tools to help you succeed in your industry.
Leverage Blogs and Social Media
When you use blogging as a creative outlet, it gives you the ability to pursue your passion while building a platform for expression. Blogging also allows you to connect with a network of influencers and engages you in conversation with others who share your passion.
Once you get a large enough following, you may be in a position to start monetizing on your blog by selling ad space, writing paid reviews or offering your services to your readers.
One such entrepreneur who has done just that is Monika Hibbs from The Doctor’s Closet. She passionately blogs about fashion and design, and as a result of her blogging and social media following, is about to launch her own online store.