Your home-based business is up and running and progressing nicely toward your goals. But other businesses like yours have faltered at this point, often because the owner has not focused enough attention on the key requirements of the business. This is usually due to distractions and other obstacles that are more common in home-based businesses versus office- or retail-based businesses. Try these tips to stay motivated and focused.
Revisit your vision. Remember when you were in the early stages of formulating your business? Chances are you had a picture in your mind about where it would lead. What rewards should be waiting at the end for all your hard work? Spend some time recapturing that vision — and consider making it tangible. Look into making a vision board, and placing it in your office to look at whenever you feel your motivation slipping.
Plan to manage the distractions of family and friends. If you share your home with others, especially children, you will be torn between spending time with them and getting on with your work. Failing to strike a balance in this area is a very common cause of lost motivation and focus. Make a plan ahead of time to share your valuable time between work and family/friends. Then stick to it! If you have youngsters, you will need some type of childcare, whether it’s daycare or school outside of the home, or a babysitter or mother’s helper at home. Without the cooperation of your housemates, it will be difficult or impossible to make your home-based business successful.
Make a schedule. It may seem obvious that you need to plan out the hours in a day that you expect be working. Consider writing it down and posting it where you and others can see it. And don’t forget to allow for breaks — for meals and housework, of course, but also for yourself — a visit to the gym, or a coffee break when you can read or watch TV for pleasure. Just make sure you get back to work when it’s over!
Set deadlines, and keep them. Have you ever encountered this attitude about deadlines? “I love deadlines. I like the swooshing noise they make as they zoom by.” Don’t be like that. Setting realistic deadlines for your activities, and meeting them, is one of the best ways to keep yourself focused and motivated.
Be careful of the social media time-eater. Of course you need to engage with any important social media for business as-it-happens. You should also schedule one time each day to prepare and post all your real-time social media, such as uploading images to your company’s Facebook albums. But be wary of grazing in your personal social media pastures during work time — that will certainly drain away your motivation. Save personal social media for your personal breaks.
Give yourself “paid time off”. You will need an occasional day off from work for personal pursuits or educational activities. If you absolutely have to stay in touch (and most of us do), plan to use your smartphone, tablet or laptop to handle those critical email and social media requirements.
Invest in your work space. It’s worth spending a little to create a work space tailored to your needs: furniture, equipment, lighting, and even decor. Take over a spare room or at least a partitioned area, and reserve it only for work. Many work-at-home entrepreneurs are able to deduct their office expense from their taxes* if they have a separated area specifically for working. If you have housemates, you will probably need to be able to close your work space off from the rest of the house, to reduce distractions.
If you can stay motivated and focused, your home-based business stands a much better chance of growing and thriving. Learn how avoid the many traps that sap your energy and steal your time. Start now!
*consult your tax adviser.