So, you've taken the plunge and you're running your dream business right from the comfort of your own home, with your own coffee maker, and your fuzzy slippers. Managing a business on your own sounds amazing, and honestly, it is. We have full autonomy, we are in control of our schedules, we don’t need to fight the morning commuters to get to work, plus we have the satisfaction of obtaining goals that directly impact us.
Despite this, there can be challenges to face and as a result, some bad habits that you fall into. I want to give you a few tips on managing a business from your home so that it feels the same as when you actually went into the office. As well, you need to be able to separate work from home, despite their now tangled relationship, and that takes a bit of conscious effort.
1. Follow a schedule
Despite the fun of staying up until 4:00AM and sleeping in until noon, it is not realistic. You need to be awake and prepared when your clients are, and unless you’re working with individuals and companies on the other side of the world, that will be during a classic 9-5 schedule. We aim to get out bed between 8:00 and 9:00AM, put on a giant pot of coffee, make a heaping breakfast, and open our laptops for the day.
2. Get out of your PJs
Again, it seems like a dream to lounge around in your pyjamas all day, but it does impact your ability to perform at your peak. Change into clothing - even if it’s just jeans and a t-shirt. It lets you know that relaxing bedtime is over and the work day has begun. You will feel infinitely more motivated if you're not sitting around in the same PJs for four days in a row.
3. Also, get out of your bed
Although the above stock photo does have a glamorous feel to it, do not work from bed. Let your bed (and if your home is large enough to allow it, your entire bedroom) be the place where you unwind. If you work from your bed, you will think of work when in bed, and that's not fair to you. You will not give your mind and body the chance to shut down the "work, work, work" part of your brain and you may develop trouble sleeping from an inability to stop thinking about work-related tasks.
5. Leave your house
Don’t stay home for the entire day. Spend your afternoon lunch break soaking up the sun, instead of inside. Leave the house for a walk to clear your mind. It also helps to work outside of the home at times. Go to the library (free!), your local Starbucks (price of your fancy beverage!), or to a work-share or co-working space (varies!) now and then. Co-working spaces have the benefit of providing human interaction and peer-to-peer mentorship, though I suppose you're welcome to unload your life story onto the local barista, too.
6. Attend networking events
Along the lines of getting out of the house, these events give you a social life without the guilt, because you’re technically still “working.” Whether you choose events of peers for mentorship, or events catered to potential clients, either choice is good. The benefit of working from home is that you can spend the next day, uh, recovering. EventBrite and MeetUp have many free events you can attend. If there’s an expensive one you need to go to, make sure to scour Groupon and other websites for a good deal. We are attending a client-focused one in a couple weeks and were able to score $249.00 tickets for $34.00 (we also use Honey App Chrome Extension to save even more!).
It can be very easy to fall into a lazy routine when you work from home. Make sure you are capable of being accountable for yourself, or to the partner(s) of the company. There will be days when everything falls into place and running your own business seems too good to be true, and then there will be days that remind you that it’s a hard grind and hustle. Keep up the hard work and make yourself proud - working from home is well worth the effort!