Across the globe, an army of people launching home-based businesses is growing steadily. They want to escape the tedious 9-5 loops, long commutes, and sterile corporate environments. Who can blame them really? Alas, if you jump into it all unprepared, what seems like a dream come true can turn into a haunting nightmare. This is especially true for those who are raising families and tackling other obligations. Thus, get ready to manage boundaries carefully and cover all the bases.
A game plan
So, you crave success, but also less hassle in your life. Well, if you are only starting out, do not get your hopes up. Most work-at-home entrepreneurs barely make a living in the first three years. To maximize your chances and attain success quicker, put a solid business plan in place. The quality of your research is paramount at this stage. You have to identify your target audience, chief strategies, business mission, product/market fit, and other key aspects. Take your time laying out everything in black and white.
Next, it is time to get organized. Working from home calls for a ton of self-discipline and you have to act like you have a real job. So, form a schedule around both your business and life priorities that need juggling. Try to work in blocks of several hours at least and avoid the productivity pitfall of constantly multitasking. Do not hesitate to outsource some aspects of running and managing a business. Find trusted experts that can handle tasks better and faster than you can.
Get on top of the numbers game
Do the math and figure out exactly how much money you require to fuel the operations. Factor in costs associated with website (unless you use a free website builder), domain, marketing material, membership fees, outsourcing, office supplies, etc. Rest assured that these items quickly add up. It is a good idea to leave a money cushion and brace yourself for unforeseen expenses that can impede your plans. While at it, get in touch with an accountant and familiarize yourself with tax advantages and incentives.
Furthermore, weigh different financing options before taking the plunge. If you are like most home-based businesses and lack assets or track record, you will struggle to secure conventional bank financing. But, there are some nice alternatives such as small business factoring, peer-to-peer lending, leasing, and home equity line. Also, consider short-term fast loans you can apply for online, regardless of whether you have good or bad credit.
A dedicated workspace
Try to separate your work area from your living environment. It is preferable to have a dedicated home office with plenty of natural light, ample storage space, and ergonomic furniture. What is more, it should be well-designed and neatly decorated, without feeling too overwhelming. It is your personal, customized space, but also an impeccable zone of productivity that keeps distractions at bay. Investment in it is also an investment in your motivation, concentration, health, and well-being.
Kick off marketing
One thing you want to avoid is helming a home business nobody knows about. Therefore, you need to get in front of people and make a name for yourself. Utilize inexpensive, informal marketing and put free online tools to good use. Note that it costs nothing except your time to set up social media profiles, craft your killer elevator pitch, and start networking with people. At one point, though, you should consider paid promotion: print ads, pay-per-click, and other advertising options.
Success by design
You might be eager to leave your day job, but know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Do your homework and work out a sound business plan. Take advantage of outsourcing opportunities to get some tasks off your plate. Assemble an office space where you can get into the zone. Manage your time and other resources properly and strike a healthy work-life balance. Following these steps, you will be able to navigate the business jungle with your sanity intact and finances in good shape.