Small Business Startup

Very good tips here to help you work more efficiently from home.

You need more than skill, knowledge and passion to build a profitable home-based business. You also need discipline to make every minute count.

In a job, you have supervisors and managers making sure quotas are met, tasks are completed and your time has been spent as efficiently and effectively as possible.

But, at home, you’re the supervisor and your responsibility is to make sure every action you take has the best interests of your business at heart.

Here are seven simple steps to help you make the most of every day in your home-based business.

1. Have a clear vision. Sit down and write out your ideal vision for five to ten years from now so you have a target to aim for. Once you’ve determined your long-term vision, break it down into smaller chunks. For example, in order to be where you want to be in five years, where do you need to be in two years?

And in order to be where you need to be in two years, where do you need to be in one year?

Now, every time you’re faced with a decision ask yourself, “Would this bring me closer to my vision for this year or take me further away from it?”

When you know where you need to be in order to realize your vision, it’s easier for you to maintain discipline because you know what the right thing is to do. It gives you strength when you need to push through uncomfortable situations and to say no to something that might feel good in the moment but doesn’t serve your end goal.

2. Create structure. Without it you are susceptible to every distraction that crosses your path.

In order to build discipline, set specific work hours and create routines. Your hours don’t have to be as rigid as when you had a job, but they do need to exist. Once your hours are set, tell others that you are not to be disturbed during these times. You will not accept phone calls or drop-ins because you are working.

Creating routines allows you to gain control over how you spend your time. If you begin your day with no set goals or tasks, you lose a great deal of time wandering from activity to activity. Spend the last 15 minutes of each day mapping out your tasks for the next day and don’t end your day until each task is complete.

3. Out of sight, out of mind. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Energy flows where attention goes”, and when you’re thinking about the laundry piled in the corner, the dishes in the sink and that chocolate mousse cake in the fridge, you’re not focusing on your business.

This is one of the biggest challenges for home-based entrepreneurs because at your job you didn’t have to worry about who’s going to vacuum the floor or clean the lunchroom. You also didn’t have a fridge chock full of food a few feet away.

Designate specific days and hours of the week for household chores and stick to them. You may need someone to help out instead of doing it all alone. You will never see the CEO of a company washing windows or emptying trashcans. It’s not the best use of her time. She might do it at home, but not at the office and the same goes for you.

If the refrigerator or television are calling your name, use the tough love approach. Don’t allow your favorite desserts or snacks in the home. Instead, reward yourself at the end of the week (or day) for being disciplined by going out to celebrate.

It’s easy to get caught up in regular visits to the fridge or to watch TV, and this is where you might need to bring someone into the mix to hold you accountable until you’ve established the discipline you need.

Make it hard to gain easy access to certain things. Have someone hide the remote, the chips, and anything else you have trouble saying no to. Stick notes on the TV and fridge asking you what you’re thinking.

4. Create a business environment. Make your office look like an office and you’ll be more inclined to take your business seriously. If your office also serves as a spare bedroom and you’re surrounded by stuffed animals, knitting needles and magazines, it’s hard feel like a real entrepreneur and your actions will reflect this.

5. Create accountability. Maintaining self-discipline isn’t easy, but when you have to account to someone for your efforts, you bring your game up a notch and aren’t as inclined to slide into complacency or bad habits. If you tell someone you’re going to make seven calls and close one deal today, you don’t want to report in the next day and tell them you decided to drive to the beach to collect shells instead.

We are much more likely to disappoint ourselves than we are to disappoint someone else.

6. Learn to say no. And if this is tough, it’s time to learn assertiveness. You are captain of your ship and must keep it on course. You cannot allow others to chart it for you by dropping in unexpectedly or asking for favors that interrupt your day.

Your sister wouldn’t stop by your employer’s office to drop off her kids and the same applies to your home business. Create pockets of social time so you’re not tempted to pick up the phone to call friends. Isolation is a big challenge for home-based business owners, but when you create quality time to be with them outside of your business hours, you’re more focused when you’re working.

7. Toughen up your mental muscle. Discipline requires will power and conscious awareness about the thoughts you have. When you’re faced with a decision and you choose the option that is not in the best interests of your business, catch yourself in this moment and ask yourself why you are making this choice.

This simple exercise may uncover some underlying beliefs that are causing you to sabotage your efforts such as, “I won’t make it. It’s too hard. I’m not good at this.”

Once you identify these underlying beliefs, you can then examine them and take the necessary steps to replace them with more empowering thoughts.


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