When you make the shift to working from home, those first few days are pure bliss. There’s nothing like indulging in a cheeky sleep-in and knowing you don’t have to deal with traffic or public transport. Not to mention the increase in family time and the extra deductions you can make come tax time.
To keep things running smoothly, keep an eye out for the following challenges faced by all those who go down the home business path.
Problem 1: Seeming unprofessional
No matter how well-groomed you are in person, if you have a residential address and mobile phone number, this can conjure up an image in the minds of potential clients of you working barefoot in your pajamas. The easiest and most cost-effective way to present a perfectly preened professional image is to get yourself a virtual office. This ingenious service gives you a business address and phone number, as well as phone answering and mail services.
Problem 2: Work and family life occupying the same space
This problem is the dark side of one of the benefits of working from home: you get to be close to your family. While avoiding the commute and having more quality time with your loved ones is fantastic, it can be hard to establish boundaries around your work time. Even if you’re living alone, it can be tempting to push aside a particularly difficult project in favor of the simplicity of tackling household chores.
If this is an issue for you, creating a dedicated work environment can help. Extra points if you turn an entire room of the house into a home office. To get your mind focussed on work, try downloading a time management app and setting a daily work schedule. If you let the app tell you when it’s time to take breaks, your mind isn’t given the space to suggest that you quickly get the dishes done or clean out the garage.
Problem 3: Never “going home” from work
When home and work are one and the same space, you quite literally never go home from work. If you don’t manage this effectively, you can find yourself in a sort of nowhere land where you never feel like you’re truly at work or at home. This can lead to procrastination during work hours and a temptation to make up for it by working during what should be your free time. The lines between your two worlds blur and you feel stressed during your downtime while conversely overworked and underested during office hours.
If this sounds familiar, you need to create some healthy boundaries ASAP. Creating a dedicated workspace and daily schedule will help. However, you may need to take a few extra steps. Consider installing a browser extension to cut out your ability to procrastinate during the hours you set. Get dressed for work every day. You’d be surprised at how powerfully our clothes affect our mental state.
Finally, when it comes time to clock off for the day, you need to genuinely let work go. It can help to have a buffer activity between work and home life. You may wish to go for a long afternoon walk or treat yourself to a yoga or gym session. Along with the health benefits you get from such activities, when they’re used as a buffer, they create a definite break between work and relaxation.
Running a home business isn’t always easy, but if you go in prepared for the potential pitfalls, you’ll be among those lucky few who make it a profitable way of life.