Working from home has many perks. As a freelance writer, I am very familiar with them. But, working in the same space you call home certainly has its challenges, and if you cannot tackle them effectively, your business will suffer and you will heap loads of unnecessary stress upon yourself. Many people set up a home office to create a space to conduct their business, and here are some tips to successfully manage it.
Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Getting an actual assistant may not be feasible for you, whether you do not have the space, or the funds to hire someone. A virtual assistant can be a great solution to either of these issues. These services are cheaper than hiring a physical body, and you can basically use them as needed for a variety of tasks from scheduling to bookkeeping. They can also give your business a boost in the professionalism department—they can field phone calls for you like a normal assistant would and forward them to your line.
Dress like You Would for a Regular Job
One of the perks of working from home is that you can dress in anything you want, or even nothing at all. But, rolling out of bed and going straight to the office still dressed in your pajamas may send the wrong message to your brain. It can be harder to get into work mode when you are dressed in clothing associated with relaxation or sleep. You do not necessarily have to bust out a three piece suit or the pantyhose, but consider wearing something that would be considered appropriate for at least a business casual environment.
Poor organizational skills and a successful home-based business go together as well as oil and water. An organized office is crucial to success and minimizing stress. Make sure everything has a place. If you have a lot of paperwork that needs to be filed away, use color coded labels or some other system to easily identify documents.
Find Separation between Work and Home Life
One of the great things about working from home is that you can switch back and forth between work and personal tasks, and work whenever you need. This is also one of the bad things about a home based business. While everyone is different, most of us would probably benefit by making some sort of schedule, where there is a clear separation between work time and personal time. Sure, you can work late if need be or adjust your schedule sometimes, but a routine that you aim for daily is a good idea. Everyone is different when it comes to this. I personally work best first thing in the morning, while someone else may do better starting work later in the day.
Schedule Kid-Free Time
This is kind of related to the last tip, but in a class of its own. One of the perks of working from home is greater availability to your kids. But, many people in this position base their work schedule around their children, hoping to get some work done when the little ones go down for a nap, for example. If that does not happen, you may end up working late into the night. Depending on the nature of your work and the volume, this erratic schedule may not be an issue. But, if you are busy, it could have a seriously negative impact on your business. If you find your parenting duties are getting in the way, you need to find a way around this. Even if you just hire a sitter for a few hours to come to the house—so long as no one breaches the barrier of your office door, you are golden.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various business topics; she recommends visiting www.mavericklabel.com for more information on a variety of labels for your organizational and other business needs.