Almost everyone is connected to the internet today and they have a computer of some sort, a “smart phone” and/or a tablet. It is estimated that there are over three billion people with access to the internet. Hand held devices now account for half of all online sales and it increasing at a rapid rate. Consumers are in reality holding the stores in the palm of their hands creating unprecedented opportunities for home based Online businesses.
So why work from home at an online business?
- No commuting to work
- You can have flexibility in your work schedule – arrange it to fit around child care or other commitments
- You are the boss you manage your own destiny – You dictate your income earning potential
- Significantly lower start, upfront and operating costs than a brick-and-mortar business
- No business rental payments
- No physical store, utilities, staff etc.
- You can write off a number of home expenses
- A Niche website can be built and managed around personal passions, interests, hobbies from a desktop or tablet from the comfort of your own home
- Online businesses remain open 24/7, open for business while you are away, sleeping, on holiday, playing
- Technology is improving rapidly, online tools to make it easy to run your business and automate work flow sare readily available from no cost to fairly inexpensive
With the minimal barriers to entry, it is not surprising that there is an increasing number of people chasing a slice of the booming online business (eCommerce market).
Although there are some major advantages to working from home, working from home can also be challenging.
Personally, my biggest challenge was getting my family and friends to understand that even though I am at home, I am working and should not be interrupted. A private work space became very important and it took some time and patience to explain to family and friends, but if you explain it properly, they will understand.
These 6 simple rules I work on that help me keep a disciplined and balanced approach to working from home for the past number of years.
1. Don`t become Sedentary. Stay Active.
You don’t want to feel shut in – It doesn’t have to be a formal exercise routine (fine if that works for you). You want to take proper breaks. I take walks, go outside so that I`m moving and not in a stationary position for extend periods of time. I also work standing up for part of the day. My office is on the second floor, I have left it so I have to go down a flight of stairs to get a drink of water or coffee
2. Don`t be alone. Meet with and respect other people.
Meet with clients, others who do similar work, join Chamber or other Business associations. Get out and mingle. Working at home provides no water cooler time and eliminates the office chatter. Sure time savers but we all need to interact with others to keep our sanity. Online networks can and are valuable and helpful, but they do not provide what I believe is necessary, the face to face time that we need to interact with other human beings.
Self-employment also requires tolerance. You may get some negative attitude from colleagues, co-workers even your clients when they see that you are working from home. They can be envious if the opportunity is not there for them to do the same. Be nice!
3. Don`t waste Time. Mange Time effectively.
Working at home is generally not a 9am to 5pm undertaking. If you don’t set a schedule and stick to it, you risk not getting very much done. Breaks are very import for refreshing. Make sure that you plan down time. 15 minutes at least for coffee, catching up on the news, newspaper reading, radio time, or even a longer break to hit the local library.
One of my mentors, who was majority owner and the President of the company, used to say ” I am most valuable to this organization when I am doing nothing but thinking”. I can tell you, he was right and he will tell you it was one of the main reasons his company was very successful. Make time to think, get those creative juices going.
4. Don`t fly by the seat of your pants. Have a Plan. Set goals.
Have a plan for the week, the month, the year. Track progress daily. What do you need to accomplish? You likely wont have a manager for timely performance appraisals, so you need to have your own measuring system. Goals, are crucial, both long and short-term. Short term, you need to reiterate that you are going somewhere and ensure that years don’t pass without any noticeable improvement in personal development, income or job satisfaction.
5, Don`t ignore you or your loved ones. Make time.
Working 24/7 is counterproductive. Keep some extended time work-free.
Take vacation time. Look for deals, a big advantage for the working at home is a more flexible schedule, so you can likely take the last minute deals. Take advantage of the right weather or opportunity to do something during working time to break things up. Stroll in the park, swim, surf …..most office workers don’t get that opportunity.
As much as me time is important, so is setting and achieving self-improvement goals. Make time for what you enjoy, whether art, reading, writing, or pets. Doing something with no end goal, let the mind rest.
Chores should be done on weekends or outside work hours. Blurring work and chores can become a bad habit. It can become a great excuse for avoiding getting the things done that need to be done.
6. Don`t overdo Food. Manage food, drinks and snacks.
It is imperative to eat proper meals at the appropriate times. Make sure that you don’t overdo the caffeine or snacks. I personally make the treats and goodies cupboard as well as the refrigerator off limits until meal time.