Working from home. It sounds like a dream! You can stay in your pajamas, have meetings in bed and generally be relaxed, right? Well, maybe. Many entrepreneurs find that when they are working from home they need to get dressed — even if it’s jeans and a t-shirt, comb their hair, brush their teeth and act as though they are going to an office. How to set up a successful home office is something not too many new entrepreneurs consider.
Sure you can work from the corner of the kitchen table, but do you want to? Can you have client phone calls in the middle of dinner chaos? To truly feel as though you’re running your own business you need to treat it, and yourself and your workspace as viable entities.
How to set up a successful home office
Set up a work space that is yours and yours alone. It is all right to grab an end of the kitchen table when you’re just starting out, but when you claim your own space you are on the path to taking your business more seriously. Find a space — even the corner of a spare bedroom, set it up to feel like an office and work from there.
Meet customers outside of your home when it’s required. Don’t bring a client or customer into the chaos of your home or into your cramped spare bedroom office. Rent a co-working space for a day. Ask a friend who owns an office if there is space you could use for the occasional client meeting. Meet at a nearby coffee shop.
Set work hours. If you don’t want to be working 24/7 you need to establish office hours. Let clients know when you will be available. More importantly, let your family and friends know when you’re working and that you don’t want to be disturbed. If you don’t establish hours and guard them, no one will respect that you have office hours.
Hire a sitter. You can’t run a business if you’re hoping to schedule client calls when your children nap. What if you schedule a call and that is the day your child won’t sleep? Even if you only claim one day a week as child-free you need to do this in order to get your work done. Same goes with pets — you don’t want dogs barking in the background of an important client call, either.
Know yourself and know what will make you feel like a “real” business owner — because you are one! Claim your space and set up a successful home office.
Do you consider your home office a success? If not, why not? If so, what makes it that way?
Surround yourself with positivity. It makes sense, but do you do that? Our parents told us at one point, “the company you keep says a lot about your character.” We agree. In life and in business, surrounding yourself with positive people will keep you happier and could make you more productive.
You have about 40% control over your own mindset. The rest is predicated on the company you keep and your surroundings. If you aren’t in control of your own 40%, you are more prone to pessimism than you are to optimism.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
- Step away from it. You need to take a break from your business. You need to make time for yourself and to recharge your mental and physical batteries. Take a ten minute “you” break every couple of hours. Get away from the office and relax and pick up a hobby or indulge in your hobby.
- What are you grateful for. You need to count your blessings every day. Even when you’ve had a bad day we’ll bet you can find something that went right. The coffee creamer wasn’t curdled. The lights on your drive to the office were green. It didn’t rain. Find something, anything and write it down.
- Push yourself. Challenge yourself. Take the initiative and be in control of your life, your business and your own happiness. It’s been shown that optimists take charge and are in control of their own destiny. Pessimists sit back and wait for things to happen.
How happy are you? What can you do to be more positive and in control of your destiny and your happiness? Take some time today to write down what you’re grateful for. Write down the goals you have already achieved in work and in life. We’ll bet you have more going for you than you ever imagined or gave yourself credit for.
What are you waiting for?
Whether you’re a Baby Boomer, someone nearing or in retirement, or someone who simply wants to own his or her own business, chances are you have heard of the “side hustle.” You may even have researched how to take a side hustle to full-fledged business but still aren’t quite certain how to make the leap.
We know. We’ve been there and we have worked with people in the same situation you find yourself in right now. They want to supplement their income or they want to leave their full time job and be their own boss and the own master of their career path. A side hustle might just get you there.
A “side hustle” is a way to make extra money and might be an ideal way to test the waters on whether you want to push this side hustle to a full time gig.
How To Take A Side Hustle To Full-Fledged Business
What are your goals?
Do you want:
- To just make a little extra money?
- Eventually go full time?
- Do something that you simply have a passion for without worrying about it becoming a full time gig?
Determine and understand your goals. Write them down. Once you’ve committed your thoughts to paper you will have a clear path toward the goal you’ve set. Setting goals keeps you organized and also lets you see whether you’re actually making money. Consider this: if you want to take your skill at knitting to a full time gig, factor in the cost of materials but more importantly, how long does it take you to knit a sweater? What if you paid yourself a set wage of, let’s say, $25 an hour. If it takes you eight hours to knit the sweater, add in the cost of yarn, and you will need to sell the sweater for at least $200 in order to have made any money. Is your idea viable? Do you just want to knit sweaters “for fun”? Neither is wrong, you just need to know.
Organization matters. You can’t move forward with this plan if you’re not organized in your thinking and in your approach toward taking the side hustle to full time business. You may think you work well in a messy desk, but you truly don’t.
- Clean your desk
- Write your daily tasks to meet your side hustle goal
- Use free organizational tools like Trello to keep track of your projects
Use a tool to organize your goals, your tasks, the people with whom you must meet to achieve your business success goals and your “big idea” projects (break them down into manageable tasks)
What is your brand? While you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a brand logo or buy brand colors or fonts for your business card you should have a Facebook page and a website so people can find you. You can create your own business cards at a low cost site like VistaPrint.
Your “brand” also includes the feeling that people get when they meet with you — relaxed, uber professional, somewhere in betwee. Do you always wear a scarf or a bow tie? Those are part of your brand. When you have the money and a focused idea for your side hustle, then it might be time to spend money on a logo and other brand unique items.
Sell yourself. This is usually the hardest part for a new entrepreneur — to market and sell themselves and their product. In order to make a go of this you do need to be a salesman/woman. If you don’t promote what you do, how will people know about you? Sure, once you have brought a few clients on board you can ask for referrals and recommendations, but in the beginning you have to market yourself by yourself.
Starting a new business is a nerve-wracking time because you’re going from a steady paycheck to what could be sporadic income in the beginning. Make sure you have money in the bank to pay your bills for a few months if you decide to jump in full time to your business right now. Or you can ease your way into it by keeping your full time job and working your side hustle in your off time. Neither way is right or wrong, you need to do what feels right for you.
Are you starting a side hustle? Where are you stumped in the process? Ask us, we can help!
Ssshhhh we have some small business secrets to share. Okay, they aren’t actually secrets, they are more like best practices that entrepreneurs should consider when they’re either in the start-up phase or in the growth phase.
It may seem as though there is a “secret society” into which all successful business owners belong and you’re on the outside looking in. It’s not true, but here are some ways in which you can achieve higher business success.
Small Business Secrets
Keep current customers. It is so much more cost effective to keep a current customer than it is to find and nurture a new one. Don’t spend so much time seeking out new customers and new opportunities that you neglect your current clients. Stay in touch with them. Email or call them regularly just to check in. Ask what you can do to help them.
Find an accountability partner or a coach. Running a business can sometimes be a lonely task. It’s easier when you have someone you can bounce ideas off of or who can hold you accountable to business growth items you’ve said you want to pursue. It may be easier to find an accountability partner than it is to share your business frustrations with a spouse or significant other.
Surround yourself with winners. When you hire employees or bring in an outside contractor or freelancer to work with you, make sure you surround yourself with the best. Sure, you will get that occasional “lemon” that you thought was going to be great. Give yourself grace and move on when this happens. Just make sure you “hire slowly, fire quickly.” Don’t keep a bad employee on staff or your business can quickly suffer.
See. These weren’t secrets, but were instead, good business practices that you should consider for your own business. If you’ve decided to become your own boss, take it slow, write a business plan and surround yourself with great people!
Are you starting a business? Have you been running a business but have been “winging it” because you’ve never taken the time to write a business plan? If you’re running a business without a business plan you’re not alone. How to write a business plan is something we work with our clients to make happen.
When you have a business plan — and it doesn’t need to be a 100 page document — you have a roadmap toward future success and growth.
How To Write A Business Plan
Don’t be afraid of a business plan — even if you’ve never written one. We’ve put together a few simple steps that can get you on your way toward writing a business plan.
- Perform research. In order to write your business plan you need to understand your business and the industry in which you’re operating in and out. Understand your industry and every aspect of your business so intimately that you can answer an investor’s question with no hesitation.
- Know what you don’t want to do as much as what you want to do. Know your limitations and the limitations of the goods and services you will provide. Don’t think you can be everything to everyone. Choose a niche and laser focus on that. What have you seen others do that you have said, “I will NEVER do that!” or what have you seen that you think, “I definitely want to do that, but differently.”
- You can use business plan software or simply pull up a Word or Google doc or a piece of paper and a pen. The software you use doesn’t matter as much as getting the plan down on “paper.”
- Don’t forget the visuals. If you have visuals you can share in your business plan to share the information you’re putting into it — do so. Visuals are more intriguing to a reader than is a “wall of words.” What relevant images can you find to add into your business plan?
- Make your business plan adaptable for the audience with whom you will be sharing it. Think of your business plan as your resume or elevator speech. Pick and choose relevant items and share that with the audience you’re in front of. Not all audiences want to hear your entire business plan.
Start a business right — with a busines plan. If you don’t know where to begin, reach out to us, we can help.