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Monday, August 4, 2014

7 Deadly Sins of Working Your Home Business

Last September "Forbes" published a list of 16 Suprising Statistics Abount Small Businesses.  One statistic was that at that time, 52% of all small businesses were home-based businesses.

That statistic shows how many dreamers there are; they are the people who dream of time, financial, creative or spiritual freedom.  As we all know, however, with freedom (and especially in the quest for freedom) comes great responsibility.  It is always helpful to make yourself aware of pitfalls.

Here is my personal list and my observations about 7 Deadly Sins of Working Your  Home Business:

1.   There is no dedicated workspace. 

If you want to be productive, you not only need a productive mindset, you also need a productive space where you can use that mind!  Your workspace can be any designated area, really.  Some people have the luxury of a separate room dedicated for their business.  Others share their workspace with the guest room, the family room, kitchen, basement or utility room. 

Some people work wherever they are able to use their laptop!  The idea is to have a specific area where you conduct your daily business activities.  How you design it or outfit it is totally your decision, just have a workspace.  

2.  The dedicated workspace is located in your bedroom.

This should be a no-brainer, but I know there are those who say there is no where else for them to work.  Unless you live in one room, finding an alternative location is key to your personal peace of mind.  You need a private space where you can wind down and relax at the end of the day.  At the very least, screen off your workspace with a screen, or even a curtain.  Your bedroom is for sleep and, well, you know...personal recreation.

3.  You treat your business like a hobby.

You made the decision and invested the start-up money to take your first steps toward the freedom you desire.  You may spend anywhere from 2 to 40 hours working on your business, but unless you treat it with respect you won't earn the money or the freedom you want.

No matter how many hours you have to spend on your business, block out the time on whatever method you find comfortable, and then use that time to focus only on your business.  The time does not have to be consecutive.  For example, you may have a free hour in the morning and additional breaks of time throughout the day.  Block out those times for your business.

I know a very successful woman who started her business while working a 40-hour j.o.b.  She carved out little blocks of time to work:  her 15 minute work breaks, her lunch breaks, time in the evening after her children were in bed. She treated her business like a business and today, 8 years later, she is the youngest National Vice President in her company!  If you don't believe me, Google "Kristie Wooten-DeGraw".  The woman is a true inspiration.

Decide if you want to earn business money or hobby money.  The choice is up to you.

4.  You want a "free" business.

Sorry to break your bubble, but there is no free business on this earth.  Sooner or later, in one form or another, no matter what you are promised, you will be required to pony up the money.  This request will come in all guises from sample product, to seminars, to online courses and books, to websites, to purchasing leads.

Every business, trust me, every business, has inherent expenses.  It does not matter if it's brick and mortar or online.  Do not ever believe that you can start your own business without cost.  If that is the case, then you do not own your business, you are merely trading time for money.  If you own your business you have tax expenses you can deduct, you earn profits on your products and you can also earn residual income.  

There are many,many legitimate home-based businesses with a wide range of start-up costs.  Before you commit, conduct your due diligence and find a business you can believe it with a minimal cost.  They are out there!

5.  You neglect to keep track of your business expenses, and do not deduct them at tax time.

Really?  You can afford to throw money away?  Good for you!!  Or are you one of those rare forms of human life that love to give the government money? Well, STOP THAT!  In the entire world, there is no business that refuses tax deductions.  Take the deductions; there are lists available you can download.

6.   You don't have a schedule. 

No matter your personal feelings about schedules, accept the fact that the world turns on a schedule. (Literally, it does!)  Bite the bullet and even if you just schedule your television programs, do it and follow it.  Having a routine will insure you don't forget the appointments you have to keep and will really help with your overall production.  

I know, it's so wonderful to be able to work at home, not punch a time clock or be at your desk at some prescribed time each day.  You can still have time freedom as long as you schedule time to perform those activities that will ultimately bring you that freedom. 

Freedom is not free.  There is always, always, always a cost.  In your business, the cost is time so use it wisely if you want to reach your freedom while you are still breathing.

7.  You don't ask for cooperation from your family.

Yes, you are now a Stay At Home Mom...or Wife.  Your family needs to be aware of the 6 previous sins to realize that you are at home, but you WORK.

You are no longer available whenever the mood strikes them.  OF COURSE you are available for their needs, that's why you work from home.  Children are very clever, they will either find constructive, safe ways to amuse themselves (under supervision if needed) or they will manipulate you by guilting you into taking time away from the business that is providing them essentials and treats.

You know the needs of your family, who needs to be where at what time, etc. That is why you make a schedule!  Do not neglect your family, but ask for their cooperation.  Tell them, when they are old enough to understand, that you need to make phone calls at your scheduled time.  If they are babies, make calls when they nap or sleep.  (Be flexible with your schedule, it's perfectly fine to be flexible!)

Ask them to perform age appropriate chores to help you.  Children need to be taught how to care for themselves.  If you work at home you have the perfect venue for teaching them the little chores that will eventually prepare them for total independence.  Plus, being there for them should they falter or have problems gives you all that extra important sense of security.

Don't forget to praise your family for their help!  You are asking them to relinquish some of your time with them so that you can build a better life for all of you.  Praise them!  Thank them!  They deserve it!  And for goodness' sake, do not expect perfection.  Everyone knows you are the only one who can perfectly do all the chores and all the housework and that no one on this earth is better at than you are.   Really??? OK, time to get over yourself.  

Your children are capable of performing all sorts of wonderful jobs and tasks to help the family.   After all, you are the parent and taught them well.  Oh, and spouses are also often very willing to help out when asked. A note about asking:  most people are willing to help when asked.  When nagged at, not so much.

So there you have 7 deadly sins of working from home.  There are more, but who needs to read more than 7, right?