The fanciful idea that you can sit at home in your pyjamas doing what you love all day is a great one, isn’t it?
I’m a writer — I’ll admit I watched Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex And The City era, tapping away at her Macbook in the dead of night, lit up and inspired. Looks like the life, I thought…
Umpteen years later, the only thing Carrie and I have in common is an Apple Mac.
It turns out a tight bun, elaborate party dress, and a cigarette isn’t the winning cocktail for a successful business. Instead, passion for your craft and a key group of supporters might just be the tonic.
Kick the Habit
If you’re serious about starting your own business, one thing becomes apparent straight away: something’s got to give.
You’ll need to rid your life of toxins if you don’t want them to pollute your home. This includes unsupportive people and external situations, but you’ll find the most stubborn contenders lurking within.
Perhaps it’s a tendency to procrastinate or over-analyse the detail. You might put too much pressure on yourself or set unreasonable demands.
It’s an important step to uncover your own worst enemy and learn how to shoo it away.
Once your career path is free from emotional debris, it’s far easier to see things clearly.
In the Family Way
If you have children, it’s not all about you any more.
What used to be a hobby or a pipe dream suddenly becomes substance for an entire family. Therefore, it’s important first of all to believe you can do it.
Many people stop at the first hurdle because they hit a wall of self doubt, but you only need to chip away at a few bricks to find people who pushed through this and made it to the other side. Everyone goes through it because nobody really knows what they’re doing!
A Successful Business Plays Cupid
It helps, of course, if you do something you love for a living. Even better when it’s on your own terms and nobody else’s.
Cherubs won’t perch themselves on your laptop. There’s no harpist gently plucking strings in the background… but find the right match between your business goals and your home life, and it’ll certainly help keep the love alive.
Only Fools Rush In
When you’re certain your business idea is a keeper, it’s important to establish a few ground rules before you move work and family in together:
1. Work some place sensible
If you’re working at home in between Play-Doh and a few stray socks from the tumble dryer, chances are you’ll struggle to get in THE ZONE.
Allocate a space where you can shut yourself away and work without distraction.
This way, everyone knows when you’re working and need to be left alone. If someone else is home, the general rule of thumb is that you’re only to be interrupted if something or someone sparks a disaster.
(Or, they’re bringing you a cup of tea. That’s cool.)
2. Put work days in the diary
Running a business from home takes up a lot of your time, especially in the early days. If you’re not working on it, you’re thinking about your next move, or contemplating your last. This dramatic shift in your focus has the potential to make everyone miserable.
If those who share your space aren’t sure if you’re working online or shopping online, are on a deadline or on Twitter, (or if they’ll ever have your undivided attention again), it could put a dampener on your business too.
To keep everyone happy, add working hours to the diary and stick to them as closely as you can. This way, everyone knows where they stand.
If you’re working until 6pm, finish up on time. Nobody likes to be left waiting, let alone be stood up altogether.
3. Keep things in perspective
There’s a reason why you choose to work from home – a clear, fundamental objective you need to keep sight of.
Parents, like me, work around childcare. Others may have a medical condition or work irregular hours. You might be a nutty professor or refuse to be confined to office space.
The point is, we all have an agenda.
As the brand manager, finance officer, administrator, and sales person for your business all rolled into one, it’s not difficult to burn yourself out if you try to do too much. Give yourself a break.
So long as you meet your main objective, consider it a sign it’s meant to be.
Dance like Nobody Is Watching
You know how the saying goes: “Dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt…” It’s how you need to be in your new business.
It’s not easy when home life is disrupted, but happiness is infectious. If you enjoy riding the wave, others will gladly join you for the ride.
This is just the kind of support you need to make a success of it.
Image credit: Death to the Stock Photo