As part of my recent interview series with successful entrepreneurial women, I’ve asked over 30 women about the highs and lows of working from home and being the boss. What I heard was inspiring and definitely ‘real-world’ advice. No sugar-coating here then!
So, how do you ensure massive success with your home business?
Here are 3 key tips from women “doing it for themselves”
1. Establish a home/work boundary
One of the biggest challenges my entrepreneurial mums faced was establishing the boundary between home and work. Physical boundaries are easier to establish, and it’s important to have a dedicated workspace where you can organise your files. A dedicated phone line and computer are important too.
What’s harder is the conflict you feel when the business phone rings during dinner or when you’re with the family. Should you answer it and take time away from the family, or do you risk losing a new customer? When you are working flat-out to build a business, the answer may not be so clear-cut!
More difficult to adjust to, and especially if you’re used to the rigidity of office hours, is the demarcation of time. Well-meaning friends and family assume because you’re at home that they can pop in any time for a coffee and a chat. They may not fully understand or appreciate that you are working and may be crunching a deadline.
It’s easy to become a workaholic when you’re running your own business so balancing this drive to work constantly with some downtime is important but it needs to be on your terms. Remember you’re a business owner, and must act and think like a business owner, not a mum working from her kitchen table (even if that’s what you’re doing!)
2. Get a mentor
One of the most-oft mentioned success secrets was to get a mentor. Find someone in your business who has achieved the success you’d like to have and see if they’ll mentor you. You might need to offer to help them in some way or they may offer a paid mentoring programme. You could offer help by promoting their products, or volunteering time to help them with a project. Perhaps you can review their products or support their services in some way.
What you’re trying to achieve is to build a relationship with someone who will mentor you. You want to learn their success secrets and get their advice on your unique situation and challenges. A mentor will also give you honest, in-depth critique of your business and show you how to improve what you’re doing and avoid some of the pitfalls.
If chosen well, a mentor will pay for themselves many times over. All the women I interviewed started their businesses on a shoestring but they all said that a mentor was one expense worth investing in.
3. Have an online presence
Regardless of the business you’re in, you need an online presence. Period. It might be a blog, website, online store or facebook fan page. But, if you’re not online you might as well not exist.
You can create an online presence without spending much money and without having any technical or design skills using free blogging tools or social media. However, if you’re serious about your business it’s well worth investing in your own domain name and having your site hosted so you have a website that you 100% own and control. A simple WordPress site with a professional looking theme and some basic plug-in’s will instantly lift your brand, generate more leads, turn prospects into customers, and help you take your business to the next level.
If you’d like to share you tips or challenges in running your home business, I’d love to hear in the comments below!