Friday, March 09, 2007

Staying Sane While Starting A Home Business

Starting a new business can be a harried experience.

There are a myriad of decisions to be made. Personal and business budgets get stretched. The new secretary quits before the end of the first week.

At times, you feel the struggles are endless.

When starting a business from your home, you can add a slew of unique challenges to the list. But, being aware of the potential pitfalls, and preparing for them can preserve your sanity.

Challenge # 1

Friends and family members frequently assume that if you are home, you are available. Nothing can set your work back hours, faster than an unplanned visit from your mother.

Solution: Set clear boundaries regarding your schedule and availability for phone calls and visits. This will go a long way in preventing misunderstandings early on in the life of your business.

Challenge #2

If you are choosing to keep your small children home with you while you work, that carefully planned schedule can quickly become fodder for your three year old.

Solution: Get up early is often the best way to increase your productivity while those little angels are still slumbering away.

Challenge 3#

There are always days when work piles up and you need more time than you were projecting.

Solution: Have contingency plans for days when the work load requires more attention than usual is an excellent way to head off disasters before they happen. Find local babysitters who are willing to come to your home to help out when needed. Recruit friends and family to provide occasional entertainment for short periods of time to allow you to work without interruptions.

Remember, when you are working at home, anything that helps you keep focused is a good investment in preserving your sanity.

Challenge #4

You need office support, supplies or other experts but don't know where to look. Business directories, Internet advertisements and even newspaper ads are clogged with scams and incapable providers.

Solution: Finding service providers that are both competent and trustworthy is a lesson in perseverance. Seeking the advice of a seasoned home business veteran can be your salvation. I have always relied on referrals. Word of mouth will reveal strengths and problems with service providers.

If you find that you have chosen poorly and end up with a full sized, ten year old copier in your den instead of that sleek, all-in-one model with all the bells and whistles that you paid for, don’t despair. Don’t back down either. You can explain your dissatisfaction firmly and politely while explaining that the services were not acceptable. If after bringing the blunder to the business’ attention, you are still left feeling cold, you can report the offender to the Better Business Bureau and call for legal advice.

Don't forget the perks!
While there challenges associated with working at home, running a business from your home has a few perks, especially at tax time. Consult with a tax expert or accountant early on will arm you with the knowledge necessary to save you time and money when filing your first year’s business taxes.

Using good old common sense, a little street smarts and a lot of charm and honesty will help your achieve your business goals, while allowing you to keep your sanity and your home life intact.

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Working from home shouldn't be a distant dream. Make it a reality: