Getting ready to work from home

By Rhonda Campbell
Getting ready to work from home may require more mental than physical preparation. There’s generally an adjustment period you go through, making the shift from employee to employer. Depending on how self-confident you are as well as how long you’ve been working for someone else, it could take weeks or months to make the shift successfully.

One of the first steps you may take during the shift involves accepting the fact that it’s your responsibility to build interest in your business. It also might be a bit of a shift to learn that it’s your responsibility to develop a marketing plan, manage your company’s cash flows and build rewarding relationships with your target audience.

It’s a lot to absorb. No wonder many people, perhaps even you, stay at a job they absolutely despise year after year after . . . Starting your own business and working from home is not for the faint of heart.

To prepare to attract paying customers and manage your company’s finances, you could enroll in a no-cost or low-cost marketing, economics or accounting courses. You could also seek out a business mentor, someone who is consistently achieving success in the field you want to operate your business in. Reading books, joining professional networks and discussion forums are other steps you could take to get ready to work from home.

Other ways to get ready to work from home, steps that might not readily jump out at you follow. By taking these steps, you might save yourself time and money, not to mention loads of headaches.

  • Get clear about your reasons for going into business for yourself (even though you’re working from home, you’re still operating a business, self-employed or whether you hire staff)
  • Purchase dependable office equipment (depending on your business, a reliable computer and printer might suffice)
  • Practice strong time management skills (you might be surprised to discover how many distractions can pop up every day after you start working from home)
  • Develop a clear marketing plan (one that you stick with)
  • Identify a space where you’ll focus on business
  • Establish clear work hours (and let your family know what these work hours are)
  • Set time to complete certain projects/assignments (the same as you did while you worked for someone else)
  • Seek out relationships with new clients year round
  • Nurture existing client and customer relationships

One of the toughest things you’ll deal with as you work from home is distractions. For starters, there’s the Internet, ringing telephones, television, people holding interesting conversations outside your at-home office window, etc. The sooner you find a way to stay focused, the better. The sooner you get a handle on managing finances and gaining customers, the sooner you can start turning a profit.

It’s work, but if you pick a gig you love, one you’re truly passionate about, there’s a strong likelihood that it’ll be well worth it.

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