The Soft Skills of Running a Home Business

Dr. Purushothaman
December 9, 2013

Working from home can be an exciting experience. In fact, it's one of the fastest growing parts of the economy. In my neighborhood alone, I can stand in front of my house and point to three other households, besides my own, that have started a home based business in the past year. There is nothing quite like commuting from your bedroom to your kitchen, and then to your desk on the other side of the house. However, there are some things that absolutely must be in place if it's going to work. Relationships in the house can get strained if your business activities start to dominate too much. Remember, you are turning your home into a place of employment and there are some basic rules and skills that work for home based businesses. If you are like most people, your home is a busy place with lots of things going on within it so everyone needs to be on the same page.

First things first - you must have a set time for doing business. You don't have to make a perfect schedule, but you do need to find what works. Maybe you have a system where you post hours for the day or week on the calendar so everyone knows. The tendency to keep working all hours of the day because you see the opportunity to make more money is tempting, but it can cause family problems if you are not careful. It's important to communicate effectively to your family members so that you can concentrate on your business, while not sacrificing relationships in your household.

Have a separate space to do your work. This doesn't need to be elaborate, but it does need to be a designated space where people know you are working. Remember, home based businesses are designed to give you more time and money in your life so having a space where you can work without interruption is critical. The best thing to do is get behind a closed door with a sign on it that says, "Business Being Conducted. Do Not Disturb!" That way everyone knows that you are in the office, working to support your household. Also, putting a completion time on your sign will make it even clearer. Even if you did post the time somewhere else in the house, having it right there will be a good reminder.

Don't let interruptions interfere with your work. This can be the toughest rule of all to enforce. If you are going to be successful with your home based business you need to remind people of the rules if they get broken. If your kids are constantly knocking on the door and interrupting your work then you need to set firm rules. You are, after all, doing this for them so the rules need to be respected and followed. Now, you don't need to be terribly harsh about it but the point does need to be made.

Get some business support. The kind of business you are running will depend on how much daily interaction you have with the outside world. If you run a wonderful day care center in your basement, your only interaction is with small children all day. If you have an online business and don't get to talk to people then you may become isolated. Getting some outside contacts within your field of business can be a great way to learn more about business and help keep your sanity! Lots of organizations offer business networking groups. Everywhere from your local church to the Chamber of Commerce have opportunities to get you in contact with people outside the household. You should definitely take advantage of them.

Above all, enjoy your home based business. There may be some struggles, especially in the beginning. However, the rewards can far outweigh all that. There is nothing quite like being able to successfully make an income on a part time or full time level that truly supports your life.

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