Being a mom can be difficult, but on top of planning family budgets, carpooling, and taking care of an entire household, there are meetings to attend, phone calls to make, and shipments to schedule if you’re also a mom who works from home. How can one person possibly juggle all of that while starting a home business successfully? How can you handle the day-to-day pressures of family, work, and everything in between and still stay sane?
These tips for starting a successful home-based business can be the difference between your business thriving or failing. Whether you need tips for working at home with small children or some strategies to being productive while working at home, you can get started here!
How to Start a Home Business
1. Get Organized
The first thing any work-at-home mom should do is to get organized. You should write in your planner every day, maintain monthly, weekly, and hourly calendars, and create checklists for items you need to bring to meetings.
Being organized will show others that you are serious about running your own business. It will also save you time in planning projects and figuring out what your next step to further your business will be.
On top of staying organized with your business, you need to keep your family organized. Hang a family calendar up in a common area so everyone can fill in things they have scheduled for the week (i.e. practices, doctor appointments, plays) and make sure you look at it to keep up with what’s going on.
2. Keep a Separate Workspace
Not doing this is a big mistake that some may make. If you are a work-at-home-mom your home is your office. It may be difficult to not start working at the breakfast table, in your bed while still wearing pj’s, or even before brushing your teeth, but these are all big no-no’s!
Set work hours and a keep a separate workstation, even if it is a little counter space in one of the nooks and crannies of your home. If your workstation is your kitchen table or a common space, make sure you’re the only one utilizing your space during your worktime.
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If you don’t have a separate workstation or just want to take things out on the back patio somedays, a work caddy may come in handy so you can have everything you need right with you. Using a diaper caddy as a portable organizer works really well!
When you’re in your workspace treat it as if you are at the office and away from home. No personal calls, no unproductive web browsing, and definitely no neighbors stopping by for chats. When you’re at your workstation, you must work.
Yes, you should take breaks.
Don’t work yourself to the bone, but keep all distractions to a minimum. If you’re working at home with kids, try to keep them on a schedule and keep them busy.
You can set up a play area near your workstation and even try to be as productive as possible during naptime.
3. Unplug and Connect
This may not make sense when you first read it, but please listen to me on this one. You should never forget about your friends and family. Being an entrepreneur can be a 24-hour job with minimal pay, but set time aside to unplug from your laptop, cell phone, or tablet and connect with the ones who matter most.
They are your biggest supporters, so you should never neglect them. Honor the “mom” in mompreneur.
Remember, besides challenging yourself with an at home business, you’re also setting an example that you can be a hard worker and a caring family member. Plan family outings and or even a family night at home with board games.
You can spend just a little time talking to them about how excited you are about you new venture, but remember that your focus is spending quality time with your family while working from home. This will help in achieving balance as a work-at-home mom.
I know this is easier said than done, but it’s one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. When the leads stop rolling in, don’t give up. When the phone stops ringing, don’t give up. When you start to wonder why you even decided to go into business and you want to throw in the towel, don’t give up. You became an entrepreneur for a reason. Remind yourself of it daily. Maybe you have a passion for what you are doing, you always wanted to be your own boss, or maybe you just need the extra income.
Sometimes things will be difficult and even downright impossible. That’s when you need a support system. This can come from friends, family, online forums, and even other moms in business. Your support system lets you know you’re not alone. If your business isn’t progressing as fast as you were hoping, they can help you find new strategies and give you encouragement to continue on.
Remember, you can always take a day or so off and not feel guilty about it. Find ways to treat yourself while you’re on this whirlwind adventure. Once you feel rejuvenated and ready to go, then you can just jump right back into the game.
5. Share Expectations
As a work-at-home mom, you should share your expectations with those your business will affect. Let your family know that when you’re working, you’re not to be interrupted unless there is an emergency. When you’re working with clients, employees or contractors, it’s important to set clear boundaries for contact times and methods, as well as being specific about your work expectations. After all, their interaction will affect your family since your office is also your home.
I hope these tips will help you on your way to having a successful home-based business. Here are some tips that will also help you save time.