Working From Home: Blessing Or Curse?
Organizing tips for freelancers
The term "home-based business" was once something that seemed strange to most people, as the model of the classic employer-employee relationship that took place in a particular space out of the house (office/shop, etc.) for specific hours daily, constituted the only way of working that was considered "normal". Nowadays, work from home jobs or freelancing is a very common choice for many professionals. But, is it also an efficient one?
One of the main reasons for failure or delay of development in the field of home-based businesses is the misinterpretation of the phrase "I have no employer anymore". If "I don't have a boss" equals "I work whenever I want, if I want to" on your mind, then your new business is surely built on loose foundations.
Working from home requires systematizing, professionalism, consistency, responsibility, monitoring, and self-evaluation, observing results, adapting to developments, and much more.
If you have therefore chosen a professional activity that is carried out by you, then:
1. Don't forget it's a job
If you used to wake up early and go to an office but suddenly you think you can build a business by staying in bed till noon and dealing with your tasks 2-3 times/week, you are just fooling yourself.
The only place results come before work is in the dictionary. Work!
2. Set your goals
What exactly do you want from this new activity? How much money do you need on average per month? How many hours per day do you need to invest to reach an income that meets your monthly needs? Are you prepared to invest this time?
3. Create a stable workplace at home
Working from home can be a lot of fun sometimes. You feel lucky to be able to make money while wearing your pajamas, replying to emails while eating your lunch, etc. I don't want to ruin your dream but, this cannot become the norm. It should only be an exception.
If you are dressed as if you were in your bed, you are dangerously flirting with relaxation. Is this something you want for your business? You are both the employee and the employer. Would you like to have your employees working for your business having a sleepy mood? Obviously not. So why do that to yourself?
Place all the necessary equipment (computer, documents, printer, etc) in a specific area of the house. If there is no separate room available, make a corner in the living room. Have a solid point where you will keep everything you need for your work and avoid wasting time and energy looking for necessary stuff. Then, decide that this is your workplace and try not to confuse it with the rest of the "home atmosphere".
Get to work normally, even though it is next to your bedroom!
4. Create a blueprint for your business that will define both your action plan and your daily activity
- What do you offer; What is your product and/or service?
- Who are you targeting? What is your audience? Describe your ideal consumer and visualize that person.
- Why would this audience want your product and/or service? What is their need?
- How will your message get to these people? What advertising strategy will you follow?
- What will your daily action plan include to achieve your business goals? When exactly will you start implementing the plan? In how many days will you evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and redefine it?
Your plan will work best if it's written. I know your argument over a non-written plan: "In everyday life, a lot of unexpected things come up and I will have to change it anyway". My answer is "yes, you will definitely need to change it some days. But to change it, you must have it first ”. And it cannot fit into your mind. Write it down.
5. Make self-discipline a friend and manage your time efficiently
- When working on a business-related topic, make sure there is nothing on your desk besides the paperwork or equipment you need for this specific activity.
- Before you start working, try to "control" as much communication as possible from others, possible interference, etc. Make it clear to friends and relatives that you are working at these hours.
- Don't interrupt your work every ten minutes to check your emails, reactions and comments on social media, your messages. Set a specific frequency or time you will be dealing with these. Focus on what you do at any given moment so that it is completed according to your timetable.
- Every night, make the next day's "to-do list" with details that had emerged and could not be found in the general plan you wrote. Whatever you didn’t do, put it first on the next day's list and try to keep it from shifting from one day to the next.
6. Stay up to date on your industry's developments
Keep up to date on new methods, techniques, tools that could take your business a step forward. Keep the rating filters firmly in the way you read and adopt only the ideas that fit the values you set for yourself as a professional.
7. Insert self-assessment in your life and see which skills you need to improve
Observe yourself and enrich your list of skills or develop skills you already have when you consider them important for your productivity. Make "S.R.R" a habit: Self-observation, Reflection, Re-adjustment.
Having worked for 12 years with independent/self-employed distributors/freelancers/entrepreneurs but also with others who have, I definitely say that the profitability and effectiveness of a home-based business, depends basically on the person who runs it. The way he/she treats it is what makes it either a blessing or a curse.
If you have an irresponsible, unprofessional, or roguish attitude, your business will respond accordingly. Be professional and serious, become your ideal employee until you will have built a solid core performance base and then you will have a more flexible, more carefree daily life that really won't contain a boss. Until then, be your own boss.