Developments in technology have meant that, for more and more people, running a business from home is now a viable proposition. No longer does owning a company mean renting premises and commuting to a second, business-dedicated location each morning; instead, your home becomes your office, and you can enjoy the benefits of setting your own schedule and working in an environment that is quite literally surrounded by home comforts.
With that said, running a business from home is not necessarily plain sailing; it’s still a wonderful choice, but there will be the occasional challenges that rise up and need to be addressed. In this piece, we’ve identified three of the most common issues that home-based entrepreneurs face, as well as advice on how you can successfully find a way through…
#1 – Domestic needs bleeding into working hours
Spending time working away from home is an effective distraction from all domestic chores, responsibilities, and tasks on your to-do list; you literally can’t be distracted by these issues because you’re in a completely different physical location. However, when you’re working on your business from home, domestic necessities are ever-present, to the point where you find yourself cleaning the kitchen floor or repairing a leaky tap at 1.30pm.
The conventional way to address this issue is to simply be disciplined; you work a full day, pausing only for lunch and short breaks, and your to-do list and other chores wait until you have finished for the day. However, you may find it easier to actually work in short blocks of two or three hours, then complete a chore, then go back to work – this may mean that you’re working a little later into the evening, but it does mean that when you finish for the day, everything (chores and professional tasks) is complete, so you can fully relax.
#2 – An excessive workload
Most – if not all – home-based entrepreneurs will, at least initially, be solely responsible for the running of their business, which inevitably means that they have to wear many hats. The entrepreneur has to be the customer service department, the receptionist, the financial analyst, and so much more, which can lead to a very heavy workload that results in many, many late nights and working weekends. Over time, the cumulative effect of so much work can result in the development of burnout and similar issues.
In a non-home-based business, the solution to this issue would often be to hire staff – but such an option is rarely viable with a home-based business, not least due to space constraints. However, you can still access the assistance your company needs by exploring options such as outsourcing financial management to accountancy firms, using the likes of virtual reception services to ensure all enquiries are dealt with in a timely and professional manner, and hiring customer service reps who work remotely rather than in-house; this should reduce the number of ‘hats’ you have to wear, and ensure your workload becomes more manageable.
Challenge #3 – Feeling stir-crazy
When you work from home, you will – of course – spend far more of your day in your own property. Most people tend to imagine that all those hours at home will be nothing but enjoyable; that they will work happily and more productively from their home environment, benefiting from the ability to relax and set their own working conditions in a way that simply isn’t possible in a conventional workplace. The reality, however, tends to be quite different; many people who work from home find themselves feeling a little “stir crazy” from time to time – and it’s easy to understand why, given that they are now spending all of their professional time and a significant amount of their personal time in the exact same space.
The best way to address this issue is to spend more time outside of your home during the workday, simply taking your work with you if you find yourself needing a change of scenery. After all, running a business from home does not mean you always have to be at your home. You could take your laptop to a local cafe or coworking space for a few hours, or go for a walk around your local neighborhood while you mull over a business decision you need to make or listen to messages from your clients.
Running a home-based business can cause a few potential challenges, but the advice above should help you to find a way through each issue so that you can instead focus on all the benefits of running a business from your own home.