Disclaimer: I know I previously used this picture in another post, but it just seems to fit with this one as well!
If you are thinking about becoming a work at home mom or dad, you probably already know that the decision you are making is a huge one. Working at home takes a lot of time, effort and patience. You can’t expect your home business or home job to begin thriving overnight. However, if you work hard and steadily grow your business, you can expect a good return for your effort. If you have decided to work at home to take care of your children, an aging relative or simply to help more around the house, you are going to want to develop a plan from the beginning.
Working at home can be time consuming and difficult and you most likely won’t be able to accomplish everything you want to do—unless you are Supermom or Bree Van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives (which I think might have been the same person).
Below I have listed 5 tips to help you build a thriving work from home career from the beginning, while not losing your mind. Keep in mind that these tips are a mixture of things that will help you with your home life and your work at home life—which really needs to balance out in order for your business to grow and your sanity to stay intact.
Maintain a Schedule. I know that you have heard me talk about scheduling before and you may even be getting tired of all this schedule talk; however, I can not stress schedules enough. Your schedule does not have to list hour upon hour activities, but it should be an outline to help you stay on track with all that you have to do. If you are trying to build a contact list or market a product, you need to set so many hours a day so that you put in a consistent effort. Inconsistency will only cause you to have to try to catch up in order to build the contacts or product interest you need. You should also add in the activities you need to complete with your children. Kids, even little ones, can keep you busy. Scheduling all of their activities will help you to see what time you have left in your day and allow you to add in some extra work time.
Don’t attempt to be perfect. I’m throwing this one in here because I have met a lot of work at home individuals who think that they need to be Super Work at Home Mom or Dad and then stress out or even quit when they can’t live up to that title. Life is stressful. Things happen that we can’t control. You need to understand that you don’t have to be perfect at your work from home career and that you can settle for being good. Work hard at your business or job, but not so hard that you end up dragging yourself down in the process.
Start networking. When you begin working from home, whether you are running a business or working an at home job, you need to network. Networking with like minded people—preferably specific to your industry—can help you learn a lot about the work at home world and can even help your business to grow. There are a lot of groups online where WAHMs share business and home advice and swap work at home war stories. Finding one of these groups or simply talking to work at home individuals in your area can go a long way in helping you succeed.
Realize you may not be able to do it all alone. Smart people realize when they need to delegate certain activities to others, while stubborn people want to prove they can do it all. If you have a lot of work on your plate, or the kids have a lot of activities on a particular day, you may need a little help getting everything done. Example: You need to send out emails to potential customers and may even have to call a few to answer questions. However, little Susie-Q has to be at her dance practice at 4. What do you do? If the work cannot be put off, you may need to call in a family member to take Susie-Q to practice. You might even want to consider asking for help with all of your emails. Whichever works for you, simply do it. Stressing out over the amount of work you have to do, or the amount of time you spend running kids here and there, isn’t good for you or your family. As your business grows, you may even want to consider hiring someone to help with your work at home business for a couple hours a week.
Keep set work hours. Even if they have a schedule, many people end up working until the early hours of the morning just to complete tasks on time. I’m not saying that you may not have to do this every now and then, but please don’t make a habit of it. Write up a work schedule (don’t forget to add in the children’s activities we talked about in tip 1) and stick to it as best as you can. If you want to begin work 2 hours before the kids wake up, take a 4 hour break to spend part of the day with them and then start working again after dinner—write your schedule that way. Many of us work “overtime hours” at times, but if you attempt to do it every day—you will quickly burn out.
I hope that you have found these tips helpful. Work at home moms and dads need to ensure that they keep their sanity for the sake of their businesses and their kids.
Do you have any work at home tips you would like to share?