How to Work From Home Productively

Updated on May 8, 2017
Sara Millis profile image

Sara works at My Indie Life Blog where she helps makers and creatives turn their hobby into business.

I've worked from home for myself for the last 11 years and I often get asked how I get things done, or how difficult it is to stay focused. So I though I ought I'd write something about it so that you can decide for yourself if it's something you want to do.

Working from home can be very rewarding. It has given me the flexibility to earn in a way that works with my own lifestyle and it and can be a great option if you are starting up a micro- or cottage-industry-style business because your overheads are much lower.

Working for yourself does require a hardworking mindset though and this is how many home-based startups go broke... you have to work at it!

Ask yourself: are you the ideal person to run a business from home?

To run a business from home you need to be:

  • self disciplined
  • motivated
  • hardworking
  • able to work towards goals you create to drive you forward

You also need to be prepared to dig deep when things get busy and work extra hours to get things done.

People who work for themselves often say that they work harder than they have ever worked before and I'd say that's 100% accurate.

Should I work from home?

It can be incredibly rewarding working for yourself at home and really convenient if you have a small family.

Sometimes though it can be incredibly frustrating… too many ‘life’ things seem to get in the way of your work and people don’t always respect what you do!

So how do you balance that? How do you create an environment where you can be successful at self employment from home?

You need to set boundaries!

Setting boundaries early on will help those around you understand that when you say you are ‘working’ that it means work and that they need to steer clear and give you some space for a while.

You can do this very simply and without any need for bad feeling.

  1. Set your ‘working hours’ and people know that during these times you will be unavailable for phone calls, or visits.
  2. Set up a working area and let people know that this is your ‘office’ and when you sit down to work you are not to be disturbed.
  3. Explain your workload to those around you. This doesn’t have to be a blow by blow daily accounting of your tasks, but let them know that you are coming up to a busy period and that you might need some quite time.

By doing all of these you are establishing polite boundaries with those around you. This should help them understand the need to respect your work time and will help you become less frustrated with their interruptions.

If you have a really young family at home then you may need to ask for more support from your partner as they return from work, or work when the children are napping.

Plan your time!

When you do get to work often you can feel overwhelmed by your never ending task list. So let’s make things simple and plan your time better;

  • Plan your goals ahead of time and break them done into manageable time based tasks, things that you can achieve in your working window.
  • Make sure to plan in important deadlines, so you can prioritise your goals.
  • Know your annual business scheduleknowing when your key selling times and production times are each year will clearly mark out your busiest working times.
  • Automate parts of your business - planning and scheduling automated messages from your website, email, newsletter, or social media will help you keep the momentum of sales and advertising whilst you are working on other things.
  • Having a clear offer, service and website: these will help cut down on the query emails you get while you are working.

Create a better 'working' mindset!

One of the most important things we can do to be taken seriously when working from home; by those around us and ourselves is to create a better working attitude.

You can do this very simply by:

  • Getting dressed each morning like you were going out to work.
  • Dedicating a space to work at.
  • Switching off all distractions.
  • Setting your working hours.
  • Devoting specific times for lunch and breaks.

Be prepared to learn

One of the keys to my success has been my willingness to learn.

In your business you will wear every hat. One day you are the creator, the next day you are the customer service rep, the accountant and so on. All of these tasks are skill you will need to be open to learning and improving on.

There is no manual, or course out there that that can mould you into the perfect business owner. You have to work at it.

If you are prepared for all of this and more

... then I think you have the beginnings of the right entrepreneurial approach to working from home.

Now you just need an idea!

Here are some great ideas for home based start-ups

Virtual Assistant
Product-Based Business
Service-Based Business
freelance content creator
remote based PA
handmade crafts, or gifts
personal trainer
social media manager
clothing: vintage, or new
freelance journalist
customer service rep
beauty products
builder/utilities engineer

© 2017 Sara Millis


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