A home business can be easy to start. A good home business, on the other hand, takes more time to develop. It’s a long process, with no guarantee of success. However, there are some things you must have for the best chance at growing a successful home business.
1. A Why
Why are you starting a home business? Money, something to do, work you love, pride in what you’ve created… what are your reasons?
Money usually isn’t enough of a reason. For all you may want to earn more money, may need more money, it may not be as motivating as you think. Do something you don’t enjoy just for the money, and it eventually gets harder to do. It’s much better to earn money from home doing something you enjoy. It may take more time, but if you succeed, it will be a lot easier to keep going.
2. The Right Business
You won’t succeed with just any business. It’s easier to succeed in the right business… for you. Not for your friend, not for that guru online bragging about earning six figures a year. The right one for you.
Consider your work experience. What do you know how to do?
Consider your hobbies. Could one become a business?
Consider your family’s needs. What works with the time you have available? Will you need to work with the kids around? Are they in school part of the day? Will you need to pay for childcare?
Consider yourself. If you don’t enjoy going out and talking to people about your business, don’t pick one that requires it. If you hate being isolated with your computer all the time, don’t limit your business to online activities. Be sure the business is something you can enjoy doing.
Consider your target audience. None of the rest matters if you don’t have people interested enough in your business that you can make money from it. Passion is great, a passionate target audience is better. Fortunately, if you’re passionate about something you can make into a business, there are probably others too. You just have to do the research to figure out how to reach them.
3. A Reasonable Schedule
While you don’t need to have every minute scheduled, or even every hour, some sort of schedule for your work is a very good idea. Without one, it’s far too easy to slack off and get too little work done in a day or even a week.
Make it as detailed or loose as you prefer. Some people love their to-do lists – others hate them. Your schedule should work for you. If it pushes you a little bit, that’s a good thing, but if it interferes with more important things, rewrite it.
4. Family Support
Any kind of business is challenging, at home or not. But to run one without family support is all but impossible. There may be concerns, worries about expenses, the amount of time it takes, the risks and so forth. Talk about them. Get support where you need it, address family concerns where you can.
This can especially mean help around the house. If you’ve been a stay at home mom for a while, everyone may be used to you doing everything around the house. Running a home business means the rest of the family may need to do a little more. Make sure everyone knows to expect some changes and maybe some inconvenience. If you keep trying to do it all, you’re only making it harder on yourself, and that’s rarely necessary.
5. A Workable Budget
Running a home business usually involves spending some money. It may be a lot, it may be a little. Either way, you need a budget, money you know is okay to spend on your business. Expenses may include (but aren’t limited to):
- Domain name and hosting
- Website design
- Business cards
- Product supplies
You may not need to spend money on all of these things. You may be able to put up a basic website without hiring someone to do it for you, for example… then again, it could be money very well spent to have someone else do it. You may be able to find enough free information online to get a good start to your business without paying for training.
Whenever you choose to go the free route on things you business needs, make sure it makes sense for you and your business. Free can be the worst choice at times. Any time you choose free, be sure it really makes sense. Your time is valuable, and free often means you’re spending quite a bit more of your time on something that spending money could speed up significantly. The right purchase makes sense. Remember, just because you can do something for free or close to it doesn’t mean you should.
6. Time Off
It’s very easy to spend too much time working on your home business. it can feel as though you’re losing valuable work time when you take a break, whether it’s just 10 minutes, an evening, or a nice family vacation. Time off is important. It allows you to refresh your mind. People are more productive when they take an appropriate amount of time off work, not only each day, but over the long term.
Plan for breaks throughout your work day, and have an end to your working hours every day. There may be times when your business requires extra long hours, but don’t let it happen every day. That time off you’re avoiding may be exactly what you need to refresh your mind and get control of the problems taking so much extra time.
7. The Ability To Say “No”
Any business owner needs to know how to say “no.” No to demands on your time that you really don’t have time for. No to friends and family interrupting your work time unnecessarily. No to the household chores begging you to do them when you need to work. No to more work than you can handle.
When business is good, there may be times when you need to refuse more work or take on assistants. If you can’t handle the workload, you have to decide what to do about it. Do you refuse a client or project, or do you hire someone to help you make it happen? A virtual assistant may be a good choice to help you through these times if there’s something they can handle for you. But if you don’t want to hire help, even on a short term basis, you may have to say no when too much work is offered to you.
8. The Knowledge that You’re Not Perfect
You’re going to mess things us and get things wrong. Sometimes you’ll break all the rules you’ve set for yourself. Sometimes you’ll make bad decisions. These things happen, whether it’s a mistake in your business or in how you deal with your family.
Don’t let your mistakes stop you. Learn from them. Make the changes necessary to avoid the same mistake in the future and apologize as necessary. If you demand perfection of yourself all the time, you’ll never get anything done because nothing will ever be good enough.