For many years, I counseled home-based business people. I was uniquely qualified in that I had owned a successful travel business before entering the world of corporate bureaucracy. When I made the leap back to sole proprietorship, it was baptism by fire and I had to adapt rather quickly. I discovered that as a professional working from home, there were a few things I needed to do differently than working from an office. Five things come to mind that every home-based professional must do to thrive.
1. Manage financial risk.
In the corporate world, risk management is about minimizing negative impact of financial and managerial decisions. Most decisions are made by committee or die a slow death from analysis paralysis. In my world as CEO & Chief Commode Cleaner, that risk translates into overhead. Every dollar I spend, is a dollar I put in someone else pocket! As such, I am very cognizant of the ROI of every penny spent on the business. Most of the tools we use are available via monthly subscription such as Office 365, webinar, and CRM. These costs add up quickly! It is easy to get caught up in the “30 day free trial” sales pitches. Salesforce.com in particular will chase you down like a rabid dog. I learned to say “no” a lot. I watch for opportunity and invest where it makes sense, but out of control monthly overhead is not a risk worth taking.
2. Set boundaries.
After selling my first business, I had a non-compete agreement and had to leave the industry for a little while. So, I went to work for as a salesperson for a national home builder. I was the guy sitting in the model home in a large master planned community. Tuesday & Wednesday was my version of what the rest of the world called a weekend. Since most buyers tended to contact me during their working hours (Monday – Friday), my phone would ring off the hook on my days off. It was during this period that I learned the concept of “My Time / Your Time”. In fact, the company taught the concept to help prevent sales people from burning out. And it works! Provided you set the boundaries with your clients in the beginning, they will for the most part respect them. Set business hours and make sure not just your clients know, but also your family. As we all know, since we don’t “go to work”, we aren’t really working, right? Make sure your spouse and other family members respect your working time instead of sending you off to Costco.
3. Have your own space.
For many years, I traveled so much that I literally worked out of my briefcase. That is until I decided to make the jump from corporate life back to home-based business professional. We have a typical 3- bedroom home & I wrongly assumed I would work from the dining room table like I always did. I quickly learned that my wife’s expectation and mine were slightly askew. She made it clear, I had to gather up my things at the end of the day and bring them back out each morning after she left. That didn’t work for me, so she set up my desk in the only unoccupied space in the house –the laundry room. Granted it is large, with a murphy bed for guests – but it was still the laundry room. That didn’t work for me either. I found that I was spending a lot of time in the garage on phone calls – so clients would not hear the dogs bark every time a squirrel taunted them. I liked the garage, it was my space, so every spring around this time, I move back into my “Gar-office.” It has a great view and lots of fresh air!
4. Get out of the house!
I don’t know about you but I can only take so much time staring at the monitor or talking on the phone – I was going nuts! I did a couple of things. I go for a 45 min walk every day. This keeps the blood flowing and the pounds off. I also try to work from Starbucks one day a week. The energy I get just from being around people is huge. There is a group of regulars, so it has allowed me to expand my social & work networks.
5. Surround yourself with good people.
I surround myself with a team of trusted colleagues. My wife is one of the smartest people I know, even though she regulated me to the laundry room – I eventually forgave her. She & my team help me recognize opportunities and are instrumental in the decision-making process. I have had great luck hiring freelancers for project work through UpWork.com for things like graphics and editing.
Elite athletes and top business professionals employ coaches to help them grow and improve their skills. I do as well. Coaches have their own area of expertise. I had one to help me with public speaking, another for business, and one for personal development. Not all at the same time, but I hire each as needed and can honestly say they are a big factor in the growth and success of my business.
There are, of course, many other things that affect our sanity but start with these five things and you will be a happier and more successful business owner.
Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor, sales consultant, author, and speaker. His personal development and consulting firm helps develop sales oriented business leaders and entrepreneurs, His best-selling book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com.
For information on Dan’s Sales Acceleration programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com
©2018 Dan Chappelle / CCI Inc.