I am thrilled to talk to you today about the 8 Things every work from home professional needs to know and how they can help transform your business. My Name is Kelly Noble Mirabella, owner of Stellar Media Marketing and host of the Business as Unusual Podcast, and I have been an entrepreneur for 8 years. I have worked from home all 8 years in every aspect of the word. So today I am going to share with you what I have learned from my experience. Check out the podcast if you prefer to listen as you go or read my tips below.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
Having a dedicated workspace is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Step away from the dining room table or the comfy living room couch. You need a serious place to work that is dedicated to you and your business. Take this very seriously. You will immediately feel the difference it makes in your productivity and work when you create a designated space. If you are tight on space you can pick up a very affordable fold down desk at IKEA that takes up ZERO space. If you have more room to play with I highly recommend you set up an office in a room with a door. This helps you set boundaries (We will discuss this in a moment) and gives you a quiet place to work.
When you are a business, there are all kinds of boundaries people like to break. It is important that you start setting boundaries early on in your business. The first is the boundary of your workspace and time. This is especially important when you work from home. Your family and housemates need to know what your work hours are and you need to be able to dedicate yourself to your work during that time. Also, you need to set boundaries with your time and worth. Friends, family, connections and total strangers will come to you trying to get you to do work for free or for the price of a cup of coffee. You need to remember your knowledge and time is worth something and you need to figure out a way to let people know that you do not work for free. Now all that being said, sometimes you will find that giving of your time for free is worthwhile. Only you can make that distinction. I have personally always been an advocate for doing free classes or giving free advice. This exact practice has helped me to build a business primarily based on referral business. But you have to be sure you give yourself boundaries as well and make sure you are not always doing things for free at the expense of your time, your sanity, and your business.
Get out and Network
As a solo business person, you can sometimes get a little lonely. This is only one of the important reasons why you need to get out and network. Join a networking group or attend a couple of local events. Bring your business cards and make connections. All the hard work I put in networking when I started my business is now paying me back in dividends! Just don’t forget that the fortune is in the follow-up!
Socialize with like-minded positive people
Similar to networking, you need to get out and meet with like-minded friends and connections. Bounce ideas off of each other or just enjoy a break. One of my good friends is a business coach, so she always gives great perspective when I get together with her. This is especially helpful when you are feeling uninspired or blocked. Getting out and socializing with friends and like-minded people will get those creative juices flowing once again…And who knows, maybe you will help inspire someone else in return.
Have a Creative Outlet
Sometimes we get stuck. We lose inspiration, or we get stressed out from dealing with difficult people all day. When this happens, one of the best solutions is to jump into a fun hobby. It is especially helpful when your hobby is a creative outlet. This allows your mind to work on something creative that does not have to do with your work. This can help inspire your business ideas to take on new and fruitful directions. This can also help alleviate stress. Back when I first started my business, I personally enjoyed clay throwing. It was a great way to get my hands dirty and gave me a lot of stress relief. Nowadays I enjoy coloring, reading nonwork-related books and writing in my journal.
Entrepreneurs tend to be a little obsessive…For good reason. We need to be all in almost all the time to get past the hardest couple of years in business. However, even the most dedicated entrepreneur needs to take breaks. Stand up and stretch, eat lunch away from your computer, or get out of your house for a power walk. You will burn out very quickly if you do not take breaks to refuel. I can honestly say that some of my best ideas come to me when I am in a spin class or stretching in Pilates. Just get up, get out and take that break!
Unless you are using it for business, get off of Facebook when you should be working! But it’s not just social networks that can suck the attention and time away from an entrepreneur. Constant phone calls and interruptions can also cause distraction. Be sure to set those boundaries and create work hours where you will not take calls so you can focus. There are plenty of tools and apps that can help you turn off distractions and pump up productivity. One of my go-to strategies is making sure all my calls are scheduled. That’s right; I do not take any business related calls that are not scheduled. Now, this strategy will not work for everyone, and I have even had to let clients go who could not adapt. But this one thing cuts down a ton of wasted time in my business and keeps me on task.
Delegate and Outsource
Delegation is a scary word for entrepreneurs. We tend to be a little controlling when it comes to our business. But if we can learn to let go, your business can really grow. I learned this lesson about six years ago. I hired my sister in law to help me with a couple of tasks, and it opened my schedule WAY up to focus on the things that bring me the most joy and pay me the most money. Within two months my business doubled. Now I am in my 8th year of business and have since hired a Virtual Assistant. You can learn about my experience with my VA (who I hired 2 years ago) by checking out my podcast episodes titled “Working With A VA” which is an interview I did with my VA Laura as well as “Hiring A VA” where I talk about where I found my VA and how I utilize her. I often outsource jobs that I don’t care to work on, or I am not the expert at performing. Blogging (for clients), graphic design and admin tasks are just some of the task I hand off my plate so I can focus on what I do best.
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