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Time Management For Home Based Businesses [NASE Expert]

Aug 27, 2012

A friend of mine made the break from the corporate world a number of years back and set up her graphics business in a spare bedroom. After struggling for over a year to get out of the red, she realized that her years in the corporate world had left an ingrained corporate office mind-set. The end result was that she rented office space and got her entrepreneurial attitude, and her business, going in the right direction.

Some people can be their own worst bosses and the home office environment requires a special set of attitudes. Basing your business out of your home might be a great idea, or it might end up being a negative affect on your business growth. The key is to understand how to make your home a successful place to operate your business from.

Organization and time management is critical to the success of the home based entrepreneur.

A few basic rules to help:
1. Have a heart-to-heart talk with the family (especially children) to discuss some basic ground rules. Everyone needs to understand that there are times when you are not to be disturbed. This might mean a closed door or some sort of signal. One person I know has a special baseball cap that he wears when the “do not disturb” sign is out.
2. Understand your body clock. Some people are more productive in the morning, others at night. Find out when you do your best work and schedule that time for office hours. While some things can not be changed, like client appointments, if you are a night owl there is nothing wrong with working till the wee hours of the morning.
3. Don't let neighbors steal your time because you happen to be home during the day. This can become a real time thief if you allow people to think that you are available to drop everything for a cup of coffee or do them a favor.
4. Don’t answer the home phone during business hours. This means having a dedicated phone number for business calls. If you try to take the cheap route and use your home phone for both personal and business you not only present an unprofessional image but also open yourself to wasted time talking to people you don’t need to talk to.
5. Your best friend is a good appointment system (either an appointment book or your smart phone). Most people are more committed when something is in writing. An appointment system with each day broken into time intervals let’s you keep track of your commitments. Put everything in your schedule, even if it’s to catch your kiddo’s soccer game at 4 o’clock on a Wednesday.
6. Establish a standard routine. Example; you might schedule every Friday from 2 pm to 3 pm to do your bookkeeping or pay bills. Or every Wednesday and Thursday between 9 am and 11:30 am is your designated time to make marketing contacts.
7. Don’t get homebound. The body needs sunlight, fresh air, and to hear the voices of other than your family and clients. Get involved with business people or groups so you don’t get burned out

Being a captain of industry from your home has a lot of advantages. But, you have to be careful not to fall into bad time management traps. While there are a lot of tips for keeping yourself on track, the best advice is to use common sense and discover the devices that motivate you the most.

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