Work-at-Home Realities

by Des Menz posted in Home Business Tips

It's been said many times - the main reason that people choose to work from home is because they can work when and where they want, they are in total control of their time, they don't have to answer to anyone else, and they have freedom.

But how true is all this?


It is true that you can set your own work hours when you work at home but it does NOT mean that you don’t have to have set work hours. I've been self-employed since 1989 with both my offline and online business, and there's one essential ingredient that I discovered and applied very early on - discipline

Discipline in using time, and discipline in cost control (i.e. spending).

This article explores these two essential elements of a successful home business operation - time and costs.

The discipline of time

A ‘hit or miss’ work schedule…or rather, the lack of any work schedule, simply will not work. Time is of the essence! YOUR time! 

Two of the biggest negatives of working at home are …

  • if you do not plan your time well, and 
  • if you do not set up a work schedule that you and your family can live with. 

Note that I said - You and Your Family.

Your family is an integral part of your time schedule, and they should not be a second or third priority. If they are, goodbye home business!

Although time really is of the essence, so too is planning for a balance to achieve an even spread of time. 

There will be times when you might not be as efficient as you could be, but that doesn't matter greatly, as long as you're sticking to your priorities. 

Plan for a balance, plan to give your time to others, plan to spend only "x" hours in your home office each day.

If you need to make up your time, then perhaps working at night is an option - when your loved ones don't require your time. 

But remember, if you are not reasonably efficient in accomplishing the tasks that must be done, you will either spend too much time working or you will fail at your work at home job or business. 

Here are a few useful rules ...

  • allocate time to each important part of your life
  • set up a work schedule to achieve a balanced and healthy life for yourself
  • enforce that work schedule and insist that your family and friends also adhere to your work schedule
  • get out of the office when you know that your efficiency is sliding
  • take a break every hour for 10 minutes - don't sit endlessly on your backside

         Other posts you might be interested in …

Stand up to work           Making the best use of time        

                Four factors for a balanced life

How to save money and spend less

Now to another "discipline" - BUDGETING and cost control.


A home business will only survive when ….

Simple and logical, isn't it? But we should all remind ourselves very often about this reality.

This is the real world. It’s what happens in business.

There's absolutely no point in hanging on to a work-at-home dream if all it leads to is a loss of income and a drain on your time. If you think your business is at risk of this happening, then re-evaluate your priorities and find a source of offsite income that can be used to meet your priorities.  When your income stabilises, then perhaps some money could be diverted to subsidise your work-at-home dream. 

Many people aspiring for sustainable home business income, start out with a part-time or out-of-hours business that's combined with their offline job. That is the best way to start, and for some it is the only way that can work. Offline + Online work gives to best of both worlds.

But by all means, set an initial budget to spend, set a schedule to achieve break-even, but set a time period to achieve profit.

Write down your pathway to achieve that profit. This is critical, and I've written about it BRING ON NEW TIMES.

So, if you have a good business model already planned, or if you have an info-product that you think will be successful, then consider these next few strategies about cost control.

Strategy #1 
Don’t buy every piece of software that comes along. Many home business operators are
software junkies. They get hooked on software….all kinds of software…and before they 
know it there's more software than they need or can use. 

Strategy #2

You'll be selling a service or a product, so avoid buying bigger tools and programs than you actually need. Start off with the basics, then graduate to the next level if necessary and are required.


Strategy #3

Avoid spending on unnecessary advertising. For an online business, many new entrepreneurs will start out running advertising campaigns with few limits, in the desperate hope of achieving quick money. It won't happen, and will be a huge waste of advertising dollars.

Learn to read the statistics that are provided to you by search engines and gear your advertisements to only appear in search results under very controlled circumstances and only during specific hours. It isn’t hard to run up a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) bill of several thousand dollars in a very short period of time and not make a single sale in the process. There's a better way, and it's next.

Strategy #4

Take full advantage of free advertising to build your business and your credibility. There are free ways to advertise that are almost as effective as PPC advertising and paid-for advertising in E-zines and newsletters. 

Here are several free advertising methods:

1. Write E-books and articles and submit them to E-book repositories and article banks for others to use free of charge. (These articles and E-books are accompanied by your resource box and includes your name and your website address.)

2. Post to blogs and forums that are related to the products and services that you sell. Make sure to add a signature that includes your name and your website address, to your post.

3. Exchange a banner ad with another website owner who promotes products and services that are complimentary to the products and services you sell is yet another method of free advertising. Creating a banner ad is a whole different topic, so I'll cover that at a future time.

4. Build an opt-in list. Email advertising is free.

5. Make your email advertisements viral. There are a number of techniques that can be used to encourage the recipients of your advertising emails to share them with friends and family.

6. Create your own blog and post to it often.

The Bottom Line

Remember the simple formula … Income - Expenses = Profit

Keep that in your head at all times. Monitor your costs frequently. Change your approach and strategies to suit your (financial) times.

Keep your feet on the ground. By this I mean don't get hooked into all the hype about an online business. There’s a lot more to making a living with an Internet business than what the hyped up ads tell you. And the truth is, some people find out too late that it’s not as glamorous as they were led to believe. Don't let this be you.

Create a plan, write it down. Write everything down - strategies, pathway, time schedules, resources and tools to use, your progress, cost budget. 

Stick to it, but be open to change. Change course if necessary, change for the better. Persevere with your goals. And if you want more help, Map Your Goals Guide could be your answer.

Let us know about your own work-at-home experiences? 

What strategies are you using that you can share?

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