Yet these things that make your online business the answer to your prayers, are the same things that often cause your online business to fail.
I recently did a video about the offline business lessons that could save your online business. And I want to expand on that with a series of three articles that go deeper than the video. Because treating your home business more like a traditional J-O-B is going to be crucial for many of you. In fact, neglecting to do this leads to way more failure than lack of technical skill or knowledge about your market does.
I know you started your home business to get away from many of the drags of a traditional business or job. I know as an entrepreneur you like to color outside the lines. I appreciate that. It will serve your business well.
But, there are some pages in the book where you’ll want to keep your colors inside the lines. You’ll need to act like your home business is a real business. Because it is.
One area where you’ll want to act like your home business is the “real job” your friends and family have been telling you to get is scheduling. There are 5 things you can do to schedule your home business for success.
1. Set Work Hours
Here’s a common problem. You have a great plan for the things you need to do to get your online business into the profit zone. But, when you look back at your week, you find that you just didn’t have time to get many of them done.
Unless you are setting concrete work hours, this will be a problem all of your life. You are likely working around a day job, or kids, or keeping your house clean and food on the table, or all three. There is little chance you have extra time.
So it’s absolutely essential that you take a realistic look at your schedule and determine what specific hours you will work each day. You can do this weekly if your schedule changes a lot. Or, more ideally, you can have set hours just like the 9-to-5′ers do. The beautiful difference is that you set the hours, not your boss.
2. Work Them
Now this may seem obvious, but I’m making it a separate factor because it is easier said than done. And it’s where you probably struggle. There’s no one there to make sure you’re punching the clock.
Things come up. They do for all of us. And since you won’t get fired if don’t show up, it’s easy to justify doing your work “later.” A “later” that too often slips away into “never.”
Yes, there is room for shifting your scheduled hours occasionally. Flexibility is one of the fringe benefits of your home business. But, 95% of the time, you need to be working the hours you’re scheduled to work.
3. No Distractions
The rest of the world thinks that “work at home” means you don’t “work at all.” Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you’re available. Resist the urge to answer the door and the phone during your work hours.
Even when it comes to business calls, schedule the time you take calls. Phone calls are a huge distraction. And a huge time suck. Having a policy of only accepting and returning unscheduled calls at the end of your work hours will increase your productivity more than you can imagine.
4. Schedule Breaks
Scheduling breaks will be a tremendous factor in helping you keep your work hours. It will also greatly increase your productivity. Figure out the optimal number of minutes you can go at it hard before needing a break. Then, take a 10-15 minute break. A good schedule for most people is work 50 minutes, break for 10 minutes. Don’t try to work for more than 50 minutes without taking a break.
During your breaks you can throw in a load of laundry, put the beans in the crockpot, check the scores on SportsCenter. Just make sure your breaks don’t exceed the time they’re scheduled for.
5. Keep a Timesheet
Oh I know, you quit your job because you didn’t want to do this silliness. But if you don’t keep track of what you do during your work hours, there is little chance that you’re going to reach maximum productivity.
Your home business is a delicate balance between social media, content production, and training, for the most part. Unless you are conscious about fitting all of these activities into your business, you are probably lopsided.
Most people get stuck in information overload (training) and don’t find time to do the money-making activities (which is generally content production). It’s also super-easy to get drawn into social media. And 30 minutes later, 2 hours has passed.
Forcing yourself to write down what you do will keep you on track.
You might be surprised . . .
Some of these “rules” I’ve set up for your online business may seem a little constricting to your entrepreneurial spirit. Try them anyway. You’ll find that once you provide your business with this little bit of structure, it will actually be freeing to you.
I look forward to hearing your experiences. Do you use other techniques to schedule your home business? If so, please share with me in the comments below.