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You Are Here: Home - Newsletters - "Organized For A Living" - Article

     I'm My Own Boss -- It's Wonderful!

You’ve decided to start your own business. After all, having a home office sounds like a DREAM come true. No one to disturb you, no boss looking over your shoulder and you get to set your own hours. Really? Not quite!

It’s actually a daily struggle of WHEN -– when to wake up, when to go to bed, when to clean the house, when to eat, when to call a friend, and even when to go to the bathroom! Becoming a home based business means setting a daily SCHEDULE of hours that you’re in your office, the best time to take a lunch break, and the best time to stop working. If you work with clients outside of your home, this schedule can be more flexible, but you still must be committed to having office hours to take care of the administrative details. Following are some tips to help ease you into that new world of work you’ve created.

Start out right, and make your bed immediately upon arising. It's easier to face the day working at home when your environment is in order -- and you won’t be inclined to jump back into bed after it’s made! Get DRESSED as soon as possible –- you will feel more “official” and be more inclined to get some real work done than if you spend the day sitting around in your pajamas. And make sure you eat a good breakfast to give you ENERGY for a full day's work.

Set definite office HOURS so that your time is structured. Make yourself go to work at the same time each day, just like you would if you worked for someone else. Of course, if you have young children at home, your office hours will have to be scheduled around them so that you’re not disturbed. And during these work hours, do not MI business and home -– so no washing dishes instead of trying to land that big client, or working on your Mustang when you’ve got sales to make.

You don't have to slave away, nose to the grindstone every minute of your work day. if you worked for someone else, you would get up every once in a while -- even just to talk to the copy machine or go ask your boss a question. Do the same for yourself at home. Take ten minute BREAKS to get something to drink, go to the bathroom (which we tend to forget when we’re engrossed), and walk around a little. Just don't sit down in another room or you won’t go back to the office. And absolutely make sure that you take a one to two hour break to eat LUNCH, wash the dishes, watch television, go for a walk around the block, call your friends, or whatever else relaxes you. If you limit your "goofing off" time to this period, you will stay more focused the rest of the day.

Entrepreneurs tend to work LONGER hours than many office workers. That's partly because we feel a greater responsibility for the success of our businesses -- and partly because your office is always there, just one room away, waiting for you. It’s okay to spend 10-12 hours a day in your home office (because that's how long your workday might have been when you went to an outside office, with commute time) -- but that should be your limit. In setting your office hours, be just as strict about QUITTING time as you are with the start of your day. Learn how to walk away in the evenings and on the weekend.

Having a home office can be fun and a wonderful way of life. If you haven’t started one yet but are thinking about it, take a good look at yourself and your HABITS. If you hate keeping to a schedule and are not especially self-disciplined or a self-starter, you’re asking for problems. You may need to talk this over with someone who really knows you. Can you meet deadlines without someone breathing down your neck? Can you invoice your clients and track payments? Do you know how to send in estimated taxes? Do you know how to get a business license and set up your company legally? Do you know where support groups are for networking? Do you know about advertising? If you feel that any of these areas would be a real CHALLENGE, get some help before you plunge head-first into self-employment.

All of these issues, and more, confront you when you work from home in your own business. If your business grows and you open up an office outside your home, many of these issues will still follow you, only now you may be faced with hiring employees. So set some good habits as a boss to yourself first, and potential FUTURE employees will thank you!


Sheila McCurdy is a professional organizer specializing in hoarding issues. She is the author of "The Floor Is Not An Option" -- available directly through www.OnlineOrganizing.com.

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