When you start a home-based business, there are certain obstacles that always arise, especially for women. These aren’t things like marketing strategies or new technologies to learn, they are the unexpected challenges of working at home.
Here are some of the top obstacles and some tips on dealing with them:
The single biggest challenge of working at home, if you’re a parent, is dealing with your kids. Especially if you have young children, they’re sure to interrupt you. You’ll feel conflicted, because although your work is important, your kids need you and are probably even more important to you. For many people, it’s having children that motivated you to work at home in the first place.
The best way to deal with your children is to plan and pad out your time. If you want to get 8 hours of work done in a day, plan for 10; or 12-14 if you’re kids are very young. If you think a project will take 4 days, give it a fifth day to cover for the little emergencies that always come up.
It’s important not to multitask with kids. When you’re working, you should be focused on your work and not trying to take care of them at the same time. When they need you, you should be fully present with them, and not dashing to the computer to check emails. Time planning is essential for your sanity!
Spouse and Parents
Spouses and parents can present a different kind of problem. Most people don’t understand anything about working online or working from home. It’s a career choice that’s out of the ordinary. Others may not view it as a ‘real’ job and their negativity can poison you.
The best way to handle this situation is to educate your friends and family about your business. For example if you are trading online, they probably shop on Amazon, so explain that you’re doing the same thing but on a smaller scale. Show them the product or service you’re selling and show them how your business works. Be extra patient and realize that they may have the best intentions. Once they understand they will most likely see that you need their support and no interruptions!
Housework and Chores
Even if you run a profitable home business, the dishes need to be done, meals to cook and the laundry washed. When you get into a groove of scheduling and planning your work, add your housework and errands into this plan. Don’t let it slip, chores can take a massive chunk of your day if you are not careful. Another way to handle housework is to take care of it during your get-up-and-stretch breaks or you can hire a cleaner and eat out more!
There will always be technological problems like bad internet connections and computer breakdowns. Educate yourself as much as possible about how the tools you use work. Always have a backup plan in case things go haywire and you have a deadline (for example, a trip to your local internet café to contact clients). Always have a Plan B so that you can still be productive even if the internet is down.
Going on Holiday
Most people don’t consider this when they start a home business, but who’s going to run it when you’re on holiday? You can save yourself a lot of trouble by planning well ahead of your trip. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll have a massive pile of work waiting when you come back from your first holiday. But after a few trips, you’ll get better at managing the time away. It also helps to hire a virtual assistant during those times and delegate whatever tasks you can to them. You may be able to check emails for 10 minutes a day if you really have to, whilst away.
Your Worst Obstacle – Yourself!
Finally, the ultimate obstacle is your own attitude and self-discipline. Running a home business isn’t easy on anybody and there’ll be times when you feel like giving up. Be sure you have a good support network of friends and colleagues for when there are tough times. Take a break when you need to and don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t go as planned. Each bump in the road is a learning experience if you can see it that way. If you keep going your WILL achieve your goals!