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For many, the idea of working from home is synonymous with freedom. The typical cliché is to work from your bed in your best PJs. In truth, the work life of home-based business owners couldn’t be further from that. Indeed, when you remove the office environment, you can encounter a variety of new and complex challenges that affect both your work routine and your everyday lifestyle at different levels. Perhaps, for home-based workers, the real path to success is to learn how to identify and manage these obstacles before they impact on their health, productivity and earning abilities.
The liberating world of pajama work is nothing but a rose-tinted cliché. Indeed, to benefit from the freedom of your remote arrangement, you need discipline and effective management of tasks and processes. Here are the top 5 obstacles you need to be aware of and prepared to address as you establish your business.
#1. Where does work end?
Picture the scene. Your work commute is only a few seconds, as you make your way from the bedroom to the home office. You don’t even need to worry about what to wear or whether or not to do your hair. Admittedly, while working from home can shorten your prep time in the morning, it comes at a significant disadvantage. You lack closure at the end of the day. While when you’re office-based, you need to leave the office to get back home physically, it’s not something you need to do when you live and work in the same place. Consequently, you can struggle to leave work behind at the end of the day. Sticking to a scheduled time in a separate space is a difficult discipline to develop. Indeed, many home-based workers are tempted to stop working when they’re done for the day. If you’re running a small business, it’s fair to say that you may never be done. Instead, for your sanity, stick to fixed working hours.
#2. Thinking you have to do it by yourself
We get it. You’ve launched your own business, and, consequently, you need to run it alone until you can afford to hire a team. Multitasking is a common approach for home-based business owners, but it’s not half as effective as you might think. For a start, the brain is unable to multitask successfully. Additionally, multitasking implies that you master most business elements and can happily perform all tasks. In truth, you need to delegate some of your jobs if you want to keep your business afloat. Successful solo entrepreneurs rely on outsourcing advisory services to identify areas that can be delivered by external suppliers – such as IT. You can find experts to advise and guide you through your outsourcing journey.
#3. Feeling lonely and sad
Entrepreneurship is a famously solitary journey. For home-based entrepreneurs, the feeling of loneliness can be overwhelming and lead to serious cases of anxiety and depression. With almost a third of sole traders and solo entrepreneurs claiming that isolation is a big problem, you can’t ignore the way working alone affects your mood. You need to create a network of connections you can rely on at the start of your journey. Whether you meet people through online communities or you surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are experiencing the same thing than you, is up to you.
#4. Staying on top of your health
Contrary to the common belief, being at home doesn’t mean you’ve got more time. On the contrary, home-based workers struggle with time management and tend to work longer hours which makes it difficult for them to focus on their health. In an office, you can plan a visit to the gym after working hours. But when you work from home, you might lack movement. However, if you can create a work schedule, you can make time for your workouts. More importantly, you need to stock healthy food only, as one gets easily tempted by sweet treats — if they’re readily available.
#5. Missing the latest trends
Regular training and business talks are an everyday occurrence in an office. At home, keeping up with the latest industry trends can prove difficult – especially as your time is precious. However, to stay relevant in your market, you need to use smart tools to update your knowledge regularly. Google Trends can help you to monitor what your audience is searching and to identify trends on time. Something as simple as tracking social media mentions can provide enlightening insights on what people are talking about.
Working from home is a disruption to the typical office environment. However, it’s a disruption that comes at a cost, your mental and physical health. Looking after yourself and using smart strategies and tools can ensure you remain on top of your field at all times.