When we think about home working, one word typically comes to mind – flexibility. This is the dream for as many as 70% of people, and it’s something even employers are working towards. But, you’re one of the brave ones who have taken things one step further and are shaking the shackles of employment altogether for the ultimate in flexible lifestyle goals.
Firstly, good on you. Taking the plunge and starting a home-based business is one of the best things to do for a more satisfying worklife. In fact, 69% of our top entrepreneurs are now going down this route. And, as you joined them, you likely had visions of being able to take longer lunch breaks where, not answering to anyone, and generally having the flexibility of top gymnasts at last. Now that you’re doing the thing, though, something’s wrong. Far from living that flexi-lifestyle, your working arrangements have become stiffer than a board.
This is a reality many people aren’t prepared for when they make this shift, yet it’s something a surprising amount of home business owners face. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. All you need to do is consider the following reasons why your work life is so strict right now, and what you can do to loosen up a little at last.
Time management is not your forte
The lack of set timings is, of course, one of the significant benefits of working from home, but it can turn detrimental if you aren’t careful. Too many entrepreneurs use this as an excuse to work slower or to spend eighteen plus hours slaving away to get every last task finished. As simple as that, you’re working double the hours you did when you were in the office, and flexibility slips out of reach faster than you know.
This is no way to the work-life balance you were always aiming towards, and it’s a guaranteed way to burnout or general unhappiness with your situation. Luckily, there is a way around this, and it comes in the form of some simple time management.
Time management is a home working 101. Not only do you need to work with discipline, but you also need to delegate tasks just as a manager always has before. And, you need to do so in a way that allows you to complete jobs promptly, just like in the office.
There’s no getting around the fact that you may work longer hours when you’re first starting something new, but simply getting into the habit of to-do lists and a definite time system means you can at least bring that workload within manageable bounds. Instead of sitting at your desk from dusk until bedtime, this alone will allow you to complete tasks during your chosen ‘work hours,’ freeing the time you need, and making you flexible enough to do the splits at last.
You’re tying yourself to your desk
Everyone knows that a strict working outlook is vital for making home business work for you. If you’re to stay on top of your game, it’s critical that you force yourself to turn up, if possible at the same time each day, and get the things done.
In general, home workers find it helpful to stick within some semblance of the working day as much as they can, both to provide a routine and make sure they’re contactable when customers need them. But, if you’re struggling to achieve a flexible lifestyle, you may be taking this to the extreme.
If you worry about customers contacting you out of hours, or insist on answering the phone whenever it rings between the hours of 8 am-10 pm, it’s no wonder you feel as though flexibility is further away than ever before. Guess what? It pretty much is!
Of course, these out of hours contacts are often vital in an age where consumers expect businesses to be available pretty much 24/7, but this needn’t mean that you can’t even leave your desk for a lunch break. If you’re literally tied to your chair right now, then you need to find some flexible alternatives and fast.
Automated chatbot services on your website are a fantastic option here, and can either deal with general troubleshooting for you or act as placeholders until you’re available. Equally, outsourcing phone answering through companies like Ivy Answer means that you needn’t be at the beck and call of your business phone any longer. As simple as that, spending even extended periods away from your desk, day or night, becomes an option at last.
You’re trying to do it all yourself
Along roughly the same lines, an astounding amount of homework starters also make the mistake of attempting to do everything themselves. This, in turn, leads to a longer to-do list, and far less chance that you’ll ever be able to take time out of the office. In fact, as your business begins to grow, flexibility may soon start feeling even further out of reach than ever.
That’s hardly why you embarked on this lifestyle, and it’s an issue you can easily overcome by merely accepting help. Of course, at this stage, bringing employees onboard wouldn’t be financially viable or even useful in many cases. Instead, you should take your outsourcing lead from the point above, and consider the outside subscriptions that could prove to take some of that pressure off.
IT outsourcing is perhaps the most notable here, especially when your business is based online. A reliable outsourcing service will implement safety precautions, take care of design, and even monitor things so you don’t have to. Equally, outsourcing things like accounting removes many of the tedious filing processes that take up so much of a homeworker’s life in those early days.
These services are now readily available and can generally adapt to any budget. And, once you’ve got that support on-hand, you can bet you’ll feel a lot better at flexing your home working muscles from time to time!