Many people are drawn to the idea of starting a home business, and not having to work for a boss. They dream of the freedom that comes along with being self-employed. Far too often they discover the freedom was just a dream and they are actually working long, hard hours for at least in the beginning as they try to get their business off the ground.
What is the most effective way to deal with the stress and anxiety that can often come along with running a home business?
The quick answer is to realize that this is part of being a business owner. This stress doesn’t go away overnight and there will be times when it seems like it will never end. There will also be times when everything is running smoothly. The trick is to find the proper balance between work and home. It’s important to look for ways to effectively manage your stress when it occurs.
Being self-employed means that the most part everything rests on your shoulders. When you’re working for someone else, you have to deal with things but you probably didn’t have the financial success of the company to worry about. When you run your own business you have to make sure there is enough operating capital to keep going, enough profit to invest in inventory, supplies, vendors, employees and to pay your bills.
A small amount of stress can be great motivator. The fear of failing or falling behind is what makes many home business owners get up and face the day, even when times get tough. Remember, simply because you are feeling stress doesn’t mean your business is going to fail. It simply means you’re the boss and it’s up to you to make it a success.
Procrastination leads to unnecessary stress, especially when you are the one in charge. To help alleviate this type of stress practice good time management skills and put time limits on the tasks you need to accomplish for your business to operate smoothly. Having a deadline to meet can help motivate you to get your project done in time, but ignoring it or putting it off till later will only cause undue stress. When planning a schedule to accomplish both large and small tasks it’s important to set realistic goals that you feel can be met on time.
Many home business owners get so stressed out and wrapped up in routine tasks they forget the reasons why they decided to become self-employed. It’s important to remember to enjoy the fact that you are your own boss. Learning to enjoy yourself while you work keeps you enthusiastic and motivated Yes, it’s important to be professional and get the job done, but when it comes to coping with stress it’s also a good idea not to take yourself too seriously.
Maintaining a good sense of humor helps keep your stress levels under control, especially on those tough days when it seems like everything goes wrong. Remember to laugh, it’s the best medicine and one of the best ways to make it through any stressful situation.
As we have discussed before, a solid online presence is important your overall success. These days the first place your customer goes to find a business is the Internet. Even if they do decide to use the Yellow Pages, it’s usually the online version, so if you want your customers to find you it’s extremely important to have a website.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, include hundreds of pages or be loaded down with fancy interactive graphics and HD video. While those can be fun and entertaining often, a simple one or two page site will do the trick.
However, you do want it to look professional and provide consumers with the necessary information they need to find your business. There are a few different ways you can your website up and running.
– If you’re a little tech savvy and have some solid computer skills chances are you can build your own with a little hard work in extra time.
– Use a free template or paid for template. Often the hosting company you choose will have some available for you to install from inside your control panel. They will also provide you with a WYSIWYG editor so that you can edit your webpages.
Tip: a WYSIWYG editor allows you to edit the text and graphics of your website in an environment that displays them very close to how they will actually will appear online. This makes it easy for you to see how your site will look to visitors before it’s visible on the web.
– Pay someone to build your web site for you. Look around, basic websites are often priced very reasonably and most of the time you can find web designers that will work for a flat fee or make changes on a cost per action basis.
Whichever way you decide to go it’s important that your site has a consistent layout and consumers can quickly access the information they need to find your business. Keep in mind that most visitors will only taking a few seconds to decide whether or not your services are right for them. The difference between a well laid out and informational site and a bad looking site can make all the difference.
If you plan on taking payments for processing orders from your website you will need a merchant account or third party processor like PayPal. When you’re first starting out a merchant account can be very costly, but a payment processor like PayPal charges a fee which is usually a small percentage of every sale.
Here is a quick break down of the two:
A merchant account is a bank account that gives your business the ability to receive payments from your customers through their credit or debit cards. You must apply and be approved for a merchant before you can begin accepting credit card payments. If you feel a merchant account is best for your business the best place to start is with your local bank.
A payment processor is a company that already has a merchant account that he uses to process credit card transactions. They are often very good option because they provide all of the same security and anti-fraud protection as a merchant account without the application process and (large) set up fees.
Many processors like the ones I’ve listed below, act as both the merchant account as the payment gateway, making it accepting payments online my easier.
There are many more available and you can find them by doing a simple search online for payment processors. A good processor will take care of your data protection requirements, so both you and your customers can feel safe and secure or processing payments online.
As we well know, one of the main attractions of working at home is the freedom that comes with it. When you’re self-employed the dream is that there will be no time clock, no time sheets, and no one but yourself to be accountable to. It’s an attractive proposition, but like so many wonderful dreams there is a downside, especially if you find yourself falling short of reaching your goals.
If you are constantly running behind then you are likely wasting time on tasks that are unnecessary or could be accomplished more efficiently with proper time management.
If you want your home business to be successful, it’s important to set a schedule and do your best to stick to it. This way you can avoid wasting time, stay on track and accomplish your goals more efficiently.
Here are a few good reason you should set up a schedule and stick to it:
– It makes it easier to prioritize
– It helps avoid wasting time on non-priority tasks
– It keeps you from getting sidetracked or distracted
– It helps you stay organized and on track
– It prevents work from bleeding into family time and vice a versa
– It increases concentration and productivity
As I’ve mentioned before a simple to do list will often do the trick, but if you have a lot of projects on the table and tasks that need to be completed creating a spreadsheet will work even better. Having an agenda to follow can help improve your productivity and reduced your stress greatly.
If you don’t want to use a spreadsheet or aren’t sure how to set one up, look online. You’ll find plenty of examples and even ready-made timesheets and schedules that you can print and use yourself.
When it comes to proper time management, the best way to get something done is by keeping it simple. This holds true for creating your daily and weekly schedule as well. Breakdown larger projects into smaller, easily accomplished tasks and allow plenty of time to complete them. Putting a simple plan in motion will help the work that needs to be done go smoothly and more efficiently.
If you find it, difficult setting up your schedule and sticking to it, don’t be afraid to ask for help. By recruiting a coworker, family member or friend to gently nudge forward you when you’re falling behind, it can make sticking to your schedule and staying on track much easier.
Fact: Not all people are natural-born sellers!
Not feeling comfortable selling things is a big fear that many business owners face. However, when it comes to running a successful home business chances are there will be some type of selling involved. This fear of selling can literally cripple a business before it begins.
The first thing you have to remember is, not everyone has natural sales ability.
The fears associated with selling often come in several forms. We worry about being perceived as pushy, not being liked, that people won’t like what we have to offer or we struggle with the idea of rejection. Knowing the source of your fear is an important part of overcoming it.
– Take action
Next, it is important to take action to address the problem, when you are taking action it is one-step closer to overcoming your fear. In some cases, this might as simple as improving your product or service or finding a way to share your marketing message that feels more comfortable to you and avoids direct selling.
Learning how to handle rejection is also a great way to overcome your fears. When faced with rejection it’s important not to take it too personally. Simply remind yourself that even though you offer a high quality product or service it will not be right for everyone. Instead of worrying about the people who won’t make a purchase, focus your attention on finding customers that will be thrilled to have what you offer.
– Start small
Very often, people tend to tackle projects much larger than they can comfortably handle. When you want to overcome, your fear you should start small. At first share your new business with a few trusted friends and then gradually find ways to expand your sharing to include a larger circle. The most successful business people are those who interact with others in an authentic, passionate way that feels comfortable to them.
It is also important to stay focused on your desired outcome. Most successful people will tell you that they reach their goals because they stay focused on the benefits is that of worrying about the negatives. Reminding yourself of what you working for on a regular basis can help keep you motivated.
Another technique for overcoming fear is to tap into your passion and enthusiasm for what you are offering. Start by making a list of all the benefits your customers will enjoy from your product or service. Then add comment and testimonials from past or current customers to the list and post it in a place where you can see it every day. This simple list will remind you of your successes, boost your confidence and help eliminate your fears.
Most important of all don’t let your fears stop you from moving forward! Face them head on and there will be no talking you from achieving the six that you deserve.
Running a running a home business can be fun, exciting and profitable. It can also be time-consuming, frustrating and stressful. That’s why it’s important to be armed with the right information to keep you on track and help get you over any rough patches you may encounter.
Let’s go over a few thing every business owner should attend to:
Always check to see what type of business insurance you need to operate legally. Some states require mandatory business insurance. It’s important to incorporate the cost into your operating budget. This way you can be sure your business is protected and minimize your risks associated with conducting business.
Keep moving forward. There’s always room to grow and by conducting research into the latest trends in your industry and what your competition is up to, you’ll stay a step ahead. With the right knowledge, you can potentially move your business into new areas when there are opportunities.
Try to keep regular work hours when working from home. The freedom of a home business can be very convenient, but your body’s clock can take a beating if you change your routine too frequently. Try to keep regular work hours and sleep routines in order to keep your mind and body working at its best!
Know your marketplace. If most of your customers are moms who work at home, then emphasize that you are a home business. They may appreciate that you are similar to them and not a great big corporation. A home business is preferable to many customers and clients.
Get a Post Office box. You never want to post your home address online, even in connection to your business. Getting a Post Office box can help to keep your family safe and secure, while also preventing your mail carrier from having to lug around heavier than normal loads of post to your home.
Try to find a place where you can buy your supplies wholesale. Wholesale supplies are sometimes only half as expensive as the products you find in a regular retailer. You may have to travel to do this, but the savings can quickly add up for your business. If you cannot travel, try looking online.
When choosing a type of home business, make sure that your business will work with your family’s needs. Your family will have a normal schedule that you will have to work around with a home business. If you have a newborn baby, you may be limited to the amount of time that you can spend working for your business.
You should make it easy for customers to get in contact with you. Your business website should have an email link available on every page. This keeps communication front and center, and makes it look like you really take care to communicate with customers. It is a simple way to build trust with customers.
For most home business owners, tax deductions can help put a little extra cash back into their pocket. Tax deductions vary from business to business, but it’s worth your time to familiarize yourself with some of these common tax deductions.
First, determine if you qualify for a home business deduction. A home office is generally defined as a place where you meet with clients, patients, or customers. It can also be part of your house that is used exclusively for business purposes.
Most people have a general image that comes to mind when they hear the words “home office”. In reality, tax deductions can apply to a variety of places. Your home office can be a garage, basement, or a studio. If you do qualify as a home business, it is crucial to keep all records, receipts, and paperwork that you have accumulated throughout the year.
Tax time will be a much less stressful experience if you keep good records and don’t skip the small things. This can be as simple as keeping the receipts when you purchase paper, staples, or toner. Any item purchased for your business is usually considered a tax deduction. This may seem tedious and unimportant, but nothing could be further from the truth. You may be amazed when all these little things add up at the end of the year.
– Home business deductions can be separated into two categories.
The first is for Direct Expenses. These are expenses that are needed for your actual home office. Direct expenses include office furniture, decorating costs, or equipment. Indirect Expenses are the expenses that must be paid the entire house. This includes heating, electricity, or mortgage interest payments. You can deduct the percentage of your business expenses from your utility costs.
Another tax deduction to consider is telephone expenses. If you have one telephone line, the IRS is usually not going to believe that you use this only for your home business. The second phone line installed in your home is purely one hundred percent deductible. Another common deduction that is often missed is the lost distance charges incurred because of business calls.
An overlooked tax deduction for some home business owners are the meal expenses when they entertain an employee, a customer, or a client. Save all your receipts from these business dinners. It is possible to deduct fifty percent of meal expenses. Education expenses can also be a tax deduction if it is required by law to update your skills or if you are trying to enhance your skills for your current position.
Most home business owners use a vehicle as a means of transportation for their business. This vehicle can be used for running to the post office, or meeting with a client. Keep a log book in the vehicle to keep track of the mileage on these errands. Vehicles can be vital to run your home business, and overtime these kinds of charges can hurt your profits. There are many valuable tax deductions for vehicles, such as car repairs and car insurance. Airline fare can be another costly, but necessary aspect for home business owners. The IRS does allow your trip expense as another tax deduction.
As you can see, as a home business owner you have a variety of options, when it comes to tax deductions. Remember to keep records of all your home business activities and consult with a tax advisor to get the best deductions for your home business.