Lifestyle changes to support your home business

By Henry Brown

If you, like many people have done before you, have taken the proverbial bull by the horns and started your own business at home, there may be lifestyle changes you need to make to support your success. From changing your routine to managing certain practicalities, your home business is only going to thrive if you learn to adapt and make sacrifices. Consider the following:

Lifestyle Change #1: Be more frugal with your money

If you have left the safe confines of a full-time position (with all the benefits that come with it), you will need to cut back on your spending so that you can afford to replace certain key benefits, such as health insurance. It will take a while to start generating income equal to your previous salary. There are many ways to cut back, from the small things – saying goodbye to life’s little luxuries such as your addiction to lattes – to those larger areas of your life – using a housing loan calculator to downsize your home or getting rid of that gas-guzzler car and using Uber. By making tiny and significant savings, you will be able to live reasonably comfortably while getting your business off the ground.

Lifestyle Change #2: Learn how to manage your money

Continuing the point made above, money management is key. Not only do you need to cut back and make savings, but you also need to learn how to manage other aspects of your finances. This includes budgeting, for both your personal and business life, and knowing where to spend the money you manage to bring in. You need to have the ability to separate your business finances away from your personal finances – if you mix the two, you will run into trouble. You also need to forecast for the future, knowing how much money you need to make to achieve your business goals. If you are somebody who struggles with money, be that because you squander it or you don’t know how to manage some of the intricacies of self-employment, such as quarterly estimated tax payments, then you should hire an accountant or use accountancy software to help you. In short, if you don’t learn how to manage your money, your business venture will struggle to grow in the long-term.

Lifestyle Change #3: You will need to make social boundaries

Working from home can be difficult, especially when there are so many distractions around to slow your productivity. For this reason, you do need to make social boundaries. If you have a partner or children in the house, there are times when you need to tell them you are working. If you have friends or other family members who tend to call you frequently, you need to remind them of your business hours, and possibly turn your phone off. You need to be accountable for yourself, too. Don’t be the person who pops downstairs every ten minutes for a drink and a chat. Don’t pick up the phone when you know you should be working. And perhaps the most relevant of all in this age of social media, block your computer from sites such as Facebook during your working hours, so you aren’t tempted to write the status “I really should be working,” when you really should be working!!

Lifestyle Change #4: You need to spend more time with others

You are no doubt confused at this point. Didn’t the writer just tell us not to do this? Well, yes, but life is full of contradictions, isn’t it? While you should steer clear of some people during your working hours, you need to extend your social circle to the people who matter to your home business. These may be the people you hire to work with you, whether they share your home-office space or work remotely. You need to build a client and customer base, so you should go to where people are, such as conferences, local networking events, and promotional events. If you’re not a social butterfly, this is one skill you need to force upon yourself, as your business won’t succeed on the strength of your skills alone. Finally, allow your poor family and friends back into your life during nonbusiness hours. You will need moral support, they will need you, and you do need to make some downtime with your loved ones to help you relax after a hopefully busy day.

Lifestyle Change #5: Be open to further education

For all we know, you may be a master of everything, but that is unlikely. Nobody is good at everything, and there is always room to better ourselves, even in the things we are reasonably proficient in. So, consider what you need to manage in your business, and think about the areas you are weakest in. While you can outsource some of these things to others to alleviate your workload, you should also come to grips with certain aspects to make you a better business manager. So, you might take a course in IT to improve your computer and web design skills. You may want to take a leadership course, especially useful if you have to manage a virtual team. You should consider a course in money matters, considering the points we made earlier. There are even business management courses available, which will cover a lot of the things you need to know about running your own business. Courses can be found online and at your local college or community center, and there is no harm in picking up the odd book or two to brush up on gaps in your knowledge of how to succeed at self-employment.

Lifestyle Change #6: Manage your time better

We have already alluded to this, but let’s take a closer look. Time-management is essential in your working day, as you will need to prioritize your time to manage all the tasks you have to do in the day. As ever, in this technological age, there are apps that will help you do this, although a pencil and a piece of paper (or a calendar) will do this nearly as well. During your work hours, you need to maximize your time to get the job done. While some jobs can be left until tomorrow, there are others that need to be prioritized.

However, you also need to maximize the time you have away from work. All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl) after all, and if you don’t put some effort into relaxing (a contradiction in terms, we know), you won’t be refreshed when you return to your home office space. Whether you hit the gym, spend time with others, or pursue a hobby that you love, remember life is about more than work. You will avoid burnout if you do take time to relax, and that will only benefit your business in the long-term.

Final thoughts

As you have seen, you will need to small and large changes in your lifestyle to make your business a success. By adapting your life to accommodate your home business, you will be in a better position to see things through to the end. Good luck, and thanks for reading.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

 

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