It’s the last day of February. I’ve promised myself at least not to let a month go by (a calendar month that is) without writing a post on this blog. So when I realized today was my last chance to write a post dated in February, I decided I’d better start writing.
Over the past five months, I have been building my online business at a much faster rate. As you know, if you are a regular reader of my blog, this is one of the reasons my posts have begun to come much fewer and further between. I have changed several of my long-term strategies, and organized a new business model which is not only turning out to be far more effective, but is taking off at a rate that is almost hard to keep up with. Almost, but not quite.
If you have ever built a business ground up, online or offline, you probably know that there is a point (or, there are points) where things begin to expand slightly faster than is really comfortable, but still not quite as quickly as you would really like them to. You find yourself juggling websites, projects, clients, sales, (whatever applies); while at the same time juggling the establishment of your business. That means finding, selecting, hiring and training new assistants. That means building furniture concurrent to taking on new clients. That means business registrations, legal basics, and getting the printer to work.
I like the video above because he points out an important fact. Whether success is overnight or not, I think it remains true that successful people don’t generally have luck fall into their laps and sign them a million dollar check. They don’t usually spend a lot of time in front of the TV or have tons of extra time to socialize at parties – unless there is a good reason for said socialization. At least not in the beginning, not while a new business or enterprise is taking off. People who succeed are willing to work for their success, are willing to miss Friday night movies, are willing to work longer hours than they are immediately being paid for – and are willing to accept minor failures if they occur; streamline, re-strategize, and keep on going.
As my online business and income has expanded, I have become increasingly aware of one thing.
“Work from Home” isn’t always as great as it sounds in the ads.
Recently I moved into a new office. That probably sounds ironic at first glance – a person works online, earns all their income on the internet, yet has to rent an office 15 minutes away from home. In my case, a large element of the problem is that I can not get broadband at home. I have considered moving but have finally decided against it, at least for now, for reasons beyond the scope of this blog.
However there is more to it than that. Even if you work online, working at home may or may not be ideal for you.
Now, don’t take this wrong. Some people want to or have to stay at home, for example, to be with children. And for some people, the ability to work from home is is one of their main reasons for wanting to work online. In many cases, this is completely valid.
Furthermore, when one is first building up an online business as a part time activity, it is almost a given that they would be working from home. Unless of course you happen to be a globe-hopping hitch hiker who carries a laptop in a backpack and works from internet cafes, hostel lobbies, or camp ground WiFi’s. Or unless perhaps you live in a rain forest with a satellite internet connection.
But, especially as your business expands and you begin to generate a steady and dependable online income, there are factors to take into account regarding the “Work from Home” business model.
I can summarize these into a few items:
Distractions: The distractions in the home environment may or may not outweigh the benefits of working there. I know that some internet marketers who work from home have encountered difficulties with the distractions inherent to home life. Your cat crawls onto your keyboard and falls asleep in the most adorable fashion which you don’t want to disturb. Children want attention. The spouse knocks on the door or comes to give you an innocent hug while you are making a video or concentrating on writing your next blog post, and you lose you whole train of thought. You are working in the living room and someone wants to watch the news.
Whether they be cats, kids, spouses, TVs, or kitchens, the distractions of a home environment may detract more from your overall productivity than you realize.
I know some internet marketers will even take a few days away from home, perhaps on a mini “working vacation,” just to get lots of work done.
It may be worthwhile for you to set up an office away from home, or at least more separated from the rest of your daily household activity. Maybe it means moving from the living room to the bedroom or from the bedroom to the closet. Maybe it’s setting up a cabin on the hill, or converting the backyard shed into an office.
Discipline: When you work at home it is easy to intertwine your work life with your personal life. You leave the computer “for a moment” to grab a coffee and the next thing you know you are wrapped up in chit-chat with a family member.
Conversely, the weekend may arrive and you know you should spend time with your family, but you wind up getting wrapped up with a new website you are working on.
When everything is a mish-mash, it can be more difficult to draw the line between work and personal life. When your work is done in a separate area, such as an office, it is much easier to discipline yourself to focus on work while you are at the office, and focus on personal matters when you are not.
Schedule – It becomes far easier to maintain and control an exact work schedule when your personal life and work life are separate. You wake up at a certain time, work at your office till a certain time, come home at a certain time. You allocate a certain amount of time to work, and a certain amount of time to family and personal matters. This way you make sure you handle both and they don’t clash. This probably works far better then waking up, working in PJs for an hour, going to breakfast, chatting, going back to work, watering the plants, going back to work, answering the phone, etc.
An office environment gives you a distraction-free space which is geared 100% toward work, where you can possibly meet clients more easily (especially if your home is not in town and your office is), and which is free of the distractions in a home environment. It allows you to keep discipline and boundaries between work and personal life, and to follow a proper schedule.
The commute and extra expense involved in keeping a separate office may or may not outweigh the distraction. In other words, there are pros and cons. And then again, you may live alone and have minimal distractions.
But if you are looking at working online as a long-term business model, these are things to consider.