It’s great working from home – or is it?

Are you like me and almost 70% of Australian small business owners who share in the delight of working for themselves, being their own boss and working from home?

Are you also like me in that it took a year of interruptions, frustrations and poor results to get the ‘working from home’ balance going properly?

Having come from a busy workplace I was used to having people around me to discuss problems, share the load and keep me motivated but then I began working from home and had to come to terms with the glaring fact that all of those support networks were gone.

I quickly came face to face with the home based business owners’ two largest enemies – distractions and loneliness and whilst I’m over them now, I thought these few words may help you avoid going through some of the growing pains I had to face.

Reducing Distractions

In my experience distractions typically come from two sources – self created (doing chores, socialising or goofing off instead of working) OR from family and friends who drop in for a coffee or chat with the expectation that because I’m home it means I’m NOT actually working.

One of the simplest ways I found to reduce the impact of these distractions was to create physical separation between my living and work spaces. I converted a spare room into an office and set it up so it was clearly an office/work space with computers, printers, a proper desk and visitor chairs.

Next I did installed a separate phone line for the business so work calls came to the work phone and private calls came to the home line – oh, and I also stopped answering the home phone whilst working and giving friends my business number.

It did take a little while but eventually I trained everyone to respect that when I’m in my office I’m at work and when I’m out of my office I’m available.

Reducing the loneliness

Another issue both I and many of my home based clients had to face is loneliness from the lack of connection with others during the work day and sadly, as much as I like her, my dog is no substitute for human contact.

Whilst it took a while to sort out, I now have a simple three pronged strategy for creating a workable balance between time on my own and time with others.

First – I make a point of conducting my appointments at my client’s premises or at a neutral cafe

Second – I joined a couple of local business networking groups so I can share ideas with likeminded others and

Third – I engage and work with a business coach to keep me on track with my business direction and to keep me accountable for results.

Getting support from a coach/mentor

I’m often surprised at how many business owners I speak to have difficulty understanding why I would be using a coach (particularly as this is my profession) but I ask – how can you work without one?

If you think about every sports team, professional athlete, or top business performer they all use a coach because they know the coach is outside of the day to day game, can see the bigger picture more easily and can provide impartial advice on ways to improve based on their knowledge and expertise.

The other clear benefit I’ve found from working with a coach is how they keep me accountable to my promises, on track with my planned direction AND provide an appropriate and understanding sounding board to discuss new ideas or initiatives.

It’s nice to look back and confidently say ‘It’s great working from home’ and to be able to see how three simple steps – clearing distractions, getting out of the house to remove loneliness and engaging a coach – helped me turn frustration and bad advice from my dog into a thriving home based business with the freedom and lifestyle I originally desired.

Article written by Anthony M Turner – Small Business Coach/Mentor, Speaker, Author and the founder of Transform Your Business.

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This Article was sourced from Transform Your Businessa specialist coaching, mentoring, consulting and skills training services for small and micro businesses

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