A lot of successful entrepreneurs start off as home-based businesses. Working from home can be rewarding and exciting, but it is often filled with distractions and new challenges to master. So before you pull a chair up to that desk and shut the door, make sure you have these three items handy.
A family that supports what you're doing: When you start working from home it is important that you have the support of your family or anyone else who spends time in your home. You have to have a meeting with those you are close to about your working hours, level of daily involvement with family distractions and why these are important to ensure you are successful. You need your family to support you, but it is you who must set the rules and demonstrate how they will work. Creating the right attitude from the beginning will help you to be successful working, and keep a strong happy support structure with those you care about most.
Accountability: Whether you are reporting to yourself, or to a larger company you are employed by, you have to be accountable. This means keeping reports or records of how you are spending your time, communication with your boss, coworkers, or clients that demonstrate you are using your time effectively. Not doing so will not only create issues with those you work for but will result in people underestimating your value and your contributions to the overall success of the organization. Keeping detailed records will also provide you with a scorecard that you can use as a reference to stay on track or make improvements to your schedule.
Discipline: Make sure you have the discipline to stay the course before you take on any home-based business. This might seem obvious, but often people quickly lose discipline when working from home. With no boss watching you, no set schedule and none of the other controls that come from working in an office environment, it is only you who provide the structure. Work set hours, have a designated workplace that is all business and hold yourself accountable for deadlines and schedules. If you don't, you can quickly find yourself not being effective at all. Don't get in the habit of putting other household tasks into your workday, the lack of focus will be detrimental to your work. It is ok to have break times, but stay on a tight schedule, and do not allow the bulk of your work day to stray into other things.
Make sure to have set work hours, a dedicated workplace, and plan how you will utilize, manage your time spent working. Simply sitting down and writing this all out is a great way to get off to a good start that will help stop bad habits from getting started in the first place. Obviously, one of the most attractive reasons for working at home is the flexibility, and when appropriate, it is ok to take a little time off for family and personal matters. But make sure you plan ahead for it rather than just taking time off whenever you feel like it.