Friday, November 13, 2009

10 Ways to Make Your Work from Home Experience Successful

By Lesley Spencer Pyle, MSc.

1. Whether you are dealing with a customer over the phone or via email, it should always be done with the utmost professionalism. You want your current and potential customers to feel confident in your abilities. This should include stepping into a quiet area to make a call to a client or getting a company-dedicated phone number so you can answer the call with a company greeting. Emails should always be spell- checked before they are sent.

2. Schedule your day and create goals to ensure you are completing all the tasks that need to be done as well as making a set number of marketing contacts each day. This will help you remain focused and productive despite any distractions that might be taking place in your home.

3. Create a business plan to help keep you on track. It is a lengthy and miserable process for some, but once completed, it is so advantageous to the success of your business. Even if no one else ever sees it, a business plan creates a tool for you to make sure you have thought through the entire process of running a successful business.

4. Determine your strengths and weaknesses and what responsibilities take up the majority of your time, either in the workplace or your household. These are the functions that should be considered for outsourcing, which will help you find a balance and, more importantly, focus on the strengths that will help thrust your business forward.

5. Participate in local and online networking groups to help build resources and a support group. There are several online groups, including www.cwahm.com, www.hbwm.com, and www.wahm.com.

6. Get yourself up to speed with new technologies. Whether it is taking a class online or at a local community college or having someone come in to train you, you will keep up with your competitors by being technologically literate.

7. Set parameters with your family members so they know that when you are working, this is your work time. This may be challenging with little ones but should get easier as you continue to emphasize the importance of “work time.” Be sure to hire help when needed. Your business needs your full attention, as do your children. Don’t try to do both at once.

8. Set a limit so you are not overwhelmed by taking on too much at one time. Be comfortable with letting people know that you are not available to watch their kids, do volunteer work, etc. It is OK to say that your schedule is really booked right now but maybe in the near future they can call on you when things have settled down.

9. Create emergency back-up plans. These would include back-up daycare, instructions for what to do if your computer system goes down, or lists of people you can rely on for assistance if a huge project comes in. This prevents you from scrambling at the last minute.

10. Make time for yourself. Points 1–9 will not make any difference if you are not looking out for yourself. You need to be healthy and happy to be there for your family and your business. Prioritize time for you, your faith, your family, your friends, and your home in addition to your business.

Lesley Spencer Pyle is the founder and president of the HBWM.com, Inc. Network, which includes Home-Based Working Moms (http://www.hbwm.com/) and HireMyMom.com (http://www.hiremymom.com/). Pyle has been featured in numerous publications, including Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Parenting, Dr. Laura’s Perspectives, Family PC, and many others. She has four children ages two to fourteen years old and has been working from home since the first baby was born!

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