Is Your Dream to Work from Home?

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Whilst working as an employee most of the time you have little say in where you work and for some professions and roles you can only ever work in one specific environment, for example, within a classroom of a school or on a ward within a hospital. In some professions there is the provision to work from home for some of the time, but the nature of public sector roles does not lend themselves to working from home full time.

One of the reasons why people start their own business is the freedom to dictate where you will work from. This is especially true if you have children and one of your motivating factors for making this kind of change is to be able to spend more time with them or so that you can be flexible with hours to tie into school runs etc. For me, a critical factor in being able to work from home was that we could have dogs again. Previously when we were both working full time, the hours we worked each day would have been too long for young dogs. Though there was a moment when we welcomed two springer pups into our home that we questioned our sanity at the decision to have dogs again.

If you're thinking of looking at opportunities where you can work from home, I thought in today's blog I'd explore the benefits and challenges of doing so.

Benefits

  • You have far greater flexibility. Maybe you are one of those people that works better at certain times of the day than others. Sometimes you might want to double up your time so that you can give yourself some time off another day. If you only want to work a set number of days, you can swap the days you work around to suit you when needed. It's also handy if you are internet shopper and you get Amazon deliveries just about every day.
  • There are no managers, colleagues, people ringing all the time etc, distracting you.
  • You can be more efficient and effective, often you can do more work in less time, especially as you have got rid of the annoying distractions.
  • No more Air Con Wars. No more listening to people whining they are too cold whilst hogging the window seat. No more fighting to maintain a constant temperature when people are turning the heater up to 30'C. You control the temperature of your domain.
  • You can play music, watch tv, make as many drinks as you like or work in your PJs if you want (I found I was less productive if did this, so for some it might be a challenge.) If you don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn you don’t have to.
  • Gone is the morning commute and all the stress and hassle that comes with that. Gone is going to and from work in the dark.
  • You don't have to work a 9-5 job so you're no longer a wage slave, and that is quite liberating.
  • It allows you to have better balance with home and family life.

Challenges

  • When you are just starting out, the worry about money if there is no regular income can be an issue. Though you soon realise that you don’t need as much money as before as you don’t eat out a lunch time any more and gone are your travelling costs.
  • It can get lonely working from home. You can go all day not talking to someone and you can't have office banter with the cat or dog. They just don't get it. Factor in time for meeting up with people for a coffee, attend network meetings or form your own small business network. You can bet that if you are feeling lonely from time to time, other people are as well.
  • Be strict with your time or schedule. Some days it can be easy to get stuck in a Netflix binge or watching day time TV, especially if you are procrastinating.
  • Other people don't think you have a "proper" job. They don't see what you do as work. So, you could be working longer hours than before, earning more money than in your previous employment but because you aren't physically leaving the house in the morning and coming home at night, it's not work.
  • Sometimes it is hard to separate work life and home life. If you do plan to work from home, try to have a separate room to act as your office space, this creates some demarcation between work and everyday life.

Hopefully if you are thinking of working from home on a permanent basis, today's blog has given you a bit of insight into the benefits and challenges of working from home.

Anyone Can Create a Business

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When you think of a business owner who springs to mind? Richard Branson, the panel members of Dragon's Den, Alan Sugar? We live in an age where it has never been so easy to start your own business. The opportunities are immense from turning a hobby craft into an artisan business, up-cycling and restoring furniture, becoming a dog trainer, a writer, photographer, getting involved with affiliate marketing, e-commerce, consultancy, training provider; the list is endless.

Whilst some people sell their services solely online, others attend craft fairs/markets or set up the traditional bricks and mortar businesses. If you feel there is a need for something, then you can probably create a business in relation to it.

You can run your business whilst still working full time. Start a business whilst on maternity/paternity leave. There are toddlers with their own You Tube channels generating incomes for their future through testing and reviewing toys, their parents utilising the power of social media. Teenagers creating their own fashion labels, online estate agency, e-commerce retailing, and all this happening whilst they are still at school.  At the other end of the spectrum many pensioners have their own property portfolio, doing public speaking or have an e-commerce business. They use the businesses as ways to supplement, or in many cases, outstrip their pensions. Then there is everyone in between. Age, ethnicity, gender, social class are not barriers to creating your own business.

Taking the opportunity to start your own business comes down to your why? Why are you wanting to create a business and be your own boss? Would you like more money? If so, what for? Supplement your existing income, wanting to go part time in your every day job but not wanting to drop to a part time wage? Maybe you want to save for your children's future or be able to give up traditional work in order to be able to spend more time with your family, watching your children grow up, doing the things you love? Having your own business has the potential to give you the freedom to create the lifestyle you want.

One of the things we use to talk ourselves out of starting a business is that you don't have the money for start-up costs. You get it into your head that it's going to cost you tens of thousands, money that you don't have. That might have been the traditional way to start a business, but there are so many more ways in today’s world. You can make money by selling stuff you no longer use on eBay and build from there. There are over 1000 UK millionaires selling on eBay, with many of them being small businesses. There are so many different platforms to sell your products and services via the internet. When we started our e-commerce business, we had no intention of going beyond what we could afford so set a budget for training and getting the know-how and an investment budget to spend on stock. In the beginning, all profit made was reinvested back into the company.

There are businesses you can create with low budgets, investing only in what you can afford. There are even business opportunities that exist where you don't need any initial money but the majority you do, even if it is just a small amount of money for advertising to do something like consultancy or offering virtual assistant services.

In a world where everything is the same and mass produced, there is now a demand for bespoke, unique or handmade items. From wedding planner to beekeeping, Instagram guru to fitness instructor, there are countless business opportunities out there which utilises your everyday skills or gives you a chance to expand and showcase your hobbies, interests and newly acquired skills and knowledge, and make money in the process.

What stops people from creating their own business? Well for many, they don't think they know enough to do it or that they will fail. If there is one thing that is certain, it is you can't fail if you don't even try in the first place. That is sometimes the difference when it comes down to success. Some people are prepared to try and see what happens, others aren't prepared to try at all. When it comes to having knowledge, if there is something you don't know about then you can always learn it. You don't have to know everything beforehand. There were lots of things we didn't know before we started, somethings we had never even thought of, they came up as we were building the business. Don't wait for things to be perfect, they're never going to be, just get started.

If you want inspiration about what's possible then use the power of the internet, go to networking events, and look for people just like you who are building their own businesses and their brands. If you have an idea for a business, what's stopping you from starting?

Creating a business is not always easy, they'll be set backs along the way, people criticising you, your products or services, you'll get stuck, there'll be tears and laughter and you may change direction from time to time. Anyone can create a business but it's not for everyone. There are no get rich quick schemes in business. You need to have courage, commitment, dedication and a willingness to work hard. But when you are successful, the pay off in how it can change your life is worth it.

If you’re looking to create your own business but don’t know where to start, check out my programme, Smart Business Creation, and see if the support that comes from business coaching is first step for you.