Momma always told me there’d be days like these. (tweet this) Looking back on the first few months of working at home brought tears to my eyes. These are not tears of sadness, no not at all. They are tears of joy. It is with heartfelt gratitude that I release their memory. I’m so thankful that those lessons have been learned. Now it’s time for the next lesson in business, it lies straight ahead!
No one told or prepared me for the reality of working for myself, at home with family surrounding me daily. After all, our home is our sanctuary, that safe place where we get to kick off our shoes, unhook that constricting bra, sorry fellows but it’s the truth. At home behind the safety of those closed doors we can let it all hang out, right?
There just may be some real value for you in sharing my top 50 things I wish someone would have told me before going into business for myself. Had I known these things I would have done things a little differently. My expectations wouldn’t have been so high and mighty. Oh yes, I was very “black and white” there was no room for gray area in my home office.
Here you go, I hope that by sharing these things you will avoid some of the tears, stress and emotional trauma I endured and worked through in that first year of working at home.
Timely tips I wish I’d known
1 – Set the alarm clock. It’s true it’s your business; but, remember the early bird gets the worm
2 – Use a calendar to schedule tasks – don’t leave your bank account to your memory
3 – Set deadline dates on each task
4 – Use a timer for big projects – break them into manageable chunks
5 – Banker’s hours and days are a myth
6 – You must restock office supplies – the office fairy is not a real person or department
7 – Set aside time to pay vendors
8 – Allow time daily to reconcile checkbook to be sure there is money to pay bills
9 – Pay bills as money becomes available don’t wait. You do not get a paycheck on the 1st and 15th anymore
Passing the buck stops here
10 – It’s not as easy as it looks (tweet this)
11 – No calling in sick – you’re Chief Cook & Bottle-washer now
13 – You realize you call all the shots – the lump in your throat does go away eventually after you take full responsibility for all decisions, successes and failures
14 – You are the secretary – take notes on all phone calls
15 – There is no IT Department – you must back up the computer regularly or risk losing your data forever. I think Darth Vader is using his mental telepathy pulling it to the black hole
16 – When marketers call do not buy everything they are selling. Think like a multi-millionaire thinks – do I need it, will I use it, will it make my business money
17 – Under promise, over deliver
18 – Speak in the third party you are a growing business (even if it’s in your own mind)
19 – The computer is not for game playing, it’s now a valuable business asset. Treat it as such.
20 – Invest in quality tools to get the job done. Cheap buys you problems & costs you money.
21 – Do your homework before making any business decision. Ask questions, ask for references and take a 24 hour think it over period first.
22 – Think long term sustainability for business not short term income
23 – Track all numbers
24 – Be willing to admit your mistakes learn from them
25 – Do not put all of your eggs in one basket
26 – Develop back up plan in case be a forward thinker (tweet this)
27 – Be willing to put it ALL on the line, 100%
28 – Follow up, follow thru on everything you say you will do
It’s ok to take care of yourself
30 – You must eat breakfast, lunch and dinner … or get fat
31 – Take a break every 2 hours – even slaves got a pee break
32 – Set boundaries – the office is off limits to hubby, kids and grandkids during work hours. This is where work gets done and the mortgage payment comes from.
33 – Shower daily – take time for your personal hygiene or smell like yesterday’s trash (should go without saying but trust me, it’s that important to mention)
34 – Take your vitamins there is no time to get sick
35 – Drink plenty of water you sit more than you move
36 – Stand up, stretch even while on phone this helps you stop yawning in customers ear
37 – Schedule time for YOU
Office duties – You are NOT Wonder Woman
38 – Errands are tasks in your past – when you don’t pick up the phone you lose business. Employ the efforts of family members to do the essential errands
39 – Build a business not a job – a business takes care of you if you are sick and can not work the other, well…no work no pay
40 – Take out the trash or the ants come marching home 2 by 2, there is no janitorial department after hours
41 – Make sure you have the right equipment – is it portable remember if you are not there to answer phones you lose – can you take it with you to the little girls room
Home duties – I’m here but I’m not
42 – What about Fido and Tinkerbelle? You’re home all day long working…they need to go out, now what
43 – Company comes to the door how do you politely explain you are working when you are home and now is not the time for a cup of coffee
44 – If kids or grandkids are at the house you must explain that if they will let you finish what you are working on without interrupting you’ll give them a cookie and swing with them in a little bit.
Skills that need developed
45 – Keep mirror on desk to make sure you are smiling at each customer on phone (they hear your smile)
46 – Call your customer by name
47 – Be organized
48 – Assume nothing
49 – Network like your life depends on it (tweet this)
50 – Bring the real you to your business there’s only one you and your customer is waiting to meet and be served by the one and only
There you have them, the 50 things I wish I’d known before I went into business for myself. There are many more but I think for now if you are like I am…you can only absorb so much information at one sitting.
Think about these points. Mull them over in your mind. Make them your own thoughts before you go into business for yourself. Please share your nuggets of wisdom. Leave your comments below.
Carla Gardiner is known as "THE Fiery Grandma" because she found renewed energy, focused purpose and new direction for her business online. Her passion and purpose lies with women who are redefining success after 50. Having built a traditional business in a predominately male world only to have regulations take it away, she knows how to get back up and do it again. If you are ready to find out how to redefine your success join her for renewed energy, fun and profits.