Did you ever see that Toyota commercial where the Dad was giving a first driving lesson to his son? The son is so excited about the Bluetooth technology, the GPS system and the Engine Start button that he keeps telling his dad that driving is going to be “so easy”. He’s convinced he just pushes a button and steers and he’s good to go.
The Dad exclaims in frustration, “It’s not easy! Just get out of the car”.
That sounds similar to the conversation I’ve had dozens, maybe even hundreds of times with smart, skilled people who want to start a business. Just like the young boy, they don’t know what they don’t know. But what you don’t know CAN hurt you.
Here are some basic tips that will help you make building a home-based business a reality:
1. Create a plan, even if it’s just a few pages. It will force you to think through your ideas and decide where you want to be a year or two from now, who you want to work with, what products and services you want to offer, and how you’ll meet your financial goals.
2. Create an ideal client profile and compile a list of possible marketing activities you think would reach this market.
3. Decide on a start up budget and figure out where to get the money. You can bootstrap in the beginning and start with very little, but you will need some money—at least a few thousand dollars.
4. For one week, monitor how you spend your work time to see how productive and efficient you are with your time. How much of your time is spent on business building, potentially profit generating activities? This does not mean checking e-mail, doing administrative tasks or surfing the Internet. How you use your time will absolutely determine how successful you’ll be.
5. Make a list of which life, family or childcare obligations are non-negotiable for you and outsource the rest. For example, maybe you have school age kids and you’re willing to put them in after school homework club, but you absolutely want to spend time with them after dinner. Or, maybe you’re willing to work Saturday morning, but want Saturday afternoon and evening with your family. This will help you determine how your current situation can be changed to accommodate uninterrupted work time. You will have to make some compromises, so be clear which ones you’re willing to make.
6. Prepare an office space that is large enough to accommodate your business needs. If you can find a space where you can close the door to indicate to everyone that you are at work and not to be disturbed, all the better.
7. Don’t answer your personal phone or doorbell when you’re working. That’s what caller ID is for. If it’s an emergency call or someone you really need to speak to, you can answer. If it’s your friend calling to say hi or a neighbor dropping by, you’ll be tempted, but don’t respond.
8. Find a coach or mentor who can guide you through the start up process as quickly and efficiently as possible, who can show you how to avoid unnecessary struggles, stress and wasted time and money. You’ll feel so wonderful when you fastrack to your first $100, then $1,000, the $10,000!© Copyright 2008 Janis Pettit