Guest post by Cara Aley
Working from home can be a wonderful solution for mothers who need that extra intellectual stimulation during the day, wish to remain at home with their kids, and like the idea of avoiding costs and other ramifications of child care.
Running a smooth at-home business can be a tricky thing, so we’re here to provide some tips for optimizing how smoothly your business runs.
Assign a very separate area of the house for your business
Children should know that this separate area is to be respected and is your work space.
You can also decorate the area in a way that is more appropriate for business than the manner in which you might wish to decorate the rest of your house.
Make sure a bathroom is easily accessible for both you and potential visitors, whether clients or vendors.
Consider selling your product or service online
Consumers are growing to expect the option to buy products and services online.
Allowing for this option not only makes it easier to work from home in doing your work, but it should increase your distribution opportunities. So be sure to build your website with an e-commerce option (it costs less than $100 a month!).
Market your products and services via social media sites
Try using social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to market your product—Facebook allows for extremely targeted marketing at a very reasonable price, and can drive significant revenues when used properly.
Save client visits for when a caretaker can be on site
If you have clients visiting your home, a good idea is to have a caretaker (or Dad) come to be with the kids. It can be extremely distracting for all parties, and appear unprofessional to your clients if your children are around. One idea is to set office hour availability for a couple of days per week for three or four hours, allowing clients some flexibility in when they visit, and ensuring that your caretaker can be there consistently.
Set boundaries for hours during the day when the children can be in your office, and when they can’t
If you are on a call and customers can hear your children in the background, this can come across as extremely unprofessional. Try to make sure your children are aware of when they can come in, and when they can’t. One option is to hang a sign on the door that says ‘Open’ or ‘Closed,’ indicating whether they can come in or not.
Nothing can make an at-home business owner feel more isolated than not leaving the house.
Be sure to take the opportunity to go out for lunch if you can, to network with customers, do market research, and to be out in the real world.
Try a coffee shop for a few hours for an extra jolt of energy—perhaps have your customers meet you there for a change (while the babysitter or Dad has things under control at home).
If you are always at home, it can be easy not only to be lonesome while working but also to lose a bit of touch with the outside world.
In short, if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity and the right business idea in order to be able to work from home, make sure you keep a space that is dedicated to work, time that can be dedicated to customers where there are no interruptions, and that you leave that space once in a while! No one likes to be isolated in their work, no matter how great working from home can be.
And above all, definitely make sure you have an e-commerce site if you have a product or service that can be sold online. This is a great way to drive revenues and to bring your product to a demographic that might not otherwise be able to buy it (think of Alaska and how much they might like your product there!).
About the author:
Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from digital marketing strategies to great discounted office furniture options.