The ability to work from a home office has a variety of benefits as well as a load of challenges that one has to manage to maintain and grow a successful business. Here are four tips to help:
- Maintain a dedicated work area. Not only is it important to have all of your work implements organized and in one place, equally important is having a quiet place where things can be accomplished without interruption. If you tend to spend a great amount of time on the phone it will only degrade your reputation if your clients are always hearing kids or dogs in the background when they call you.
- For the sanity of you and your family, set borders. This can be especially difficult when starting out and you need to hustle, but down the road just some simple steps can make your life much easier. Here are some tips:
- Have a set schedule: This goes both ways-work when you are supposed to be working and be off when you are supposed to be off. In today’s work world there will always be exceptions, but being available 24/7 to your clients will only damage your personal relationships, but also lead you to resenting them down the road.
- Build systems for success: Whether you make a “to-do list” on paper or set everything up on your tablet or laptop doesn’t matter-build your system and adapt it so you are accomplishing everything you need to for business growth and personal reward. You didn’t start doing this so you could work constantly and not deliver.
- Make Rules: Often the benefit of working from home is for both ourselves and our spouses and/or children. Although it is difficult, draw clear lines that unless there is an emergency you are working when you are working and need to not be disturbed-on the flip side, remember this only works if you are available and engaged when you are not in “working hours”.
- Turn the Page: Remember that no matter where you call work-the office or home, there will be something in the inbox. Once you accomplish your objectives and there are no crisis situations on the horizon you must close the door and know that there will be more on your list tomorrow. That’s just the way it works.
- Track your expenses to save money: This includes things like business trips to your internet service. Small things can add up, and there is no point in lining the government’s pockets with your hard earned cash. A tax professional and/or bookkeeper can be vital in knowing what can and can’t be considered reasonable expenses. These are services that in today’s world can be booked on an hourly basis.
- Get involved with someone in the business: Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to be alone on your island. There are many business models that allow a person to be a contract employee remotely. In our case at Trangistics, we have agents that get the benefits of working from homes, anywhere in the country, with the incredible support system we provide from our home offices. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
While it is important to follow the rules above, one of the huge benefits of a flexible schedule is the ability to get out and take the kids to their games and to head out for a round of golf or a bike ride when the weather is perfect. In these situations it remains important to maintain your professional appearance by doing things like making sure your kids understand that if you are on the phone they are to remain silent until you are off. One strategy we recommend is to retain a local answering service that will take your calls and transcribe your messages and send them to your phone via text or e-mail so you can decide if the call is important enough to return immediately without the pressure of having to make that choice on the fly. Clients understand if there is the background noise of a coffee shop or dogs in the background occasionally, but too often and a reputation will develop and stick with you.
Being a home-based agent is the way to go if you want to work for yourself, set your own hours, and achieve a work and life balance. Making that business profitable is key though, if you want to become and remain successful. Getting yourself ahead financially isn’t that hard if you use the tips that you have just gone over. A successful home based business is a great asset and a valuable investment.
Interested in having a support system behind you while you control your destiny? Trangistics may be a great fit for you. Our most successful freight agents have come from a variety of industries including the mortgage and real estate professions. Drop us a line and let’s talk. You can reach us at [email protected].