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9 Mistakes Most Home Business Owners Make

9 Mistakes Most Home Business Owners Make

Are you a home business owner or thinking about working for yourself and starting a home based business? If so, then you have to read the following mistakes that most home business owners make. These mistakes can cause many home businesses to fail within the first year.

1. They Treat Their Job As A Hobby

Most people who want to start a home business are looking for an escape of the daily grind. Of course the idea is awesome, but you need to keep in mind that a home business still takes a lot of work. If you are going to treat your home based business as a hobby, then you might as well keep your day job, because you won’t be making a lot of money to cover your bills.

Examples of treating business like a hobby:

– Sleeping in instead of waking up on time.
– Not completing all of the scheduled tasks.
– Going out with friends during set work hours.

2. They Don’t Dress For Success

There are so many people who say how great their home business is because they get to work in their pajamas. Sounds awesome, right? Wrong! Dressing up for success and putting on clothing that you would wear to an outside of home job set the tone for the day. Pajamas and messy hair set the tone of lounging and not being productive.

If your body and mind are in a relaxed state, then it’s likely that you won’t complete your tasks. No work means no pay, so get dressed for success.

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3. They Don’t Set Hours Of Operation

For most people, it’s hard to keep up with daily tasks and chores. Throw a home business into the mix and the schedule gets extremely crazy. Not setting hours of operation is the biggest mistake a home business owner can make.

Instead of randomly working throughout the day, take a look at your schedule and figure out how many hours you can work per week. Then, divide those hours into the number of days of the week that you are planning to do your work. Once you’ve figured out how many hours per day you are working, set specific time frames. If you have blocked off 8am to 1pm, then do not do anything else but focus on your work during that time slot. Of course, schedule your break time as well. Try to take about 10-20 minutes every hour to sit back, relax, take a restroom break or drink some water.

Tip: set your alarm for the time you start and finish work, as well as for all of your breaks in between.

4. They Don’t Set Goals

When a business owner doesn’t set any goals, a home business is doomed to fail. Goals help business owners be focused on tasks. Without goals, they are in the dark about how to run the business, what to do next, and how to reach their full potential.

Every home business owner should set short and long term goals. The short term goals will help to understand exactly what needs to be done each day/week and long term goals will give home business owners a vision and a passion to work towards something great.

Examples of specific short term goals: 

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– Write 2 blog posts per week.
– Share business with five new people per week.
– Sell X amount of products per day.
– Interact with customers on social media daily.
– Read 10 pages per day.

Examples of specific long term goals:

– Earn X amount of money this year.
– Add X people to my mailing list this year.
– Read 10 personal development books this year.

5. They Don’t Separate Work Time And Family Time

If you are a family man or woman, then setting work time and family time is extremely important. There is time for work, there is time for play, and there is time for family. Not separating these different times can lead to a lot of stress and discontent, both for you and for them.

Your family has to understand that when you are scheduled to work, you have to work. Share your schedule with them, so they know exactly when your working hours are. Similarly, when your working hours are over, don’t go running to your computer or making business phone calls.

6. They Don’t Provide Value

Many businesses fail because they constantly advertise, but don’t provide any value. Of course a big part of any business is to advertise and sell products, but in many cases it’s even more important to provide value to the customers.

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Customers are looking for answers to their problems. They are seeking someone to relate to them and show them how their problem can be solved.

Here are a few of ways you can provide value to your customers: 

– Give away a free e-book.
– Shoot a series of “how to” videos and give them away for free.
– Post something useful or inspirational to your blog or Facebook page.
– Ask questions and then answer them in timely manner.

7. They Don’t Grow A Social Network

Any business without a social network is likely not to survive for too long. A good social network is the bread and butter of a home business. A lot of new business owners are scared to get into social media because it’s a new frontier for them.

The more people you know and can share your product information with, the faster your business will grow. The best way to get to know people is to get on one or a few of the social media websites like Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. You can even give out your social media profile information to local people, so they can add you or friend you online.

You wouldn’t call all of your customers to remind them about sales, to give them coupons, or provide them with value on daily basis. Yet, you can easily do all of these things if you are connected to them on a social network, which means more sales for you.

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Adding all of your contacts to an autoresponder, such as Aweber, will increase your reach even more because you will be able to deliver your messages straight your customer’s mailboxes.

8. They Don’t Create A Business Website

Although not all home businesses will fail without a website, it’s very hard to grow a business without one local place where all of your your products and services can be previewed. A website can bring new customers who live outside of your town, outside of state, and even outside of your country.

A business website can give you the following advantages:

– Display your products and services.
– Help customers find you on a social network.
– Provide value through blog posts.
– Give away your digital products.
– Capture your customers’ email addresses.
– One local place to send everyone to for more information.
– Access to non-local population.
– A website can work for you 24/7, even while you are sleeping.

9. They Don’t Keep Track Of Their Expenses

Last, but not least, business owner who don’t track their expenses usually fail at running a home business. A lot of people put way too much money into a business, but don’t cover all of their costs by selling products and services. Knowing how much money goes out and comes in is crucial to sustaining a profitable business.

Additionally, every home business owner can write off business expenses. If you don’t keep track of how much you are spending, you may be losing tax money at the end of the year. There are a number of different software and apps out there that you can use to track all of your expenses. Simply type “business expense tracker” into Google and you will be able to find different options that will fit your budget or even be free.

Featured photo credit: elegant business multitasking multimedia man using devices at home via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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