I have a friend who, when offered the opportunity to start working from home, balked. She couldn’t imagine working in solitary, without the camaraderie of her co-workers. I, on the other hand, love it.
Working from home is better suited to certain people (i.e., introverts like myself) but no matter your personality, you absolutely should consider it for your entrepreneurial endeavors. After all, it’s cheaper than office space and you can’t beat the commute.
That being said, I humbly offer you my secrets to success:
1. Center Yourself
In your office, that is. The only place you need to be during work hours is at your desk, doing your job. Not folding laundry. Not catching up on Emmy Award-winning daytime television. Focus, people! It can be a challenge, I know, with so many temptations luring you away from getting work done, but if you give in, you’ll be renting office space in a month.
2. More Organized Shall You Be
The more organized your home office, the more productive you will be. At least, that’s what Yoda says. Set your office up so that any files, paper, pens, or scissors you need during the typical day are within reach so you’re not getting up and risking distractions again.
3. Create Your Command Center
I know not everyone has the luxury of having an entire room for a home office, and that’s okay. The important thing is that you dedicate space to your office, however small it may be. The purpose here is to ensure you have an area to get work done that is separate from your relaxing area. This is especially important when you close up shop for the day and want to remove yourself from the temptation to get one last email sent out. (Now, the fact that you can check email on your phone is a whole other can of worms).
4. Use the Force (to Get Out of the House)
Nothing short of The Force can get me out of my comfort zone working from home to go out and network. But remember that meeting people is important to the growth of your business. So find local networking groups that include potential customers and put those events on your calendar. Don’t forget to actually attend them!
5. Use Your Light Saber to Dazzle People
Rather than focus on the fact that you’re a small, home-based business (which might make some people think you’re less legitimate than a “real” company with a “real” office), put the focus on your stellar products, services, or customer support. You absolutely can compete with the bigger players, so think big!
6. Wear Your Chewbacca PJs … Some of the Time
Yes, a major perk to working from home is the dress code. Just this morning, I lounged in PJs until 10 a.m. And that’s fine, but there’s also something to be said about getting dressed to improve your productivity and attitude. Sometimes I even dress up “just because,” and my 10-year-old asks if I had a business meeting that day. It’s okay to dress up for yourself!
7. Find Your Fellow Jedis
There are a legion of other small business owners who work from home. Finding and connecting with them can make you feel like part of a community and make up for not having those water cooler conversations each day. Social media is a great place to find them. Or, if you know of people in your neighborhood who work from home, schedule regular coffee dates so you can get from behind your computers and just talk with others who understand your world. I started a home business group in my neighborhood, and have been amazed at how many different types of businesses there are within a few blocks of my home!
Editor’s note: This was originally written by Susan Payton for AllBusiness.