Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Working from Home

by / Friday, 28 September 2012 / Published in Business, Entrepreneurs

Some people dream about what it would be like to work from home.  They envision themselves sleeping in, making a big breakfast and sitting at their computer in their pajamas.  They see evenings spent with their friends and family, working whatever hours they want and weekends off.  When you paint a picture like that it seems irresistible.

As nice as that sounds, it’s a recipe for disaster.  If you are working from home in the hopes of having that kind of atmosphere, you will see a decline in productivity.  You will become frustrated and exhausted.  Your expectations will be severely shattered.

Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when working from home.  If you are doing any of these things, do what you can to change.  It will make you a more productive and professional entrepreneur.

Working in Your Pajamas

As easy as it is to roll out of bed and jump in front of the computer, it starts your day off being lazy.  You would never go to work in an office wearing your pajamas.  Don’t do it at home.  Your house is your place of business.  When you wake up in the morning take time to eat, shower and get dressed.  You will notice a difference in the amount of work you get done and your customers will see a difference in your attitude. When you dress for the job, you are more confident and efficient.

No Defined Boundaries

Set aside an area to work in.  Make sure your family knows that is your work space and they should not disturb you unless it’s an emergency or you’re having a break.  If you are in between phone calls or emails and you think it would be a good time to unload the dishwasher or throw a load of laundry in, think again.  You will most likely get distracted and it will take a long time to get back into your routine.

Failing to Set a Schedule

Set a time to get up in the morning.  Make lunch at the same time every day.  Set short breaks for yourself to go to the bathroom, get a drink or just relax.  Don’t use this time to take naps.  Even if you set an alarm, your body will still be tired.  A schedule will keep you on track and help you stay busy.  Make a plan for the next day.  Make sure you have enough work to fill up all your time.  An hour you don’t work is an hour that your competitors can use to get ahead of you.

Never Leave the House

People who never leave their office become frustrated, obsessed and exhausted.  ‘Don’t take your work home with you’ is good advice, but it’s hard to do when you work at home.  When your schedule ends, leave your work until the next day.  Go outside and go for a walk, find an activity you can get involved in or spend time with your family.  Find something to get your mind off your work.  It will all be there tomorrow.

Forget Professionalism is Still Important

This goes beyond what you’re wearing and moves into the field of your attitude and your surroundings. There will be times when you have to make phone calls or hold a video conference.  Whether your client sees you or not, you need to stay professional.  Make sure that your work space is clean and organized.  Don’t have dishes or children’s toys on the desk.  Before holding a video conference look behind you and check what your ‘backdrop’ is.  Will your client be seeing an unmade bed, a kitchen table with the breakfast dishes still out or an open door leading into your bathroom?  Set up a clean professional area behind you.  Try to avoid the ‘terrorist look’.  Don’t hang up a white sheet to hide your mess.

Even though you are at home, treat it like an office.  Act like you have a client watching you all day.  You will see the benefits of staying professional, even in your home.