Leaving the corporate rat race behind to run your own home-based business is a dream for many. What could be better than working and making money from the comfort of your own home with no boss breathing down your neck, no hour commute to work, and no boring corporate meetings to attend? This dream can be a reality if you have the initiative and know-how to effectively run a home business. Don’t become mesmerized with the dream, however. Working from homeWorking from home certainly comes with a number of benefits and perks, but it’s not all fun and games. Many who are fascinated with the idea of working out of their homes do not consider the effort needed to successfully run a home-based business.

It can be very easy to become distracted when it’s just you and your computer at home facing an eight hour work day. Taking a short coffee break can easily turn into an hour when there is no one but you to keep you on your toes. Working from home can definitely be rewarding, but it is important to keep the basic rules of running a successful home-based business in mind if you intend to reap those rewards.

Maintain Structure

The biggest problem many home-based business owners confront is the fact that there is no longer someone standing over their shoulder to keep them on track. When you work from home, it can be easy to get distracted and veer off track. A quick trip to the refrigerator or coffee pot can easily lead to a number of other distractions that grab your attention. At the end of the day, you may be left wondering why you didn’t accomplish much in the way of work.

While becoming distracted by things at home is one danger, it can also be tempting to dive right into a project first thing in the morning and neglect your other tasks. It is important to create a structure in your day that closely mirrors that you experienced in your former workplace. Plan your work day so that you have a specific start and stop time. You should also set aside certain time slots in each day for specific tasks. It is generally a good idea to start the day out with smaller tasks, such as sending any necessary emails, making client phone calls, or prospecting for new clients. If you dive right into the day with a large project, it is likely you will spend so much time working on it that your other tasks for the day will be forgotten.

Create a To-Do List

Whether you use a contact management software or simply write it down on a notepad, one of the first things you should do each morning is create a to-do list. Stick as closely to this list as possible. Not only will it give you a sense of organization and direction for your day, it can also provide you with a clearer focus and sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when you cross the final task off your list. For the home-based business owner, a to-do list is an absolute necessity. If it doesn’t make it on the list, chances are it will be forgotten.

Organize Family Time

Many moms choose to leave the corporate world to work from home so they can spend more time with their families. The sad truth is, if you intend to run a successful home-based business, you most likely will need to arrange for child care either in or out of the home. Work time and family time simply do not mix. If you start working from home with the idea that you can intermingle the two, you will soon find that your professional time is worked around your family’s schedule. While this can still work if planned out accordingly, plan on hiring a babysitter for young children so you can be sure to get in at least a few solid hours of work each day.

In addition to structuring your day, following a to-do list, and successfully separating work from family time, you should also motivate yourself with short and long-term goals to keep you going. Since you no longer receive progress reviews from a boss or supervisor, it is important to keep track of your own success. Running a home-based business may not be exactly what many first picture it will be, but it is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. Just stay focused, organized, and motivated, and the work-from-home dream can become a successful reality.

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