I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
My wife and I have been full-time in our home-based businesses for over fifteen years and in that time, we’ve learned a lot about working from home.
So without wasting your time, you’ll find below our best tips to make working from home easier and more effective.
9 Best Tips For Working From Home In A Home-Based Business
1. Dedicated Work Space
It’s important that you have both workspace and personal space when you work at home. Without a separation of the two spaces, most people find that it’s hard to ever have an off-time.
Dedicated homework space can be as simple as a desk in the corner or as extravagant as a licensed kitchen where you run your prepared meal delivery business.
In our home, we have a licensed kitchen and two desks that are set side-by-side for Angela and me to work and collaborate.
We have friends whose workspace is the bar-side of the kitchen island where they work on their computers.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be dedicated.
2. Have A Morning Ritual
It’s easy to let your mornings get away from you when you are self-employed and working from home.
Whether it’s the kids or the dog, things just come up in the morning and without discipline, you’ll soon find yourself hoping to get your day started right after lunch.
My alarm goes off at the same time every work day. From bed, I go to the living room for a 30-minute workout/yoga session. That’s followed by a quick shower and brushing my teeth.
Then between my wife and I, we get the kids to school, have a cup of coffee (outside with the dog if the weather is nice), and then to work by 8:30.
It’s a ritual and it launches every day on schedule even without a boss or peer pressure from co-workers.
3. Invest In Good Tech
No matter what home-based business you’re launching, you’re going to be on the computer, on your phone, or on a tablet quite a bit.
However, slow internet is going to make that work take longer and make it more frustrating. Invest in the best internet available that fits your budget.
The same goes for your devices. When your old device begins to be a roadblock to efficiency, it’s time to upgrade.
In our house, we know that new devices are just part of the price of doing business (and they are a business expense), so we save a little each month into our ‘device’ savings so when it’s time to upgrade the money is available.
Finally, look for opportunities to use software that makes running your job easier.
For example, I use Canva Pro to quickly and easily create graphics including flyers for my businesses, business cards, infographics, and more. It cost a little, but it saves me hours every month. As an added bonus, it has millions of stock photos that are included in the subscription.
4. Take A Lunch Break
It’s easy to work through the day when you’re passionate about your work and your successes and failures hinge on your own work.
However, that’s not good for your productivity or mental/physical health. You need breaks and you need to take care of yourself.
Always take a break for lunch and make it a real break.
Begin your break with a nutritious meal to fuel you for the rest of the day and then do something for yourself. Do something to help you reset for the rest of the day.
My personal favorite is a walk around our property with the dog. For me, there’s nothing like some fresh air and sunshine to inspire a brainstorm of fresh ideas to attack the afternoon’s tasks.
Though some days I take a power nap instead. For me, 15 minutes of shut-eye makes all the difference.
What’s your ‘reset’ thing? A good book? A video game?
If you’re not sure, give walking a try. It’s good for the mind and body.
5. Have A Quitting Time
It’s easy to work late into the night when you don’t have to go home at the end of the day.
We aim for a quitting time for each day of the week just to make sure we do have much-needed downtime and family time. Now we vary that quitting time by the demands of each day. For example, Monday is delivery day, and the evening run sometimes won’t end until 6, so it’s a longer day.
Tuesday is a big cook day, and we like to get a jump on the week so we can be out of the kitchen on Friday, so Tuesday our quitting time is 6 pm. Wednesday and Thursday our quitting time is 5, but we’re often out of the kitchen earlier on Thursday.
Friday is for other businesses, such as this website. On Fridays quitting time is 4, but I can get a lot done if you keep my morning ritual.
However, I encourage you to keep your quitting time flexible but not for the sake of work. Keep it flexible for family and life.
One of the advantages of having a home-based business that’s big enough to support your family is that you have way more flexibility than when working for someone else.
My family’s primary income comes from our home-based prepared meal delivery business, and I love that we can flex our work hours to meet the needs of our family.
Somedays we take a long break for parent-teacher conferences and other days we just knock off early to go fishing.
When life happens, we have the flexibility to work in the evening. Life is good.
6. Have Office Hours For Customers
When clients know you work from home, many assume that means you’re always available. I don’t blame them for that assumption, and if it’s an emergency, I will be there for them.
However, we make it clear to all of our clients that we’re normally available for communication 8 am to 5 pm. Without those guidelines, we’re always checking our phone messages, texts, and emails and that’s just not the good life.
Be sure to communicate those office hours with automatic replies so your customers know what’s going on. In a short time, they’ll all be trained and know when they can and can’t expect to reach you.
7. Self Development
Just because you don’t work for someone else doesn’t mean that you don’t need ’employee development.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be flying around the country attending high-end training or masterclasses (though someday you might).
Instead, it means that you’re looking for opportunities to reskill yourself to be a better business person and just a better version of yourself.
I listen to podcasts while out on deliveries. I watch youtube videos while cooking. I sometimes listen to business books while either driving or cooking.
If you want to know what business and personal improvement books I love, visit my bookshelf here on this website.
If you like more structured learning, then I highly recommend the classes available on Udemy. They have everything you need to upgrade your business skills: marketing, copywriting, accounting, and even classes on specific software packages.
8. Have Family Rules
One of the benefits of working at home is being around the family, but it’s also one of the disadvantages.
It’s a blessing to be around when your kids get home or when those you care for need a little help.
However, there must be rules or you’ll never get anything done.
Here are some of the family rules around our work-from-home house.
- If you’re entering my workspace, do so quietly in case I’m on the phone or on a video call.
- If I’m typing, wait until I acknowledge you to start talking.
- Stay off of my work computer and phone unless I specifically offer it to you.
- Don’t take anything off of my work desk without specific permission.
- No playing or roughhousing in the commercial kitchen.
9. Shower Daily
This one sounds silly, but it’s important.
On days you’re not meeting with clients, having lunch with friends, or not interacting with co-workers it’s really easy to blow off a shower and shave. And it’s gross.
Sure, we can all miss a shower occasionally, but don’t make a habit of it.