It’s become very common for the 60+ crowd to finally carve out the time to begin the home business they were afraid to try in their younger years or to monetize a hobby or passion. Very likely, they will be working from home, and as exciting as this is, there are a few things to be wary of.
As an artist, I’ve had a home office/studio for some years now and know that the most difficult thing of being your own boss is making yourself do all the grunt work. That, and of course, making the best use of your time.
If you’re not working from an outside office that you’ve had to commute to, no one believes you’re truly working. That, I’m afraid, makes you very available.
This becomes truer when your home office is a desk in the corner of a spare bedroom, as opposed to an honest to goodness home office with floor to ceiling cupboards and wall to wall shelving, a work table facing an east window, a lower desk designed especially for a dual fuelled torch. A large skylight…
Oh, wait a minute… back to writing the article.
I’ve always thought that people who pen these types of little ‘instruction’ essays must be an authority on whatever subject they’re writing about. This might lead one to think that I am that authority.
You might think that I have tackled the time management thing and figured it all out; that I will have some proven methods for you to apply for yourself. One, two, three ways to manage your time. This is not that. I have not figured it all out, although I am always in the process of trying something else.
Here are some of those things I’ve tried in the past to keep myself on task. Just because they’ve not yet really worked for me doesn’t mean that they won’t work for you. You may be far more industrious than I. Very likely you are.
You wanted to be your own boss. Behave like it – set yourself up a schedule. Now here comes the tricky part – stick to it! Write it up, make it pretty and tack it to the wall or use the app that puts it on your computer desktop where you can see it often.
Make it easy for you to follow; set yourself up to succeed. If you know that it can take a couple of hours before your energy kicks in, you’re not a morning person. Set aside that time for reading and catching up and plotting the day ahead.
As an artist, I use much of my morning looking at images. While that may not seem like anything at all, the brain is clicking away, busy storing colours, textures, expressions – all to be used soon, or later.
I once heard someone muse, “We don’t spend enough time just thinking anymore.” Very true. And thinking requires quiet time, still time.
Take short breaks, even when you think you don’t need one. If this is your home business, then it involves something you’re passionate about. You love it. That sometimes means you can be obsessive.
Maybe as you work you forget to drink enough water or eat lunch. This will, I promise you, lead to burnout. Burnout is abysmal. It will make you think you’re doing the wrong thing, that you’ve made a mistake starting your business.
It can certainly make you think you are talentless and that you no longer have the skills you thought you had. You are dried up, burnt out. You get the picture. All because you skipped recess or the walk to the water cooler.
Having goals is a great suggestion. We hear it all the time, but how many of us follow the advice? How many of us take the time to write out their goals?
What is it that you want to achieve with your business? Or maybe it isn’t even your business, maybe it is just your skillset that you want to improve. Whatever those goals may be, in addition to writing them out, taking time in your day to visualize those goals is key.
What do they look like in the real world? These productive thoughts will begin to work on you at a deeper, subconscious level, and you will find yourself automatically becoming better at staying focussed and on task. Energy shifts are real. I strive always to be better at accomplishing this.
It is the Christmas season, after all. Make yourself a written, workable, customized for you, daily schedule, and put it where you can see it.
Make your smartphone work for you. Set those reminders so that you don’t forget to get up and take a walk around, get a drink of water, or just expand your view and gaze out the window.
Put your day on pause for only a short bit. Then get back to it. Dirty dishes and laundry will wait. Another great pitfall to working from home.
Lastly, dream it in colour. Make it real in your mind. The more you believe this is yours, the more dedicated you will be to yourself.
It’s been said that if you can make your living doing that thing that you love doing above all else, you will never work a day in your life. I believe this to be true.
Whether or not that love will bring you millions, I can’t say, but it will bring you joy, and that, my friends, is worth all the money in the world.
Do you work from home? What challenges do you face as a work-at-home entrepreneur? Please share your experiences and insights in the comments below.
Tags Small Business
The 12 Week Year – Brian P Moran. An amazing concept and it works for me. I highly recommend it.
After a career in academia, I now work at home – I write retirement books (have authored five; my latest is The New Retirement, The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life, 3rd edition, John Wiley and Sons, October 2022), and I’m the “Healthy Living” columnist for Ideal-Living magazine. It’s perfect for me – I have my office, and set my own hours. I like deadlines and I’m good at meeting them (very important), and I have time for family, travel, tennis, volunteering, and other activities.