Sep 262010

Self Improvement – Doing Business from Home

It just took over the house

In the Oct/Nov ’92 issue of Sunshine Horizons, Beverly Lewis tells about “one couple so committed to this business they’ve literally turned their entire house into a miniature university. As I walked through their kitchen during a visit one day, I saw a Nature’s Spring on the counter. The kitchen table was loaded with company products and literature. Each of the rooms was filled with educational books and other related paraphernalia. After touring their home and noticing no bedroom, I couldn’t help ask them where they sleep! Their level of enthusiasm amazes me, and it’s just one example. There are thousands of others.”

Each person must decide how they want to deal with this problem as it happens. You can set firm limits, throttle the business to keep it from growing further, move, build on to add room or open a store. Your choice should meet your needs for room, privacy, location and potential for further expansion.

“Blessed is he who has found his work. Let him ask no other blessing.”
-Thomas Carlyle

“Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.”
-Mr. Spock

There’s just nowhere to hide

Sometimes you just need to wash dishes or read a book. If your business is in your house, people will drop by at unpredictable times. When the business is small that might not be such a problem. In fact, being available to care and share at odd hours may be a service that distinguishes you from less-popular competitors.

Setting (and enforcing) business hours

One way to manage the demands on your time is to post the hours that you are open and then stick to them. It’s not always easy to be firm when a friend with a need (but poor planning skills) knows that you must be in there somewhere.

It’s usually not that bad. Most people will respect your need to have an orderly life with some time set aside for sleep or whimpering in a corner.

Less TV, more real life

Soap operas, reruns and especially the hot new shows can sap your time and attention. Sure, TV can be entertaining but building a new business can be a lot more fun. Instead of watching other people do things and listening to other people laugh, you can enjoy the real thing.

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.

“Television watching takes up more time than any other activity our society engages in.” -Scientific Australian

“The whole day stretches before us with unlimited opportunity! And what better way to appreciate that opportunity than by squandering it watching cartoons all day!”
-Calvin, Weirdos from Another Planet, Bill Watterson

Bottles behind the bushes

As much as you would like to spend all your time waiting for people to show up and pick up their products, there ARE some other things that need to be done from time to time.

I solved the problem by telling customers how much their check should be and then leaving their products, invoice and an envelope in a dry spot on the porch. They picked up their herbs, put the check in the envelope and shoved it through a crack in the garage door. It worked like a charm. One loyal customer is a real estate agent who can’t spare the time during the day and likes to drop by after 10:30 p.m. Bottles behind the bushes makes us both very happy; she gets her herbs and I get my sleep.

Don’t forget the family

Take time to be with your family. A new business can be demanding but it doesn’t deserve your total attention. You probably started the business to help your family with their health or finances. Trading your income for your time, attention and love makes a lousy exchange.

Be kind to your family. Don’t let your anxiety or frustrations with business matters splatter all over your spouse and children; you will need their support and good will at times like these.

When you set a goal, take the wishes and circumstances of your family into consideration. Don’t leave them behind. In fact it’s a good idea to involve your family in planning and decision making. They will often think of things that you would have overlooked. Their input can be invaluable.

Your family may even enjoy participating in the business. Because “opposites attract” it’s likely that your spouse has qualities that will complement yours. Split up the responsibilities in a way that makes the best use of your individual talents. Very few people have achieved business success without the support of their family.

When you outgrow the house

After a while, the business may be just too big to keep on running from the house. My sponsors kept on cannibalizing their home until they had to move out and buy the house next door to live in. I live in a sub-division with deed restrictions. Once I moved all the herbs to a store, I could finally relax about being turned in by neighbors. Actually, zoning ordinances can be a blessing in disguise. A past “Manager of the Year” team admits that they took a leap of faith and opened a store even though they weren’t ready to move financially. Once all their eggs were in one basket, they just had to succeed.

About the time you have developed 5-10 managers, you will be faced with a decision about your retail sales. Do you deliberately cut back and send people to your successline or do you make a separate place for the business? This is a very individual question and no other person’s decision will be exactly right for you. How does your approach to business fit with your house? Do you prefer giving home demonstrations? Do you need more privacy, more room or a better location? This is one of those major forks in the road. Meditate carefully on your choice; it can have permanent effects.

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

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