One of the great advancements of the Internet Age is the ability for many of us to work from home as solopreneurs. Being able to set your own schedule and work at a job you love as well as travel is something a lot of people enjoy. It’s important to make sure to keep your eyes on the prize when working in this capacity and not fall into bad habits that decrease productivity. Here are a few helpful hints to make sure your new business thrives and you continue to make profit as you build your online business.
1. Set a Schedule
When you are working for yourself, it’s easy to fall into the habit of making your new business a 24/7 job. They say you never have a more difficult boss than yourself, so it’s a good idea to keep your work life confined to particular hours in a day. There’s no need to sacrifice time to yourself or time with your family. After all, those are usually the reasons people go into business for themselves in the first place. Set a number of hours each day that you will work and stick to them, just like you would with any other job. Days off are important too so remember to schedule downtime when you can recuperate and recharge.
2. Dress For It
There’s no incentive to get up, shower and get dressed every day like there would be for a traditional job. Part of the dream is working in your pajamas or sitting with your laptop on the beach soaking up the sun. These are all worthwhile reasons to pursue an independent career, but it’s also a good idea to do what you would do for any other job to keep yourself in the mindset of working. When you wake up and go to your computer for your scheduled work hours, shower and dress as a part of your daily routine just as if you were going to a regular job. This will help put you in the right frame of mind.
3. Avoid Social Media
The siren song of the Internet is always there, calling to solopreneurs who are bored or frustrated. Social media sites can be one of the worst time sinks and before you know it several hours will have passed. It’s very easy to click over to Facebook or Twitter and spend time scrolling through these sites because they have an endless supply of distractions. Those cute Youtube videos of kittens are a lot more fun than work but your decrease in productivity will be obvious after a while. During your work hours, either eliminate social media sites entirely from your day or set a timer if you really need a break to scroll through Facebook and see what your friends are up to. There are also apps available that will time out social media sites to keep you focused.
4. Go Outside
We become very close to our computers when we work online. Most of our days are spent indoors to support our new lifestyles. This can turn into days of drinking coffee and sitting in front of a screen for so long you almost forget what the sun looks like. When it is time for you to take a break, or after your set hours, go outside for a while. Even if it’s just a walk to the grocery store or in the park, time outdoors will rejuvenate you and remind you there’s still a world out there beyond your computer screen.
5. Eat Well
Your diet is important and you can fall into the habit of eating poorly when you are first working in the online world. Those cookies are right there and they go well with coffee, don’t they? You’ve been so focused on something that you completely forget to eat and now you’re starving, so you raid the fridge. They say you should never go grocery shopping hungry for similar reasons. If you spend a lot of time at home, stock your fridge with healthy options so you don’t acquire a spare tire along with your newfound freedom.
This is something we hardly ever think about, but your posture is important to your overall health and your ability to continue working at the computer. Humans weren’t built to sit in one place all the time hunched over a keyboard. After working online for some time, it’s easy to end up with extremely poor posture. This can lead to various aches and pains as well as illness. The injuries sustained by those with bad posture can also equal a loss of ability in working at the computer because it becomes too painful. Good posture is imperative for solopreneurs because their financial stability depends on their ability to use a computer. Make sure you are working at a desk with an ergonomic chair instead of on the sofa or in bed. Your body will thank you.
7. Create a Backup
One of the great mantras of online life is save early and often. This is a mistake many people make at any point in their career. No matter what kind of work you do, a backup is necessary. A USB or an external hard drive can be used to make sure you don’t lose any of your work or client information. Computers are fallible and we are all one mistake away from disaster if we don’t remember to save our work as often as possible.
8. Turn It Off
After you have completed your work hours for the day and checked all your social media sites, turn off everything you have. This will give you a break from staring at a screen so you can immerse yourself in real life again. Most other jobs do not ask their employees to be on their phones or checking their emails obsessively and it is no different when you’ve gone into business for yourself. Go somewhere else for a while instead of being tethered to technology. Even though it makes life easier and offers the opportunity of working for yourself, there is no reason to be at its beck and call when you are off hours.
9. See Other People
For the solopreneur, part of the joy of the job can also be a detriment. If you work at home, particularly if you live alone, this can be a lonely experience. There are no office friendships or chitchat and the people you’d normally see on a daily basis are no longer around. It’s just you, your company and your coffeepot. Days can spiral into weeks alone and this cuts into productivity because people need to have interaction with others for good mental health. If you find yourself feeling like an island away from others, it’s time to make dinner plans with friends or go out to that bar you’ve always wanted to try. Human interaction is an important part of life and those working from home need it just as much as anyone else.
This might be the hardest one of all. Getting exercise is much harder when you’re working from home and you don’t have the impetus of dressing to impress. Unfortunately this will show up on your waistline just like eating poorly, and together they are a deadly combination. Even a small amount of exercise will be worthwhile because it also makes your skin healthier and will brighten your overall mood. Even a few minutes a day can make a drastic difference, so try to schedule exercise into your daily routine just as you would when you worked a traditional nine-to-five job.
Working online is one of the great opportunities of the modern age. We still have some time before we can adjust to these new and exciting realities because our habits are still based on regular jobs. If we can stick to a similar kind of routine as we had back when we were working for other people, we will be far more successful. Kicking bad habits is an important step on the journey and developing good behaviors will lead to entrepreneurial success.