This post is contributed by Margie Zable Fisher, president of Zable Fisher Public Relations, which specializes in e-commerce and product P.R. and publicity. Sign up for her free, award-winning public relations newsletter.
One of the perks of owning an eCommerce business is the ability to work from home. Sometimes, though, working from home seems more like a challenge than a benefit. As someone who has worked and run a business from home for 15 years, I have experienced the highs and lows that are familiar to many of you.
Along the way I have found ideas and tips that have helped me become happier, healthier and more successful as a work-from-home business owner. Here are some of my favorites:
- Create the optimal home office environment. When I first started out, my office was an open area in the house. I liked the feeling of openness. A few years into it I realized that I needed the privacy of an office with a door. Here are some other things I needed (and you might want too):
- A treadmill desk. This has helped my back tremendously, since I’m no longer sitting for hours a day. And while I don’t use the treadmill much, I’m still standing up and working, which is also healthier.
- Personalize. For those of you who have families, your office may be the only space that is yours alone. I painted my walls a light purple, and hang artwork, pictures and other items that I treasure.
- Off limits to the family. Yes, my daughter sometimes sneaks in and writes cute notes like the one below, and my dog likes to sleep on his dog bed in my office while I’m working, but no one is allowed to touch my computer or work product. The safety of my work is paramount.
- No clutter. I can’t work productively in a cluttered environment. When I work from home, my environment is the entire house, not just my office. While I can close the doors to bedrooms, a messy kitchen, dining room or living room throws me off my game. For those of you saying these things don’t bother you, I will offer you a challenge. Take care of eliminating mess and clutter in your home and see if it helps you be more productive at work. I am willing to bet it will.
- Schedule your day to maximize health, happiness and success. Since you’re not working according to an employer’s schedule, you can set up your day any way you want. Here are some ideas:
- Put a daily workout time (outside of the office) on your calendar and honor that appointment daily. Besides the obvious health benefits, a workout gets you out of the office once per day, makes you happier (all those endorphins) and gives you a break from your work.
- Do your toughest work when you are most productive. I’m a morning person, so I schedule my most important work activity early in the morning. Then I go to the gym or outside for my work out, as a break. My virtual assistant is a night person, so she works during the night, and we generally communicate through email, sometimes catching up with each other in the wee hours of the morning.
- Make health and family a priority. One of the smartest ideas I learned from another business owner was to schedule all of your family and health commitments on your calendar at the beginning of the year. A doctor’s appointment or soccer game is just as important to your life than an hour working. Working from home offers the privilege of scheduling around these important personal events. Take advantage of that.
- Have fun with friends. A few years ago my husband started calling me “the hermit,” because I wasn’t going out much with friends. While we joke about it now, it’s easy to forget there’s a big world out there when you spend so much time by yourself and on the computer. Now I make an effort to find and participate in fun activities that allow me to spend social time with others. I plan these events each month, and honor them just as much as my other commitments.
I hope these tips will help you on your way to loving working from home. What tips can you share?