I’m having trouble feeling comfortable working from home. It seems like someone in my family always needs me, or I get distracted with domestic chores. Any suggestions?Solo Entrepreneurship is an amazing journey! However, it can also be extremely isolating if we aren’t careful. I think it comes down to organization and setting boundaries. Here are some great points to consider if you are facing a few struggles:
- Be sure you have a dedicated “office” space within your home. Setting up on the kitchen table will always feel “temporary” as you have to clean up and re-group if you ever want to feed anyone! However, you don’t want your office space to feel like a jail cell either, so look around your home and find a nice, bright corner or extra room that you can claim for your own. You want to feel happy and inspired in that space, so go for natural light and whatever else makes you feel good.
- Chunk your Calendar. I think it was Jen Cochrane, Gifted Travel Network’s brilliant COO, who came up with this term and it is GENIUS! Use a good electronic calendar like Google Calendar or Outlook and block out time every single week for you to be focused solely on your travel business tasks. Make sure your family “gets the memo” and then, HONOR THIS TIME! Hold your business time sacred. It is no less important than if you were employed by someone else and had job responsibilities. And, in this case, your boss is totally AWESOME!
- Set Boundaries – and keep them! Look closely at your weekly schedule and set your business hours based on a realistic view of when you are willing to be dealing with clients. If you pick your kids up from school at 2:45, schedule your lunch hour for 2:30 – 3:30 daily, for example, so you can be present for your kids as well as for your clients. Once you determine your “open” hours (it’s fine to say something like “weekends by appointment only”), publish them on your website, blog, Facebook page, or wherever you communicate with your prospects and clients. Have a phone system where you can tell if the incoming calls are work or personal and only answer the work-related calls during your open hours – send the business inquiries to voice mail. And, only call clients back within your open hours, or you will set a precedent that you are available all the time. This sounds rigid, I know, but you have to train people how to do business with you. Obviously, if you have clients traveling and there is an emergency, you will want to be available, but not for regular business transactions.
- Surround yourself with people who support you. You might have the most supportive spouse, kids, friends, and neighbors in the world…or you might not! I have coached quite a few new travel professionals who were struggling with not having the full support of their “inner circle” and it can be tough. It’s important to keep your family & friends informed of your excitement and of your challenges, but you need more than just their support. A “tribe” of like-minded people who are going through the same thing you are (or who have already been there) is CRITICAL. Joining a training program or host agency that provides a strong “family feel” and is focused on connecting you with others around the country who “get it” is a vital part of success. You don’t feel like you are out there on your own and always have an understanding ear to bounce ideas off of.
So, go ahead and set yourself up for success. You’ve GOT THIS!