More and more people every year are turning toward pursuing their handmade talents, network marketing or direct sales companies with the hopes of becoming successful enough to stay at home with their families and pay the bills at the same time. No matter what form of entrepreneurship you take on, I find that there are some key factors involved in setting yourself up for success if you are going to be working from home.
Stop comparing your situation to your stay at home mom friends. If you have been a stay at home parent and now you are seeking an income without leaving your tots in daycare, then working from home is a logical step. But be kind to yourself and realize that working from home and staying at home mean that your time is going to need to be spent a little differently. Stay at home moms and dads have a 24/7 career of caring for children, tidying up after them, fixing things they break, and making sure that all of the household stuff is handled to boot! Seriously- it’s a lot! So if your spouse and your kiddos are used to you being there for them all day, every day and have taken for granted the well oiled machine you call home, they are going to have to adjust a bit, and so will you. Likewise, if your situation means that suddenly you don’t have a job so being at home as well as working from home is a new adventure, make it clear that you will still be working, just in a different way. Sometimes the dishes will be left undone, you might have to eat frozen pizza, the beds may be left unmade and heaven forbid- there will be dust bunnies under them. It is okay. I promise. When I first began looking at my handmade jewelry as something I could actually make a business out of, I made the mistake of believing that my apartment still had to be as immaculate as Preschool Mom Friend who had three kids and kept her two story house in tip top shape and dust free always. Don’t do that to yourself. Realize that what you are building with your business will benefit your kids and spouse more in the long run than a spotless kitchen sink tonight.
Have an organized and dedicated work space in your home. One place where you will want to have things super organized and tidy is your work space. First though, you will need to designate a space in your home that is your work zone. If you are with a network marketing company or direct sales, unless you carry inventory, this can be as simple as a small desk in a corner big enough for your laptop, a notebook and some file folders. With a handmade business though, things get a little trickier. The struggle is real when Hobby Lobby has that half price sale on fabulous sparkly things every other week but I know that my storage drawers are already maxed out. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it unless you have the space for it! If you live by yourself or like me, are a single mom with a crafty kid who is used to us basically living in one giant art space that we also eat and sleep in, then your space is yours to fill up however you choose. But if you are married or living with a partner or roommate then be respectful of their feelings and spacial concerns. If you have an area roped off where your creativity can flow and it doesn’t take over the entire home, the people in your household will be more supportive and might even give you the extra closet. If you aggressively spread out supplies, finished pieces, paperwork and whatnots all over the place, they will probably begin to resent your business rather than encourage it. Keep your work zone organized so that you have everything you need in reach when you need it. Working from home with children around can often mean a serious time crunch and if you spend half of your working time searching for what you need, you will be a lot less productive and a lot more stressed.
Organize and schedule your time. It’s really easy for work from home folks to feel like they’re on a permanent vacation. It’s also really easy to turn on Netflix and think you can catch up with your favorite shows while working, and in some cases, like if you’re creating handmade work you probably can, but otherwise nope. If you are at home building a business that means you are physically working your business during allotted times. I have found that planning projects, promos, posts, videos etc and writing them down on specific days and times of day mean that they will get done. Having a random list of ideas and thoughts that I get to “when I have time” means that I don’t get to them. Before I know it, the day is gone and I’m off to pick up my little person from school and after that it’s mommy mode. Make sure you set aside time to work your business at least a little bit every day. If you are starting out as a part time entrepreneur while you’re still working a full time or part time job outside of the home, make sure you are scheduling in whatever you can throughout your week. If that means one hour a week creating something, 15 minutes promoting your fabulous items on social media, or 15-20 minutes a day reaching out to customers or potential customers if you’re in a sales business. Treat it like a business and it will grow into one. Treat it like a hobby and it will be.
Get your family involved. If your family or partner in life help your business to grow they will be more supportive. When my daughter was 3 years old I was working with a direct sales company and I let her sticker business labels to bags. Now that she’s older she helps me to price and sticker jewelry pieces for upcoming shows. She is even a pro at this point in helping me take down my table at the end of shows and she loves it! It makes her part of my business and so then my success becomes a more shared joy than just mom making some money on Saturdays. Beyond your loved ones actually helping with hands on parts of your work from home business, create rewards for them. Many of us are motivated to take on a side hustle, or make our handcrafted business successful because it would help our families in some way. Especially when your time is more limited because you’re still working outside of the home, let them know what it could mean for everyone for you to make your business work. The time strain now for greater rewards later; a family vacation, summer camps, weekly dinners out, a forever home- basically whatever is important to you and your loved ones. People will support what they help to create and build.
Designate family time where business is not allowed. I’m sure I’m not the first one to tell you that entrepreneurs are never truly “off the clock”. Whether with a handmade business, joining a network marketing team, or opening an actual storefront, your business is always on your brain. Ideas are flowing in at all sorts of random hours of the night, worries, fears, remembering a customer that would love the current deal- these are the intangibles that flood our minds. Then there are the hours of non-paid work like looking for the best deals on the best quality of materials for your craft, labeling and stickering products, posting on social media, watching informational and training videos- the list could go on. But here’s the deal; when it’s family time, it’s family time and nothing else. Like I said earlier, more than likely there is a loved one that you want to be successful for, whether it’s to make sure your kids never have to worry for college money, to help your aunt pay her medical bills, retire your husband early or make sure your parents never have to worry for anything in retirement. These are people that love you and you love them, so enjoy and embrace your time with them. Turn off the phone and have dinner without interruptions. Play checkers with your kid for the upteenth time before they get too old to want to. The messages will still be there in an hour or two and the world will keep spinning.
I believe that working from home can be an amazing opportunity and that anyone who has that entrepreneur spirit and is willing to work through the rough patches can find success. I hope that these thoughts are helpful to you with your business, or help you see that it is possible if you have been thinking about starting one.
Where you can find me:
If you are an entrepreneur at heart but haven’t found your niche just yet, I work with an awesome network marketing company, that offers high quality health and beauty products. For more info check out my website: https://naturallysandra.itworks.com
If you are seriously considering a position on my team, message me through my website or reach out via email: firstname.lastname@example.org