There are a couple of things that are not as glamorous when you start working from home – many challenges you have to deal with on a daily basis.
And although not everybody will face the same challenges, here are some of the more common ones…
1) Self-discipline / Self-management.
Do you also find it is much harder to stay on task in a home office when there is no one watching over your shoulder?
It is easy to get distracted – even with the best intentions. A friend can show up unexpectedly; or you need to run to the shop for bread and milk; or there is a party coming and you need a new outfit; or the washing is piling up and you need to attend to it; or you lose yourself on the Internet and in social media.
There are so many things that can test your self-discipline at home.
If you also struggle with this type of self-discipline / self-management, possible solutions can include to….
Plan your day and set some rules – mostly for yourself.
Show up at your “office” at the same time each morning. Block out the times you will work and then stay focused on the tasks at hand. When you are in your office, you work.
When you know you get lost on the Internet, set a timer and limit yourself to the set time frame to search the Internet or to work on your social media.
Schedule specific breaks for times when you need to do the washing or other household tasks, and limit trips to town for weekends and after hours when your “work day” is over.
Another big challenge of working from home is that…
2) You’re “always” at work.
This is the one challenge that I struggle with the most. I often allow the temptation to work too much sneak into the picture. It is easy to quickly check some email while cooking dinner or run to the computer when you have a few minutes, or take work with you everywhere you go…
Technology even allows me to take my work on vacation (much to the frustration of my family).
Possible solutions when you feel “always” at work:
The easiest way to separate work from family life is to set rules and to have SPECIFIC working hours as the first wave of defense. But do it in such a way that it fits your lifestyle, because that is the only way you will really stick to those rules and working hours.
A schedule that works for me is to mainly work in the mornings. The afternoons are usually occupied by my daughter, and playing “mom’s taxi”. I rarely get to do any work during the afternoons and early evenings when the whole family is together. But, at night when everybody goes to bed and the house is quiet, I can return to my office and put in another 2-4 hours of working time.
If you are like me, one of the reasons we started a home business is to be more available to the family, right?
So we need to create some balance – even when it is difficult. Apart from setting work hours and rules for yourself regarding your business, also create a rule to “be in the moment” with your family.
Train yourself that when you are in the office, you work. But when you are with your family, you are fully present with them – not thinking and worrying about uncompleted work still waiting for you. Simply have fun as a family and create time to talk to each other.
The third big challenge I see all around me is…
3) Staying professional.
Working from home inherently lends itself to feeling less professional than when you have to dress up and go to a more formal office environment. And to add to this, many of our clients – especially when we work with corporate clients – sometimes also struggle with the idea that we can still be professional working from home.
Things that can diminish the professional image you want to portray are the way you answer your phone, or your appearance when we have a video Skype session with a client. Also a lot of background noise when you speak to a client on the phone or via Skype – noises like children playing and shouting in the background, the dog barking outside the window, the TV or radio playing.
Possible solutions to remain professional can include…
To have a dedicated workspace, preferably in a room with a door you can close to block out background noises.
If space is a problem, be creative to find somewhere you can put a desk away from the noisiest areas of the house, and or schedule client appointments at times that you know the house will be relatively quiet.
When you answer your phone, do it in a way that instills trust. Don’t just say Hi or Hallo. Always include your name as well, so that the caller knows he’s talking to the right person.
And when you have a meeting with a client – even if it is via Skype, dress up and apply some make-up. When you feel good about yourself, it boosts your confidence levels, shows you take your business and clients seriously and might even help to clinch the deal with a new client.
Lastly, one of the biggest challenges with your own business is you have…
4) No fixed income.
Many women start their new business to be in control of their financial destiny. This financial destiny can be very rosy, but it can also be disastrous for some.
Working from home inevitably means that you do not have a fixed pay-cheque every month. Your income varies from month to month and especially in the beginning, it is difficult to earn the same you’ve earned while working in corporate.
A possible solution can be to…
Evaluate your situation before you start your VA business. Are you the sole provider for your family? Do you have a savings fund that is big enough to pull you through six months without any income from your business? Do you have a spouse that can take care of your day-to-day living costs for an indefinite period until your business is sustainable and profitable?
If not, consider not quitting your job immediately. Rather start your VA business part-time because you need to live first. It’s quite stressful living off your savings and seeing it reach a point where you are forced to take up employment again.
When you are already in business and feel that your financial situation is not what you expect it to be, try to improve on your marketing, and take a different approach if your current marketing is not working. The only thing that will turn your financial situation around is to get more paying clients.
I’m curious. What are some of the challenges you are facing when working from home and how do you deal with it? Share them with us in the comments below.
To Your success
PS: If the challenge of “ no fixed income” is something your struggle with, then here is a free resource and a very effective “get-more-clients-strategy” that might help you with getting new clients. Check it out, here.
The purpose of a lock is to keep something secure.
If you have valuable belongings, you keep them locked up – you put it in a safe or in a bank vault or even in a locked wooden box under your bed.
Locks are also used to prevent someone or something to get in or out – like a yard, prison or a safety den….
But sometimes, the success of your business is also securely locked up.
In principle there are basically 2 kinds of locks.
There are locks that require a key to open and then there are locks that require a combination.
Although both locks have the same purpose, they are quite different.
For the one, you only need a single item, a key, to successfully open it. For the other you need a combination of numbers to successfully unlock it.
So which of these 2 are keeping your business success securely locked up?
You often hear people say: “I found the key to unlock my business success. It’s ….(a shinny object or the newest fad)”.
I however believe that in business it does not always work like that.
It is seldom just one thing that is needed to unlock your success. You cannot ONLY deal with a lock and key – one aspect of business. You most of the time have to deal with a combination lock – many different aspects of business – to successfully unlock your success.
But, here’s the problem with combination locks…
They require different numbers, and if you only have 1 or 2 of the numbers to a 3 number combination lock, you might spend endless hours trying different combinations to unlock it – often without success.
And even when you have all the numbers to the combination lock, you are still unable to unlock the damn thing. Why?
Because it’s not enough to have all of the numbers…
You need someone to give you all the numbers AND in the right order!
It is the same with business.
You cannot only rely on one aspect of the process or only have some of the elements required, because you might then still end up spending too much time trying to unlock your success.
You need to work on all the different elements and implement them in the right order, if you want to stop the struggle and find the success you rightfully deserve.
If you are tired running around in circles and are frustrated with not getting the results you want, it’s perhaps time to get the correct number combination for YOUR business and put it all in the right order to unlock your business success.
To Your Success
PS: Contact me today for a personalised Business Breakthrough Session. Let’s spend some time together to work on your combination lock and see if we can move your business forward a little faster this year.
I was doing some research recently on internet usage – specifically in South Africa – and found some interesting stats that blew my mind!
And I realised if you are living in SA, there are 9 billion reasons why investing in and building a website is a good idea.
What? You can’t even count that far? Well, me neither!
But it’s true…, there are 9 billion reason to invest in a website, because 9 billion rand is the amount of money spent PER YEAR by business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce in SA.* In other words, people buying products and services via the Internet!
This is serious money. Spent by serious people…
And if this is the amount of money spend in only ONE small country, think about the money spend globally!
But let’s focus on South Africa as an example of some more mind-boggling Internet usage stats.
According to Internet World Stats* (2014), there are 23.6 million Internet users in South Africa – almost half of the population.
The biggest single age group is 30 to 49 years old – representing 42.9% of the online population. 18.6% is older than 50 years and about 30% is between 20 and 29 years old.
Thus, more than 60% of the Internet users in South Africa are part of the economically active population!
…and with an online spend of 9 billion per year they certainly have money to spend. (Whatever country you are in today, the stats will probably have the same trend.)
So in my humble opinion, I’d say there is some disposable income in there with your name on it!
BUT, if you cannot be found online, and if you do not have a website, you might be missing out on that income.
Apart from these mind-boggling stats – and before we get too overexcited about all these big numbers), here are 8 more practical reasons why you need to consider having a website for you business.
# 1: Your Clients / Potential Clients
Will potential clients use the Web to look for information specifically about you?
Yes, they will. Potential clients may hear about you from a friend or see your business card; perhaps read an article you’ve written or follow you on social media.
When people are curious to know more about you, they’ll probably do an internet search or try to find your website before they decide to contact you. Will they find you?
Will potential clients randomly search online for the specific services you offer?
Yes, they will. Doing some quick keyword research will reveal that tens of thousands (even millions) of searches monthly are done for the specific services or products you provide.
Will they be able to find you?
If you do not have a website, the chances are they won’t and you’ll have to pass this potential client opportunity on to a competitor who is online
Do your potential clients or target audience have web sites themselves?
If they do, they will without doubt consider the web to be an important business tool and might find it strange if you don’t have an online presence.
# 2: Your Own Business
Do you want to reach a wider client base?
A website is not geographically bound and can extend your reach. It helps you to increase your business footprint to attract potential new clients locally, nationally or even internationally?
Even when you have a purely services based business and only work with clients locally, a website can serve as a platform to diversify your income and or add additional passive income streams to your bottom line.
Do you want your business to project a professional image?
Off course you do…even when you work from home (and sometimes in your pyjamas – who needs to know 🙂) .
A well designed web site can project a professional brand to the world – no matter your office location or your clothing preferences.
Are you running on a tight budget and want to optimise marketing costs?
Creating a website, can be an initial capital outlay. Thereafter, continuous online marketing can be cost effective.
When you use your marketing efforts to drive traffic to your website, you can implement an effective lead capture strategy on your site, to trigger more business as well.
# 3: Your Competitors
Do your competitors have web sites?
The Internet opens up the availability of choices and many people love to “research and compare before they commit”. If you don’t have a website, but your competition does, potential clients cannot include you in their comparisons or decision making processes, and will probably go with who they find online. So you are losing out on potential income.
With a website you are on equal footing with you competitors and can inform and pre-sell interested prospects with all the reasons why they should rather work with you.
If your competitors do NOT have a website, you immediately differentiate yourself when you do have one. Plus it gives you the opportunity to attract web visitors (and potential clients) looking for those things you offer.
Are your competitors longer in business?
If you’re just starting out, a web site can help you to level the playing field. A well designed website gives the appearance that your business is well-established already and provides an added layer of trust.
So, this is what I want you to take from this article:
If you do not have a website yet, then evaluate your business and start taking action towards getting one in place.
If you already have a website – think about how you can refine and update it to help you stand out and attract more of your ideal clients.
To Your Success
“It is in the moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped.” ~ Anthony Robbins
Assuming you want to start your own business. Where do you begin?
Do you start with creating a business plan, or getting your first client, or getting your finances in place first?
Well, none of these, really…
Your new business journey begins with a decision to do it.
In most cases, when people want to start their first business, they don’t really know what to do or where to start.
They don’t have a strategic plan. They don’t have any clients. They sometimes do not even have the financial means to get started, AND they have plenty of self doubt… (Heck, who doesn’t have self-doubt when they first start out?)
But what separates those who have a successful start-up from those who don’t, is that the successful ones…
Make the decision to DO!
They first make the decision…and then they take massive action.
They find out what to do. They create the plan. They find the necessary finances to start. And they go out to get the clients they need.
They don’t try to do things. They DO it.
A woman I recently met is such a great example of this. When I first met her earlier this year, she was in a very difficult situation with her life and finances, and asked for my help in starting a VA business. She had to quickly improve her financial situation and also heal the hurt from her personal life.
I helped her with what I could, and may I hope that my small contribution made her aware of the multitude of possibilities out there.
Because what I admire about her, is that she didn’t just passively receive the advice and information I gave, but…
She decided to DO.
She did a whole lot of additional research with regards to virtual assistance…., and her hunger for information not only provided the answers to the questions she were looking for, but it also took her on a journey of self-discovery.
In the process she not only found herself, but also found her passion of empowering other women who might go through similar life situations as she.
So, her future is now taking a turn from becoming a virtual assistant, to becoming an empowerment coach for women. So exciting!
But there is more to the story…
In the beginning of the year, and still now, her finances is one of her major stress points.
But because she decided to DO, she found the courage (and the money) to take a leap of faith and enroll for an expensive business-coaching program with a well-known international coach. (No, it’s not me, but I’m still so proud of her!)
So the question you might ask is: Why does she invest an exorbitant amount of money for an internationally acclaimed coach when money is one of her stress points?
It’s simple. She decided to DO whatever it takes to succeed.
So will she be successful?
Well, I believe in my heart that she will reach the success she wants, because she was willing to decide to DO.
She didn’t hide behind possible excuses like:
- Now is not the right time. She made the time
- I don’t have any money. She found the money
- I don’t know where to start and what to do. She did the research and found the answers she was looking for.
So, what is the lesson we can take away from this?
For me: If you want to do something bad enough, you will find a way to do it…
…but it all starts with a DECISION to DO.
Question: Have you already made the decision to DO – whatever it is you want to do? If not, what is standing in your way? Tell us in the comment box below.
To Your Success
What would you say is the starting point for creating a successful business?
Different people may have different answers and all of them might be correct.
In my opinion, the absolute starting point for creating business success is to truly know yourself – to know and understand who you are as a person: your personality, strengths, weaknesses, behaviors, beliefs, motivations, emotional reactions and everything else that makes you tick..
The reason why self-knowledge is so important is because it increases the likelihood that you can create the results you want in your life and your business. When operating your own business, you can read every business tip out there, you can model the practices of others, and you can eat up every piece of self-help that comes across the computer screen, but it’s completely pointless if you don’t know yourself well enough to put the correct advice into practice.
So, self-knowledge helps you to figure out what you want to do, what you will enjoy, and what you are willing to let go. It helps you make much better decisions in terms of
- What type of business to start
- The services you offer
- How to perform your work
- The type of clients you work with
- How you interact with clients
- How you manage your business and resources to progress faster
- How to manage and grow your finances
- How you market and attract clients
When you understand who you are as a person, what you are willing to do, what you want in life and why you want it, you can start creating the business success you want. Because only then, you can change behaviors that don’t suite you, and direct your thoughts, plans and actions to achieve all the things you want.
But, getting to know yourself doesn’t just happen.
It takes conscious effort and a lot of stripping back the layers, one by one.
It also takes a lot of courage. (But it’s worth it!).
So, to help you on this journey of self knowledge, here are a couple of important thought-provoking questions to ponder on.
17 Thought Provoking Questions to improve your self-knowledge
- How would you describe yourself?
- What makes you happy
- What motivates you?
- What are your top five values?
- What are you most grateful for in life?
- What you are really passionate about.
- What do you dislike?
- What makes you angry?
- What do you fear most in life?
- What limiting beliefs are you holding on to?
- What empowering beliefs can you take on to help you achieve your goals?
- What bad habits do you want to break?
- What good habits do you want to cultivate?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What do you want from your business…from life in general?
- Why do you want it?
- What will you do anything for (to have or get)?
Obviously, these questions are just a starting point, but knowing the answers and delving a bit deeper to understanding yourself better, will in the end drive your overall behavior and impact on all the decisions you make regarding your business and your life.
So take some time out today, and start stripping back those layers to get to the real you.
Let’s start creating your business success, today.
To your Success
Doubling your income, doubling the number of clients you work with, doubling your enjoyment of having a thriving business, doubling how you experience life… doesn’t always require a major overhaul.
It only requires two simple things:
- Set the intention via a clear GOAL &
- Get into ACTION!
I believe that goals and taking action can take you beyond your limits to a world of unlimited possibilities.
But you have to set the right type of goals in order to take the right actions.
Many people set goals, and specifically business goals, that are “uninspiring” – goals to only get enough to pay the bills, to get by, to survive, to make it through the day. In short, many are caught up in the trap of only making a living rather than designing an enjoyable life.
The problem is that lousy goals will not take you beyond your limits into a world of unlimited possibilities.
You need to start dreaming bigger, and start getting clearer on the things you really want!
When we first set large goals, they may seem impossible to achieve. But the most important key to goal setting is to find a goal big enough to inspire you – something that will cause you to unleash the power within you.
The way I usually know I’ve set the right goal is when it seems impossible but at the same time it’s giving me a sense of crazed excitement just to think about the possibility of achieving it.
For me, achieving those big goals is like building a 2000 piece puzzle. (Oh, did I mention I love puzzles? LOL).
So, let me explain….
Imagine trying to solve a 2000 piece puzzle without looking at the picture on the box. I bet it will be an extremely difficult task and you might even give up at some stage. But when you have the puzzle picture right next to you, solving that puzzle becomes a whole lot easier.
It is the same with setting and achieving your goals for this year and beyond.
When you think about what you want for your business this year, it might be to achieve a certain level of income; or work with a certain number of clients per month; or create a new way of serving clients; or…[fill in your goal].
That is your puzzle picture.
That is the picture you must keep in your mind so that it can direct all your actions.
And then equally important is to really look at this picture so that the details can become more and more visible.
Because when you are clear about what you want (i.e. when you have a clear picture of your dreams and your goals) and are really inspired on achieving it, your brain has an amazing power to pick up information and decipher opportunities. You then become hypersensitive to strategies, ideas, people and plans that can help you meet those goals.
But having that clear picture about your goals is not merely enough.
It is also necessary to take persistent action on all the opportunities, strategies, ideas and plans that present themselves to you.
Let’s go back to our puzzle example to illustrate this.
You see, if you’re just staring at, and admiring the picture on the puzzle box, and taking in all the beautiful details, the puzzle can’t be completed.
You need to take action, empty the puzzle box on a table and start turning over the pieces one by one.
Only then can you slowly start building the puzzle, one piece at a time.
In the beginning it might seem like an impossible task and you might try to put pieces together that just don’t fit.
But when you persist and consult the puzzle picture regularly, you’ll start taking in the details and you’ll start to look for, and find the pieces that obviously fit together. Only then a small recognizable piece of the overall puzzle will start to take shape.
As you progress with one piece at a time, the bigger picture unfolds and eventually the puzzle on the table represents the picture on the box.
That is when you achieved your goal.
Tony Robbins says that: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. It is the foundation for all success in life.”
So take that first step in doubling your results this year.
Set the goal.
And then, follow up on it with consistent action.
Remember, your goals provide a magnificent direction and a way to focus your attention on those things you regard as important to you. Keep it at your side – just like you’ll keep the picture on the puzzle box next to you when you solve a puzzle.
No goal or dream for this year is impossible. You can do it!
Here are some practical action steps to help.
- Grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite drink).
- Find a quiet place and start dreaming about your business (or your life). What do you want your business to be like in future? What would you like to have? Don’t limit your thoughts – just dream.
- Put in some details. Build on that dream and get a clear, vivid picture of it in your mind.
- Put all your thoughts on paper or create a visible vision board.
- Keep it close where you can consult it every day.
- Create a couple of shorter-term goals. Goals that excite you and will move you closer to that dream.
- Decide what is the first step (or next step) you can take TODAY to put you on the journey of achieving that goal.
- Then go out and DO it.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you reach that goal.
- Finally. Enjoy the journey!!
To Your Success
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