Starting or even committing to a home business can be very challenging. You are guaranteed to go through almost constant highs and lows. I made the decision 20 days ago to make my side business my primary one. It meant forsaking all others and consciously deciding to commit my whole self to the process. Each day brings challenges and uncertainties. And until you get things really going, you have to sometimes put in some very long hours.
I do have a few working projects. I have two that I’m actively working on and another two that will be starting within the next week or so. Elance has been a great place to set up a virtual workspace. That is where the bulk of my leads have come from. And while I’ve certainly been busy, it has not yet materialized into any real income. Like anything else that’s worth fighting for, you have to put in the time and dedication even when you feel like you’re not making any progress.
One of my projects that I’ve devoted the most time and energy to is also one that I have not yet been paid for and which I won’t be compensated for the full-time and scope of what I’ve completed. However, it was something that I had to consciously decide to do. Sometimes you have to decide if the experience is worth more to you than what you’ll make monetarily. While I don’t always encourage doing this, it can be a good thing to do in moderation. You may find that working for free provides you with the chance to learn new skills that you’d previously only dreamed about learning or had been putting off learning all together. But as I said, you must know how to balance your desire to learn more with the reality of having bills to pay.
A former friend of mine said that he was told by a mentor that you have to treat your business not like a hobby but like the job and income-generator that it really is. Generally speaking most people can’t work for free. I know that I can’t. But there are times when you must do so in order to move forward, to build your reputation and your “street cred.” In this particular case I worked for free because I wanted to challenge myself to provide an end product that was far superior to anything the client had expected. I succeeded and as a result the melancholy that I’d been feeling due to not having any money in the short-term made me see what I was capable of doing in the long-term.
In the early stages of your home business it is imperative that you develop good habits and routines. Author, Matt Gemmell wrote a wonderful article that I believe to be true, Working from Home. In it he describes how we can sometimes be our own worst enemy and how we need to be disciplined in order to succeed in an environment where we are our own boss and where temptations to goof off run rampant.
Another source of information and inspiration comes from a blog that I’m now following. It’s authored by work-at-home guru, Christen Pyle. Work at Home Wisdom is her mega website that is filled with nuggets of wisdom. Her tagline, helping people find freedom and happiness with real home based jobs, is an understatement. She seems to be the ultimate work-at-home professional. She juggles life as a busy mom, running a booming blog and online presence with a finesse and skill that is to be envied. Based on my interactions with both Christen and Matt I have found that working from home can be even more rewarding than working in the traditional office setting. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
You have to be willing to fail and to fail spectacularly. Having a home business comes with the added stress and excitement of everything falling on your shoulders. There are going to be exciting days and there will be days where you feel completely inadequate. What you must always remember is that nothing happens overnight and building your home business will take as much, if not more of yourself than anything has before. That’s why above all else, you must choose a business that you love. Don’t just decide to work from home or start a home business solely because you’re unhappy with your current job. Do it if you believe that at the end of the day you know you’ll put your whole self in and whether or not you succeed or fail, you know it’d have all been worth it.