Home Business Ideas and Opportunities

Tag Archives | working from home

How to Create a Productive Work-at-Home Schedule

How to Create a Productive Work-at-Home ScheduleWorking from home seems incredibly convenient for many people who are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs or taking a telecommuting position. However, home is also the place with all the possible distractions to derail your working schedule. Many people who start working from home have confessed that it took them a long time to create a productive work schedule and to stick to it.

The problem with working from home is that we all tend to relax too much and find excuses to take a break from our tasks to grab a snack from the fridge, watch the afternoon news report or simply chat with family members. It is “just a 5-minute break” but they tend to extend to 10 minutes, a quarter of an hour or even half an hour. Suddenly, it’s 6 o’clock in the evening and you haven’t done even half of the tasks on your schedule.

So, what is the magic formula that keeps people working from home productive and focused on their tasks? There is no magic formula, but self-discipline and dedication to finishing every project on time and without having to work extra hours. Here are some simple and actionable tips to help you create your own productive schedule:

1. Get Dressed For Work
Even if you simply go to the next room to start working, take the time to put on a shirt and business trousers and look presentable, as if you were going to office. It may not seem as a big deal, but it gets you in the mindset that you will be starting a working day.

By comparison, loitering in pajamas will make you feel more inclined to take breaks and lose time with various distractions. Plus, if a potential customer wants to have a quick video call with you, it will be quite awkward postponing that call for 10 minutes until you dress yourself properly.

2. Find Your Most Productive Times of the Day
Everyone has their own biorhythm – some of us are more productive early in the morning, others late at night. It is important to know when you are most productive so that you schedule the most important tasks of the day, which need all your focus, in that period.

As you work from home, you have the benefit of creating your own flexible schedule – you can start your work day at 6 am and finish it by early afternoon, or start later in the day and finish in the evening.

3. Keep a Daily Schedule Visibly Displayed in Your Home Office
Having a written or printed schedule of the tasks to do makes you more accountable than simply keeping them committed to memory. Once a task is completed, you can tick it off and by the end of the day look at the schedule which is fully dealt with.

Many entrepreneurs state that they did not really become fully productive until they had to confront that printed schedule with unfinished tasks on it at the end of the working day.

4. Get Out of the House
Yes, you work from home, but you do not (and should not) stay at home all day long. Soon, you will become bored and isolated from other people. Instead, take your laptop and go to your favorite café or eatery and work from there. You may meet other people like you, working from home, forge a friendship and help each other with useful tips on productivity and time management.

5. Leave Work behind at the End of the Day
As a popular song in the ‘80s stated “when the working day is done, girls just wanna have fun”. This should be your motto – once you have finished your daily tasks, shut the door to your home office and stop worrying or thinking about business issues. Relax, spend quality time with your family and recharge your batteries for a new busy day.

As you can see, none of these tips are difficult to follow through. You just need to be disciplined enough to do them every day, until they become second nature to you.

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How to Launch a Home-Based Contractor Business

How to Launch a Home-Based Contractor BusinessAfter you have built (pun intended) a career in construction or home improvement, you may want to gain more independence and run your own business as a home-based contractor. This niche is quite prosperous because, although the internet is abundant in DIY websites and tutorials, a lot of people still prefer hiring a specialist.

“A home-based contractor business? Will anyone take me seriously?” Most definitely they will – especially if you have a solid portfolio of projects and all the required licenses in place. After all, a general contractor’s work has to do most of all with planning the budget of construction or repair works, finding subcontractors, coordinating the team of workers and making sure that the project is completed by the agreed deadline.

Thus, a home-based contractor business is quite feasible and successful because you will be able to offer your customers better rates compared to companies which need to cover all the costs with the staff and operating their office building. At the same time, working from home offers you more flexibility in your working schedule – a big plus for many customers who would prefer work being done on their house outside the usual business hours or during the weekend.

Let us see what it takes to open and run your own home-based general contractor business.

1. Check Out Your Prior Employment Agreement for Non-Competing Clauses
Most likely, people who want to start out as independent general contractors worked in this position as employees of real estate development and construction companies. Some of these companies require their former employees not to become competitors as independent business owners. If your employment agreement has a non-competing clause, you can do one of the two:

⦁ Set up a meeting with your former employer and try to obtain a waiver from this clause;
⦁ Have a lawyer look at the agreement and explain to you under what conditions you can open such a business (i.e. supply your services in another city, or within a specific scope of services).

What you should NOT do is start out as an independent general contractor hoping that your former employer does not find out. The age of the internet has reduced the whole world to the size of a mere village, as the saying goes.

2. Obtain All Required Licenses and Insurance
The Small Business Administration website is a huge help for any potential entrepreneur, explaining in detail all the required licenses and documents needed to open a business in any niche. For general contractors, the main types of licenses and insurances you need to hold are:

⦁ General business license;
⦁ Home business permit – issued by the city or county council office;
⦁ Special licenses according to the specific services you will supply, such as for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, gas fitting and other construction works;
⦁ Surety bond – this specific insurance is required of general contractors and is payable to the end customer in case the subcontractors they hire fail to complete a project on time or according to the customers’ specifications;
⦁ General liability insurance;
⦁ Worker’s insurance, if you hire people to work for your own business.

3. Cultivate Your Network in the Specific Business Niche
As a general contractor, you need to attract both customers and teams of various specialties who will work on the projects you secure. This is why networking is extremely important. Without breaching your non-competing clauses from your former job, try to connect with people you used to work with and establish a new business relationship with them as independent entrepreneur.

4. Build Your Reputation around Your Strong Points
As a business owner, you are on your own – you do not benefit from the reputation of the company you worked for anymore. Your own reputation and experience in the field is the only asset you have – and it is a very valuable one if you know how to put it into the right light. Build a website and include as many testimonials and projects you have worked on. Thus, potential customers will form an opinion on your skills and trust your professionalism.

5. Build Your Own Personal Brand
Professionalism is not enough in a niche with a lot of competition – you need to build your own identity and stand out of the crowd. This is exactly what a personal brand does: it establishes you as a professional with SPECIFIC skills and talents, ranging from the access to a wide network of subcontractors and the ability to provide your customer a stress-free experience while working on their construction projects.

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How to Create a Productive Work-at-Home Schedule

How to Create a Productive Work-at-Home ScheduleWorking from home seems incredibly convenient for many people who are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs or taking a telecommuting position. However, home is also the place with all the possible distractions to derail your working schedule. Many people who start working from home have confessed that it took them a long time to create a productive work schedule and to stick to it.

The problem with working from home is that we all tend to relax too much and find excuses to take a break from our tasks to grab a snack from the fridge, watch the afternoon news report or simply chat with family members. It is “just a 5-minute break” but they tend to extend to 10 minutes, a quarter of an hour or even half an hour. Suddenly, it’s 6 o’clock in the evening and you haven’t done even half of the tasks on your schedule.

So, what is the magic formula that keeps people working from home productive and focused on their tasks? There is no magic formula, but self-discipline and dedication to finishing every project on time and without having to work extra hours. Here are some simple and actionable tips to help you create your own productive schedule:

1. Get Dressed For Work
Even if you simply go to the next room to start working, take the time to put on a shirt and business trousers and look presentable, as if you were going to office. It may not seem as a big deal, but it gets you in the mindset that you will be starting a working day.

By comparison, loitering in pajamas will make you feel more inclined to take breaks and lose time with various distractions. Plus, if a potential customer wants to have a quick video call with you, it will be quite awkward postponing that call for 10 minutes until you dress yourself properly.

2. Find Your Most Productive Times of the Day
Everyone has their own biorhythm – some of us are more productive early in the morning, others late at night. It is important to know when you are most productive so that you schedule the most important tasks of the day, which need all your focus, in that period.

As you work from home, you have the benefit of creating your own flexible schedule – you can start your work day at 6 am and finish it by early afternoon, or start later in the day and finish in the evening.

3. Keep a Daily Schedule Visibly Displayed in Your Home Office
Having a written or printed schedule of the tasks to do makes you more accountable than simply keeping them committed to memory. Once a task is completed, you can tick it off and by the end of the day look at the schedule which is fully dealt with.

Many entrepreneurs state that they did not really become fully productive until they had to confront that printed schedule with unfinished tasks on it at the end of the working day.

4. Get Out of the House
Yes, you work from home, but you do not (and should not) stay at home all day long. Soon, you will become bored and isolated from other people. Instead, take your laptop and go to your favorite café or eatery and work from there. You may meet other people like you, working from home, forge a friendship and help each other with useful tips on productivity and time management.

5. Leave Work behind at the End of the Day
As a popular song in the ‘80s stated “when the working day is done, girls just wanna have fun”. This should be your motto – once you have finished your daily tasks, shut the door to your home office and stop worrying or thinking about business issues. Relax, spend quality time with your family and recharge your batteries for a new busy day.

As you can see, none of these tips are difficult to follow through. You just need to be disciplined enough to do them every day, until they become second nature to you.

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