Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Overcome Isolation when Working at Home

There are immeasurable benefits when working from home including having a flexible schedule, making your own decisions, reduced stress, and increased productivity. If you ask home-based entrepreneurs, they will usually tell you that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. But, one downside to working at home is isolation. You may start to miss the hustle and bustle of a busy office, having lunch with co-workers, social interactions during the day, and a structured workday. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid the “home alone” syndrome as a home-based business owner.

Make Local Connections

We often get so caught up in what we are doing that we simply forget to reach out to our community for support. Even if your business doesn’t rely on local customers, you can still benefit from networking locally. Join small business networking groups, civic groups, the Chamber of Commerce, or if you are female, a women’s business group. Your objective is not necessarily to find clients but to make contacts. You may meet a banker who can help you with a small business loan, an accountant who can answer simple questions for you, or an insurance agent who can help you find more affordable health insurance. Once people in your community learn what you do for a living, they may ask you to sell things on consignment for them or to teach them how to sell on line. Many times, you can trade services with another local business and everybody wins.

Create a Daily Schedule

Having a daily schedule will help you be more productive as well as keep you focused. Granted, one advantage to working for yourself is the ability to have a flexible schedule. But if your day is too unstructured, you may find yourself drifting from one task to another and nothing is accomplished. Set aside certain times of the day for specific projects, or certain days for specific tasks. For example, some sellers do their shipping in the morning, listings in the afternoon, and set aside 2 days a week strictly for acquiring inventory. Do what works for you, but try to create a pattern and some continuity in your workdays.

Do Something Recreational
Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you have to work 18 hours a day and are not allowed to have a life! Join a gym or yoga studio, take Zumba classes, join a book club, or volunteer at the animal shelter. Get out and get away from your computer a few times a week. Not only will you relieve stress but you can do something personally fulfilling and meet new people at the same time. Who knows, you may even make some valuable business connections, too.

Be an Organizer
If you can’t find local functions or groups that you like, why not create them? Visit the website and check out the types of groups others have created. You’ll find common interest groups including eCommerce, entrepreneurs, tennis lovers, networking mixers, single moms, home schoolers, green living, book discussion groups, and much more. You can create your own group and invite your friends (both local and online), post it on your Facebook page, or advertise your group in community publications.

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