The recent economic meltdown has created an influx of entrepreneurs and those launching small businesses -- many of whom are working out of their basement, spare bedroom, or the corner of their dining room.
But being a small business owner -- especially a work at home small business owner -- has its challenges. Among these are distractions, isolation, burnout, inability to unplug, guilt over lack of family time, and of course, the call of the kitchen, Oprah, or FarmVille.
If you're struggling with one or more of these challenges -- or the initial excitement of being your own boss has waned, try these tips for self-motivation to keep you and your business moving forward.
1. Develop an In-the-Office Attitude
Treat your work at home business the same as you would an office job. When you're at 'work,' don't attend to personal matters or accept personal phone calls. Keep regularly scheduled office hours where you conduct tasks vital to your business.
2. Keep a Work/Life Balance
It's easy to make your work your life, particularly when your work is at home and you're passionate about your business. Although working from home can be liberating, many telecommuters get drawn into a 24/7 work lifestyle. While it's important to focus on work while at work, it's equally important to take a break from work to spend with family, friends, or simply do things you enjoy outside of your business. Taking a break from work helps you have a clearer perspective, renewed vigor, and a fresh outlook toward business goals and obstacles.
3. Learn How to Focus
Some people who work at home find it difficult to stay on task. Distractions abound -- whether it's your pet, kids, spouse, or chores that need to be done. And if your work revolves around the computer, the distractions are practically limitless. But that's where a concentration tool, such as Focus Booster can help. Focus Booster is a free desktop application that uses the Pomodoro time management technique to improve your focus and concentration. The Pomodoro technique breaks work sessions down in 25-minute segments with 5 minute breaks in between to enhance focus and alertness.
4. Don't Isolate Yourself
One of the biggest drawbacks of telecommuting from home or working on a home-based business is that it can be isolating. Some entrepreneurs admit that they don't even get out for lunch. A change of scenery can spark creativity, improve productivity, and keep you motivated. Try working out of a coffee shop or local library a few times a month; or make an effort to interact with others through Skype and social media tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Meetup. Getting involved in groups online and offline can also help you network and grow your business.
5. Remind Yourself of the Reasons You Chose to Work at Home
Last but not least, most small business owners and telecommuters who work from home have strong reasons for doing so. Whether it's to avoid commuting, spend more time with the family, or create a business and watch it grow, keep your reasons for working at home in plain sight.
In the same way that launching a new business requires careful planning and overcoming obstacles, sustained motivation requires staying on track and keeping distractions at bay.
What tips for self-motivation do you have to add to the list?