Home based business - can I make it work?

My ideal would be find a job I really enjoy so that alongside that I can happily kick start my home based business part-time with a view to doing this full time once my income is at a level to pay my bills.

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Good morning,

I am in a job I really dislike but need to be there to pay the bills. I have an ambition to have my own home based business which I struggle to get off the ground due to an overwhelmed brain.

My ideal would be find a job I really enjoy so that alongside that I can happily kick start my home based business part-time with a view to doing this full time once my income is at a level to pay my bills.

I try my best to plan and structure my time so that I can work my home based business in the time I am not in the day job but life gets in the way and this often goes by the way side. I need help making this activity as none negotiable. What guidance can you help me with.

Thanks in advance. Diane

Hi Diane

I think it’s a great idea to have a paid job alongside setting up your own business. Having done it a number of times myself, I reckon on two years before you can rely on a steady flow of work and income. So a part time role takes away the stress of worrying how to pay the bills, never mind set up costs.

That said, it is extremely demanding of your time and energy. And it requires a huge amount of focus. It requires you to work seven days a week and long hours each day. Social life will go out of the window, while family and friends get thoroughly fed up with you.

So to achieve all this, you must really want to do it. Nothing less that complete commitment will do. You need to be so deeply engaged that anything else is an intrusion and significantly less interesting than your work.

So some ideas to help you build that focus:

Focus your mind on two years filled entirely with work and be really honest about how much you actually want this. If it means no more evenings out with friends; no new clothes; no time for holidays, does it still look as compelling? Write down all the pro’s and con’s; give each one a score out of ten and make a total for each side. This is a good way to explore how you feel about all the different elements of the process. Unless you are 110% committed, this will remain a half hearted dream and leave you feeling dissatisfied.

Talk with friends about your idea – tell them all about it and ask for feedback. Notice how you feel as you do this – are you excited, determined, passionate about what you’re offering? Are they convinced and enthusiastic about your idea? Are they up for supporting and encouraging you without being a constant distraction?

Pay particular attention to your partner, spouse or close friend - those who will be most affected by the change. Make sure they support you. There is nothing worse than feeling guilty about the person patiently waiting for you to finish!

Be ready to take feedback. You are embarking on a tough challenge and will need a single focus. Yet it’s also very possible that you’ll become blinkered, missing the obvious – then feedback from others will be a saviour. However, it’s hard to take when someone challenges what you believe in. You’ll want to tell them to be quiet, but resist the urge and give it some thought before you decide what to do.

Set up a room or corner in your house that is devoted totally to your work. Work out what equipment you need, how much storage space will be required, make sure you will be comfortable and able to work efficiently. If there are others in the house, make sure they are happy and/or accepting of this new use of their home.

Find yourself a business coach or mentor. Someone with experience of starting up a new business or running a business can help you think through the finer points that you may well miss at the beginning. You also need someone who will be totally honest and help you face up to the tough challenges when they arrive, as well as talking through the options you have.

When you start your home working, set aside distinct working hours. Be clear with yourself and anyone near by that this you at Work. You are not available for a chat or a cuppa, this is not the time for a mooch through Facebook or Twitter - this is Work. It will help you avoid distraction and set up a mindset of focused activity. You may decide to work overtime - I'm sure you will - just keep the 'duvet days' and the chatty friends at bay.

Most important of all: make sure you are willing to sell. Whatever your business idea, you’ll need to be a really good sales person. In my experience this is the biggest stumbling block. I recall so well the first time I had to get out in front of a group of people and tell them why I was the best person for them to work with. I knew I was good at my job, but to stand up and strut my stuff was so out of my comfort zone I fluffed it totally! So practice on friends, organise some training, get a job selling double glazing for a while – get used to being knocked back, misunderstood, ignored. Above all, keep going – this is going to take time and tenacity, so don’t give up.

If selling is really beyond you, then start linking with others who are doing the same work. Make alliances, look for salespeople who love what they do and will do it for you, find a partner and create a business together so you are selling a brand or a company.

If you’re really up for all that, then give it a go. And be prepared to adapt and adjust along the way as you discover what works and doesn’t work.

And – if after all that exploration, you decide this isn’t really what you want, be willing to let it go and look for the job that will enable you to live the life you really want. Much braver to change direction to something that really matters than continue along the wrong road – life's too short for that!

Good luck and let me know how you get on


Post your questions in the comments section below, ask us on the Psychologies Facebook and Twitter page or email letters@psychologies.co.uk. I’ll be posting regularly, answering your questions.

Judith Leary Joyce

Great Companies Consulting

In 1996 I made the shift into business, taking my knowledge of Gestalt Psychology into the realm of Executive Coaching, Facilitation and Leadership/ Management Development. In 2001 I worked on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list, then went on to write my first book Becoming an Employer of Choice which was followed by Inspirational Manager and The Psychology of Success. Since then I have worked with organisations across the sectors from large corporates through to young start ups, public sector and charities. Now it’s time to help you have a love affair with your work and get exactly what you want from your career. To find out more about my work and coaching go to www.judithlearyjoyce.com