The home-based business is having its time. No longer seen as a hobby job, the ranks of the work from home crowd are growing. According to the U.S. Census, 52 percent of US businesses are home-based. More than a third of those home-based businesses are owned by women.
They are a thriving sector of the U-S economy with their own sets of benefits and challenges.
It sounds like a dream job to many aspiring business owners, but one unexpected challenge that often faces home-based business owners is a feeling of isolation. Lenette Hall got a taste of it when she started her online business, Urn Garden.
“I had always worked as a team player in environments that had healthy budgets and lots of support. Now, I’m a one-woman show. Running my own business is much more rewarding than when I was working for someone else, but I was not prepared for the loneliness and isolation that comes from working at home,” Lenette says.
Feeling like you are cut-off from the rest of the world can breed negativity and depression, and those are not good for your bottom line!
Here are eight ways to combat the home-based business blues:
Serve as a volunteer or board member for a non-profit organization. Not only will you feel good about the time you are contributing, serving as a volunteer or on a board can be a great networking opportunity.
Find time for fitness.
Lenette added a fitness routine to her daily schedule and says it has been a life saver and a stress buster. “Since I’m shackled to the computer all day, it’s been mandatory that I move for at least an hour every day,” she says. “It keeps me from getting too cranky.”
Get some face time.
I’m not talking about the iPhone app. I mean real face-to-face communication. Instead of working out details of a project via email or over the phone, schedule a meeting in person once in awhile. You’ll benefit from the interaction. Plus, it’s a much more personal approach that leaves your client with an impression that you care about personalized customer service.
Find networking opportunities that work for you. Networking groups and events are not one-size fits all. So try a few on for size and regularly attend the ones that you enjoy and benefit you the most.
Work offsite on occasion. If you are able to run your business for a few hours off of your laptop and Wi-Fi, take your show on the road. Set up your mobile office in a coffee shop or your local library for a refreshing change of scenery.
Reach out at least once a day. Make a phone call, send an email, pay a bill in person. Do at least one thing every day to interact with another human being.
Go to work.
Take a part-time job. Lenette has kept a part-time job since opening her business several years ago. It was in part, a small safety net, in case her business didn’t succeed, but has become a way to keep her connected to the world outside of her home-based business. Since Urn Garden is exclusively online, she has very little opportunity for personal interaction in the course of her business day.
Go to school.
Take a class. If it helps improve your knowledge and skills to be better at running your business, then it is a great investment of your money and time. If it’s just for fun, well, it’s fun!