A lot of people dream about running their own businesses, but all too often these dreams begin at the top, with the dreamer sitting in a gold-plated office on the highest story of some enormous skyscraper, making important calls, and throwing around wads of cash like it was nothing. The reality for many people is, however, starting a small business in their home and doing what they can to optimize space and make incremental improvements, hoping to break into the market in earnest, and take that business to the next level. Many great entrepreneurs started from very humble beginnings. So, if you want to follow their example, and start your own business from home, here are some guidelines that you should observe.

Set aside clear space boundaries to divide “work” from “private” areas

Whether your business is done entirely online, as in the case of affiliate marketing or web design ,or whether you need to store physical goods in your home, ranging from electronics, to building materials provided by a cement supplier, you need to master the art of creating a division between your “work” and “private” lives. When your home is your office and HQ, guarding your space is equivalent to maintaining your work-life balance. While you may feel that a driven business person should work around the clock, the practical reality of not creating a division of space, is that you’re likely to face dramatic burnout sooner rather than later. If you can, set aside a room (or two, or three) for your work, and leave the rest of your home for your “free” time. If that’s not a possibility, use tactics such as using one desk as your workstation, and doing nothing at it except for work.

Optimise your energy levels as much as possible

As an entrepreneur, your business is only as successful as you are sharp, tough, and fit. If you burn yourself out working, and dramatically deprive yourself of sleep, your mental function will deteriorate, your motivation will drop off, your health will collapse, and everything, in short, will fall apart. The correct approach here is to do whatever it takes to optimize your energy levels and become the most effective and vital version of yourself possible. Get more sleep, if you need it. Eat more, if you need to. Exercise more, if you need it. Just be sure that you’re fit and energetic for the challenges that lie ahead.

Implement effective time-management systems rather than relying purely on goals

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comics, has famously advised that systems are the way to go in professional life, rather than goals. While there’s a lot to be said in defense of goals, systems are undoubtedly important, and often play a major role in ensuring the success of a business. A system is, in short, something that you do automatically, on a recurring basis. If you wanted to win a new client, “get a new client” would be a goal. A system would be something like “pitch to 20 prospects a day”. Progress towards a goal can be waylaid by external circumstances, but a system allows you to keep moving in the right direction, despite many of the obstacles you might encounter.

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