The Isolation Monster and How to Slay It Written by Elena Fawkner
Like most people, when you think about what it would be like to work from home, you probably think of obvious benefits such as working your own hours, not having to face a stressful, tedious commute every day, actually seeing what your garden looks like in daylight hours, not having to answer to a boss, being home when your children are, working in a comfortable environment and so on. These are, of course, some of only many wonderful benefits of working from home.
Before long, though, you may begin to think back to your previous life and realize you actually miss those umpteen visitors who were constantly interrupting you when you were trying to work, walk in park at lunchtime with your best work-friend, drinks on Friday night after work, and being able to run an idea past a colleague for instant, valuable feedback.
Now, everything is just, well, quiet. And there's no-one down hall to go visit who's over age four. You find yourself checking your email constantly, wanting to connect to someone. You find yourself wishing phone would ring. You! The person who, when you worked in a job, cursed constant telephone interruptions and thought voice- and e-mail was greatest invention since sliced bread.
Welcome to another reality of home-based business ... home alone.
Here are some ways to avoid isolation trap when running a business out of your home:
1. Establish a Structure
Nothing is surer to reinforce feelings of isolation as time that stretches as far as eye can see like a straight, one lane highway through a flat, barren landscape. Don't start each day without a plan of what you intend to do. You need to structure your time so that it is not some endlessly vast terrain you must traverse alone. So write a to-do list, preferably at end of day before, so that when your work day starts you get productive straight away, before isolation blues have a chance to take hold.
2. Reach Out
When writing your to-do list, make sure you include at least two things every day that require you to interact with another person. Networking is a vital skill, whether you work for someone else or for yourself. So make contacts with people who can add value to your business, as well as connecting you with outside world.
Joining a professional group or club, attending seminars and trade shows relevant to your business are all great ways to meet new people who have similar interests and challenges. Participate in activities organized by these groups and take a good supply of business cards with you.
3. Establish Joint Ventures
Another way to keep isolation blues at bay is to joint venture with other home-based business owners. Team up with other businesses that offer complementary services to your business. Not only will you send additional business each other's way in form of referrals, you're establishing professional relationships with your joint venture partners.
Whatever it TakesWritten by Dave Balch
Wouldn't it be nice if you could get someone else to do all of things that you either don't have time for, don't know how to do, or just plain don't want to do? Ah... just think of it: "Jeeves, could you run this over to printer? I've got a dinner date", "Jeeves, would you please write this proposal? It has to be out tomorrow and I'm just too tired to deal with it", "Jeeves, my customer needs this product right now and it's a one hour drive each way; would you please deliver it? I've got other things to do and it is crucial that he gets what he needs on time?", "Jeeves, would you please pick up cleaning and empty wastebaskets?"
WAKE UP! I can tell that you have glazed over in this wonderful fantasy! Until you're well on your way and you can afford Jeeves, you are going to have to do all this stuff yourself, so remember that you have to be willing to do "Whatever It Takes" if you are going to be successful.
And you have to do it with a smile, because it goes with territory.
Have you ever seen a one-man band? I'm not talking metaphorically; I mean a real one-man band. Dick Van Dyke did it in opening scene of Mary Poppins, and did it very well. Small cymbals between his knees, harmonica propped up front of his mouth, bulb horn attached to his chest so that bulb can be squeezed with his chin, playing a squeeze box with his hands. That's not all... a drum with large cymbals is strapped to his back, with cords attached to each leg; one leg operates mallet that beats drum, other operates cymbals. Suppose he didn't like drum because it was too heavy and he couldn't afford to hire a drummer? If he decided to get rid of drum his music and his appeal would suffer. His whole act would be down tubes. If he wants to succeed, he is just going to have to carry that drum around whether he likes it or not. As soon as he starts making enough money, he can hire a drummer; heck he can hire a whole band and just carry a baton instead of all of that paraphernalia!