Millions of people working from home, or “telecommuting”, work at jobs in an existing industry or have created their own business by becoming successful entrepreneurs. Do you envy their ability to avoid the stress of rush-hour traffic by simply logging into their laptop in the comfort of their own home? If so, follow these 15 ways to succeed as a work at home entrepreneur and you could be joining the ranks of those telecommuters who have ditched the rat race and found financial stability without leaving their home.
1. Find a job that you enjoy and look forward to doing instead of one that you dread
You will succeed as a telecommuting entrepreneur only if you receive personal satisfaction from performing your job. How you feel about your chosen profession will directly reflect in the way you provide your service or product to customers.
2. Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you can’t take your job seriously
Shun the pitfalls of telecommuting–procrastination, lack of ambition and staying motivated to avoid getting sidetracked by the kids, the pets, the chance to spend the day at the beach–you name it. If you telecommute, you’ll become a magnet for all kinds of distractions. Resist them!
3. Plan your days well in advance
Purchase one of those professional-looking ledgers and write down what you need to do each day as far ahead as possible and stick to those plans. Don’t let each day unravel chaotically like a loose sweater thread or you will find yourself leaving goals unreached, forgetting important names and dates and suffering financially when customers decide to take their business elsewhere.
4. Learn how to budget
If you are not good at managing money, hire someone else to do it or learn about business accounting by taking a free online course. Budgeting and paying bills on time leaves you to focus on your business rather than bill collectors or dissatisfied customers.
5. Keep your customers happy
Always remember that your business is not just about making money but making sure your customers keep coming back to you because they know you will do everything possible to provide them with good, reliable service. Although you may want to tell a few unreasonable customers to “take a hike”, refrain from letting your emotions overwhelm your rational side–the side that is responsible for you being a successful entrepreneur.
6. Promote your business
Indulge in shameless (but not obnoxious) promotion of your business. Speak up if you sense a potential customer nearby and let them know what you provide.
7. Maintain a positive image
By being creative, attentive and professional at all times. Get up, get dressed, brush your teeth and settle down in front of your computer like you were going to regular desk job.
8. Get to know your customers
Take the time to familiarize yourself with your customers to provide personalized service. Always reply to emails in a timely manner and never use templates to respond to customer inquiries.
9. Keep up-to-date with the latest technology
Regularly upgrade the software you use for your business and streamline the ability of your customers to order products or services by integrating the newest interface components available.
10. Keep learning
Become an expert in your field of business by learning everything there is to know about that industry. Being a work-at-home entrepreneur means keeping three steps ahead of everyone else trying to make a success in your industry niche.
11. Remain as accessible as possible
Invest in the latest smartphone so that you never miss a chance to communicate with existing and potential customers. Accessibility in this age of instant messaging is key to developing a successful at-home business.
12. Build a reputation
Build a reputation so solid that a wrecking ball couldn’t destroy. This is where planning ahead and fighting the urge to procrastinate even for one minute comes in especially handy.
13. Get to know other enterpreneurs
Get involved in online communities comprised of other entrepreneurs. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn from others successes and mistakes.
14. Better your people skills
Become a black-belt in the art of negotiations and thrive on those win-win situations you have created from developing excellent people and communication skills.
15. Design your workplace
Design a workplace in your home that maximizes comfort, productivity and professionalism. Although you may never enjoy home visits from customers, you may need to use Skype or other video conferencing software that allows a customer to see your workspace.