3 Time Sucks That Can Kill a Small Home Business
by Kristi Crosson
Many of us dream of the day when we can quit our day jobs and start a small business. Maybe you’re there today. Maybe you’re daydreaming of doing something you actually love and working for a boss who’s pretty rad.
That would be you.
But if you’re not prepared for the weight of these time sucks, you might have a hard adjustment once you switch from working for the man to working at home. It’s important to be aware of them, and to find ways to work through them so you have a better chance for success.
1. You’re at home.
But you’re not at home to clean. Imagine this, you wake up in the morning, roll out of bed, grab your cup of coffee, and you notice the kitchen is still a disaster from the night before. You think, “no big deal, I’ll clean this really quickly before I get started on my business today”. Then you notice the laundry is overflowing. You think, “okay, just one more thing, and I’ll get to work”. Then you realize you haven’t dusted since 1965…You get the picture?
Working from home comes with a new set of distractions. The ones that often get prioritized over the essential business tasks you need to do to propel your business forward. Don’t do that. If you must, block your time. Carve out time for business-related tasks, phone calls, meetings, etc. Guard those times with your life. Then carve out time to do house-related tasks. Maybe you take an hour lunch and knock out that kitchen cleaning and bathroom you’ve needed to scrub for the past few days. The important thing is that your time is intentional.
If it’s in the budget, this may be a great area to outsource. Imagine supporting another small biz by hiring them to clean your home so you can focus on your business.
2. Beware of the social media vortex.
Have you ever dreamed of a time machine? Social media is like one. One minute you’re watching cat videos, and the next thing you know it’s 6 hours later and you’re wondering what you did all day.
Don’t go on social media during your “work hours” unless you are going on it to complete a certain task. When you get there, complete the task and get off. This takes a great deal of self-control. And maybe a little planning.
One thing I like to do is put my phone in another room. It’s really annoying. And that’s the point. I want it out of reach so I’m not tempted to just pop-on and see what’s happening 43 times a day. I want my time spent on social media to be more intentional and regimented. Am I perfect at it? Of course not. But it helps in so many areas, including parenting. Keeping my phone out of reach helps me to be present with my children, my husband, and in my home.
3. Friends tell friends that they work a business.
I love spending time with my friends. I’m an extrovert, which is challenging when you work from home. I would love nothing more than to hang with friends and their kids all day every day. But if I did, I’d never get anything done. Your friends can be a great encouragement or a huge distraction from your business. It’s important to guard your work time. But, if you want to meet for the occasional coffee or have a lunch date, go for it. I had one friend who owned a small business that was constantly being asked to be backup daycare for other friends’ children. This may have been fine if she ran a home daycare, but she was a photographer and needed the time to market her business, meet with potential clients, edit photos, and so much more.
Make sure your friends know that you love them, but you’re home building a business during the day. So, unless it’s an emergency or your “break time”, wait to respond to their messages and calls. The same goes for family and even clients. Good boundaries are important to set from the start.
Running a small business from home is an incredible blessing. Setting good boundaries around your time will help you stay focused so you can be a success. What are your favorite ways to stay on task?
About the Author
Kristi Crosson is a writer and photographer and homeschools her three children, ages 8, 4, and 2. She is in the process of writing her first book, a personal story about God’s goodness in the midst of heartache and impossible situations.
Her background includes work in communications for a large Christian non-profit and freelance writing for hundreds of businesses on social media and blogs.
She has more than 15 years of ministry experience serving in the church and learned valuable leadership skills that she applies to her life and businesses. Kristi has a huge heart to fight human trafficking and see women experience God’s love in powerful ways.
When she is not busy with her businesses or her family, she enjoys creating art, playing music, singing, and hiking. And somehow manages to "do it all". Don't be fooled. In getting real, she'll share about how she manages her day to day work in business and homeschool.
You can read Kristi’s column, Getting Real with Kristi on the 3rd Tuesday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.