5 Tips for Successfully Running an Online Business From Home

These days it’s completely possible to run a fun and profitable business right from the comfort of your very own home. In fact, it’s not even that difficult, as long as your approach is sound and your work ethic is solid. Thanks to the enormous reach and popularity of the internet, an e-commerce business can actually perform better than a brick and mortar store, with lower overhead and less risk. If you’ve been able to pull yourself out of the daily grind of an office job and into a home-based business, you’re probably used to jealous comments from your friends and family. But it’s not going to be smooth sailing if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are five tips for successfully running an online business from home.

First of all, make sure you are spending the majority of your time performing tasks that directly translate into more money coming into your business. When you run an online business it’s incredibly easy to get sucked into minutia. Perhaps you’re trying to update your website but have very little experience in web design. Maybe you spend a bunch of your day dealing with customer service issues, or scheduling appointments. Although these tasks and many more are crucial to your company’s success, they aren’t necessarily the best use of your time. Take on a virtual assistant if you find yourself too distracted by minutia, and you’ll find your revenues rise accordingly.

No matter how vast your experience and strong your core idea, if you struggle with time management you’re going to find a home-based online business difficult to maintain. The hardest part about transitioning out of full-time employment is that you don’t have to punch a clock. There are no managers looking over your shoulder, and no one who will frown at you if you take an extra long lunch. This is a great feeling, but it’s also a slippery slope. Make sure you are good at keeping yourself on task and prioritizing your goals. And consider formalizing your schedule, even if you’re the only one paying attention.

You might not need a lot of room to run an online business, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a proper place to work. Setting your computer on top of the washing machine or sitting on the living room couch while your children watch cartoons isn’t conducive to long term success. You have to have a dedicated workspace, and the ability to shut out distractions when you’re trying to get things done. And don’t skimp on your desk chair. Without solid back support you’ll end up in pain at the end of a long day.

Another significant challenge of the home-based online business is making sure you still have the opportunity to network. It can be difficult to pull yourself away from the computer when it seems like every minute you spend working is another dollar in your pocket. And you’ll always have a to do list that needs attention. But networking with clients, potential customers and other professionals in your industry is crucial if you want to see your business expand. Join networking organizations that have events, so you can put something specific on your calendar that you won’t blow off.

Finally, you’ll need to figure out some way to drown out the distractions that the internet provides. While it’s a great tool for running your business, if you find yourself passing the time wandering from site to site, you might end up wasting forty-five minutes on Facebook, or two hours reading about some new broadband deals. Even consider removing anything that’s not work-related from your computer, so you won’t be distracted by games and social networking when you need to bear down on your work.