Advice for Starting a Home Based Business

Cheri owns her own home based sewing business. She discusses some of the factors of work and home that affect her business and personal life.

The reasons I started my home business were two-fold. On one hand, I had been sewing for years with my mother and was busy making outfits of the kids, friend’s children, making alterations of people I knew and soon working on referrals from people I knew. I was getting paid and noticed a demand for my service. Since I had been working from home originally, fitting in these projects on the evenings, weekends or while the kids were at school, I figured I could commit some more formal time to expanding a business. Since I was already at home I wanted to keep my business where I could attend to it when I had the time, but still be home for myself and my family.

Before I began the business I completed my work when I had time. Evenings, weekends and a few hours during the day represented the time I usually dedicated to work. As I started taking on more work under my business, things began getting a little out of control. I had no time schedule for when I would be working and when I would be ‘living.’ It turned into a scenario where I was very happy with the amount of work I was getting but it started to feel like I was always at work. I would get up early to get things done before the kids were up. I would fit in a few hours during the day, a few hours again after dinner and then whenever I had time on the weekends. Any free time I had turned into work time. I quickly learned that I had to commit specific hours in the day as ‘work time.’ It did mean making an adjustment as a family.

The demands of my sewing business changed some of the responsibilities in the house and times when I would offer to run the kids to and from a friend’s house, for example, had to be re-worked with other parents and my husband. I became very diligent about work time and free time, which at first was a hard transition. It meant ignoring some household things I normally would have attended to right away.

Soon after, I realized the importance of setting aside specific work hours for a home business. It allowed me to focus my efforts during my work time and let me ‘walk away’ from work when that time was over. Suddenly, I was getting more work done and still finding free time.

This time management skill was the most important factor in arranging my home business because it allowed me to schedule my work, my family and my life in a way where I was still working from home and home for my family, but was able to enjoy the success of my business.

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