My ears pricked up this morning when the breakfast TV program Sunrise announced they would be interviewing a couple of people about home based business.

 

Sam Leader is co-author with coach, writer and presenter Robert Gerrish, of a new book Flying Solo – how to go it alone in business. Kylie Carlson founded her very successful online kids educational toys business, Organised Kaos, from her back bedroom.

 

The interview covered ground familiar to people who have studied home based business or have some experience of doing business this way, and the format of the progam meant that the discussion ran no risk of getting deeply into the issues. But I’m pleased to see books being produced to help people who choose to ‘fly solo’ and I was impressed with the story of how Kylie Carlson built her business.

 

Kylie’s story demonstrates once again the amazing fact of our 21st century economy, that with a pc in a back bedroom and a garage to store some product, it’s possible to build a national and even an international business. 

 

A list of tips on home based business was provided as some onscreen bullet points during the interview. The tips are fairly obvious to anyone experienced in home based business but they are worth consideration and application by anyone in, or contemplating being in, home based business. The fact sheet here lists the tips with comments. I’ve put the tip headers in bold below and added my own comments:

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Have an inspiring vision for your business

Books are written about how to do this in corporations. Home business owners need to do it too. And it’s a smart move to get a coach to help with this – encouraging, challenging, asking probibe questions and not letting you off the hook until you’ve got what feels right to you and you’re ready to commit yourself to realising it. I’ve put myself through this process (and am still doing so in fact) with California based master coach Richard Reardon. I strongly recommend it. After all, if you have no vision of where you are heading, how can you have any lasting measure of success?

 

Establish boundaries

Let family and friends know that ‘working from home’ means you wish to be no more available to be interrupted or ‘dropped in on’ than if you were working for someone else in an office or other non-domestic workplace. This one is also a special challenge for people with small children – they might need some special attention to understand that because one or both of their parents is absorbed at their desk or computer screen doesn’t mean they don’t love their children!

 

Avoid isolation

Arrange ways to get out more and meet with people, to keep your mind stimulated and get different perspectives – and simply to avoid going ‘stir-crazy’. Just going to networking events doesn’t do it, in my opinion. Make sure to schedule some good chatting sessions with friends over a lunch or an extended coffee break – and at a restaurant or coffee shop, not at home! You don’t have time? Look at all the time you are saving not commuting!

 

Set yourself up in a good working environment

Don’t stick your desk in the least attractive part of the house. I certainly don’t and in fact I choose to have my desk where I have the best view of the garden and occasional wildlife visitors. Some ‘experts’ say you must be able to shut the door on your office at the end of the day. I say, that’s fine if you need to, but my choice is to have a nice environment as I work during the day, and I’m not fussed by seeing a desk and computer in the ‘living’ room at night. Corporations spend millions on creating pleasant working environments – be good to yourself.

 

Do research into your chosen market

I suspect that the reality is that a lot of people start a home based business on the basis of doing something in a field they know something about, such as the government and university business consulting I focused on when I started out. But it does make sense to do some research – it’s just as easy to cling to a dying or ‘never really to be born’ industry from home as it is in the corporate world. 

 

Experiment with working from home

It’s not for everyone – why not try it out on a ‘side business’ approach to start? In other words, don’t give up your day job before you decide whether this is really the way you want to work. And if you are a home based bizoid but not by your own choice, do some research while you work, to see what your long term opportunities and aspirations might be.

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By the way, the Flying Solo book, mentioned above, is about ‘going solo’, not about home based business per se. I haven’t seen a copy, but from my reading of quite a few pieces by co-author Robert Gerrish and a 30 second chat with him several moons ago, I can only assume it has lots of good information for people launching out on their own, whether or not they choose to do that from home, or start from a home base.

 

The book is available now in ‘all good bookstores’ in Australia and next year in other countries (but if you contact them they will get one on a plane for you.)  If you are used to going straight to Amazon to check out books, you could risk being confused as there are several other books listed there with ‘flying solo’ as title or part of the title – this one isn’t listed there, yet. More information here. 

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