What is the key to home business and work from home success? While there is no one thing that will guarantee success, I believe forming better habits will tip the odds more in your favor.I believe forming better habits will tip the odds more in your favor for success. Click To Tweet
A few friends and I were talking about working from home. We all seemed to agree that our habits can make or break our home business endeavors. I’d even say that habits can make or break any endeavor. This may be more on my mind lately as I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s excellent book, “Better than Before” while trying to get back into a few habits I let slip during the last few tumultuous years of our lives.our habits can make or break our home business endeavors. Click To Tweet
Deciding on Habits to Build
The first thing to address is what habits to develop in our lives that would help us be more successful. Again, I can’t recommend “Better Than Before” more highly. It’s excellent and has much more detail. I found it funny that I’ve come to the same conclusions that she was setting forth in her book.
For example, just because something is a good habit for me, and helps me be more productive, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a habit that everyone has to develop in their lives. For years would read books on productivity and getting more done (I have an addiction, you might say), and sometimes I’d become frustrated trying to incorporate someone else’s habits into my lifestyle.Make habits your own to work for you. Don't implement someone else's habits. Click To Tweet
Just because someone else loves to wake up at 4 am to go for a jog doesn’t mean I need to do that. Such a habit doesn’t work well in my life and makes me less productive. However, I needed to wake up earlier and go to bed at a reasonable hour. I’ll talk more about that later on in this post.
To decide on habits to build, just think about those things that should get done regularly in your work and your life that you cannot delegate to someone else. What parts of your day could use more structure?What parts of your day could use more structure? #productivity Click To Tweet
Taking the Plunge to Develop Better Habits
Deciding on what habits you want to develop is one thing, but doing it is something else, isn’t it?
There seem to be two schools of thought in creating new habits.
Some people swear that you absolutely must incorporate these new habits into your life slowly, using baby steps. That’s a good idea for some things, and it also works for some people.
I’m more of an extremist, all-or-nothing person. I have to take a figurative running leap, cannon balling into my new habit, to make it stick. I’ve found that if I leave one foot in the old way while trying to create a new habit, I’ll never succeed. Your results may vary.
So what kinds of habits are we talking about here? We have to work on habits that will improve our own lives. For me, I have some foundational habits that help me no matter what I’m doing professionally. They even help when I homeschooled my kids, or when I work outside of the home. Basically, we’re talking good, all around habits that make my life easier.
From time to time, such as following that car accident, I find I have to tighten my belt so to speak and buckle down on making these habits a priority again, as they do slowly slip away when I break a routine or life change. The season of caring for my son after the car accident, of running around to appointments and changing a feeding tube formula, all made for habits flying right on out the window. It’s taken awhile to rebuild some of them, especially working out, as my waistline shows.
Waking Up at a Reasonable Hour
I think this is fairly self-explanatory. I know that in the past, I’ve set a specific (unreasonable) time on this habit, which never seemed to stick. Instead, I had to first work on some other habits that were hindering the success of this one:
- Going to bed at a reasonable hour
- Not drinking coffee at 9 at night (you would think this is common sense…. but….)
- Not being on the computer late at night (I’m 80% successful here, but when I am successful, it makes a difference!)
My Quiet Time
As I wrote in one of my first books, Quiet Times in Loud Households, spending time with God through prayer and reading the Bible is crucial to my day. Lately, I’ve re-read the Gospels and meditate on the works and words of Jesus before starting my day.
I like to think of it as tuning my heart and mind towards loving God and loving others before I start my day.Devotions: tuning my heart+mind towards loving God + loving others b4 I start my day Click To Tweet
I used to say, “I don’t have enough energy to exercise regularly”.
This is the grand paradox of exercise, my friends. Although you may feel whipped the first few days you work out within your fitness level (don’t start off with an hour’s workout), you will find you have more energy within a week or two. I promise. I can’t get through the day without at least 20-40 minutes of exercise.
I used to have the dangerous habit of skipping meals. Breakfast would be coffee. Lunch would be more coffee, and Dinner would be dinner.
This is not healthy.
And can we just dispense with this nonsense of only eating when hungry? If I did that (and I used to), I’d not eat most of the day and whack my whole metabolism out. No. I have to form the habit (using a timer if need be) to remind myself to eat regularly. I also have to make sure I eat a reasonably low carb, high vegetable, with a protein diet for optimal health.
I’ve had to dive in instead of tip toe into the water. I have had to face the sad fact that I cannot enjoy carbs like bread and pasta “in moderation”. It just doesn’t work for me.
Habits I find Invaluable in Freelancing
Some habits are more specific to my success or failure in freelancing for the last 22 years. Over that time, I have found that, even if I have no work on my plate at a certain moment, I need to still keep working, as we’ll discuss below.
Even if I’m super busy, I have found that I have to continue to reach out to find more clients.
In the last seven years especially, I’ve had to build a daily habit of doing some marketing activity, however small. This changes as trends change. Included in this habit is both marketing online and marketing in person.
Regular blogging is also an important habit to develop. It’s a habit I’ve been working on rebuilding since the car accident, and while rebranding my website away from too much mommy blogging now that my kids are older.
When I have no client work, I continue to create designs. Some get shared eventually, and others just go in a file for later. As a designer, living in a time when technology is constantly changing, I try to keep up my education regularly at sites like lynda.com or Skillshare.com. Through these, I work on new skills and techniques.
Sharing & Social Media
Social Media is a double-edged sword for many work-from-home moms and other business people.
On the one hand, it’s a huge time suck.
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be a great marketing tool for your business. Sharing posts, projects, and designs on social media helps keep your brand in front of potential clients and readers. The difficulty lies in only sharing without getting lost.
Deleting Facebook from my phone and tablet is a tremendous help, and developing the habit of creating content and blogging before going on any sort of social media each day also helps.
Carrying Business Cards
In a day when everything seems to be digital, there is still value in carrying business cards and having a print advertisement on you.
By having a basic elevator pitch developed, and arming yourself with business cards, postcards, brochures, or whatever else might be appropriate for your business, you are ready to tell anyone about your business should the opportunity arise. I’ve found that business cards are a great way to find new readers and new clients.
What about you?
What habits help you towards success in work and life? What have you found to be a good way to develop better habits?