Being an online business entrepreneur has lots of advantages! Besides being your own boss you can save a ton of money on gas if you work from home and you don’t have to worry about dressing a certain way for work unless your taking appointments. You can even take work with you anywhere you go, as long as there is an Internet connection. But every type of business has its pitfalls, and online businesses are no exception.
One of the biggest challenges you might be facing is staying on task. The Internet is a big place with lots of distractions. Social media, emails and videos with cute puppies and kittens. There may also be friends and family sending you instant messages, too. There’s also the phone calls. The list goes on and on.
It’s very easy to get sidetracked when you work online. But it is important not to let distractions affect your productivity. Even if you’re not getting paid by the hour, time is money as the old saying goes.
Set Hours and Stick to Them
One of the advantages of being your own boss is the ability to set your own hours. But that can also be one of the negatives. In the online world your hours can be long because you are dealing with different time zones and people have a tendency to think that you should be open 24 hours a day sometimes. Especially, if you have an online store. I’ve had this happen to me. I had a client who didn’t know how to download his product and got upset because he couldn’t talk to me since it was 2 am in my time zone.
Since we can’t stay on the job 24 hours a day we have to be able to draw the line and create our business hours. This helps our client’s know what to expect when reaching out to us and it gives us a life. After all, work is just part of who we are.
So let’s talk about designating work time and avoiding Internet use for non-work related activities. Here are some ways you can help yourself do that:
- Separate your email. Use one address for personal correspondence and another for business purposes. I even recommend having what I call a junk email address. You know for those places that make you sign up with an email address to get a free offer. Set your email program up to automatically separate your email so that you can concentrate on the business ones and leave the rest for later.
- If something pops into your head that you must attend to, don’t let it interrupt your work. Write it down and take care of it during non-work hours.
- Write yourself a note reminding yourself that work time is for work only, or put up an “Open” sign. It can serve as a gentle reminder that business is the only thing that should be taking place.
- Make sure you stay away from the temptations that working from home can bring like doing laundry while you are working.
Use Flexibility Wisely
Another great thing about working online is flexibility. If something comes up and you need to attend to it right away, you can drop what you’re doing and attend to it. But it’s crucial that you only use that privilege when absolutely necessary.
When you have an unexpected interruption, you lose working hours. If you were working at a regular job, you would have to either take sick or vacation time or lose pay. When you work for yourself, you can make the hours up at a time that is convenient for you. It is, however, important to make them up at some point.
As an online entrepreneur you chose a convenient and flexible way to work from home. Even though it presents more opportunities for distraction than many people imagine it is manageable with some discipline. Online business success requires a lot of discipline, but the rewards are many.
Here’s to your online business success! 🙂
1 Business, Customer Service, Planning