5 Ideas For A Happy Business

5 Ideas For A Happy Business

5 Tips for Work at Home Balance

Working from home sounds like a great idea in this economy.

The truth though, is that not everyone is cut out for it. Working from home requires a delicate balance between family, work, personal time, and other priorities.

The best thing about working from home is that you never have to go to work, the bad thing is that you never get to leave.

It’s a blessing and a curse and it’s easy to fall of either side of the cliff — working too little or working too much.

I’ve had the blessing of working from home for the past 13 years. In that time period, home could be defined as my a dorm room, a friends house, my mother’s garage, an apartment, our first house, and the place we call home now. Each location and season of life presented it’s own series of challenges.

Through the years, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and managed to work too much and too little. It’s still a daily balance at times.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way that can help make it a little easier:

  1. Define Work Times: Working from home often allows for unusual schedules, which is great, but that can often lead to too much or too little work. If you can define a period of time each day for work, it will help normalize your schedule and improve productivity. Hold yourself to those times.
  2. Define a Work Space: This one is harder for some depending on the space you have available at home, but if you can carve out a space that’s specifically designed for work only, it will help you focus when you’re in that space. Kind of like watching TV in bed can lead to poor sleep and sex, trying to work in a play space can be equally unproductive.
  3. Work when You’re Working: Sounds simple, but it’s not always. Facebook, twitter, blogging, news, and much more can quickly sweep us away for hours of the day without notice. Before you know it, you’ve wasted a ton of valuable time.
  4. Play when you’re Playing: Ok, ok, I’m starting to sound a little repetitive, but seriously… almost all of the very successful business owners I know are great at productive work, but they are also great at playing hard. When you’re with family, or friends, and outside of the defined hours in #1 above, put down the phone, shutdown the laptop, and HAVE FUN!
  5. Communicate with your Spouse: (This probably should be #1) If you’re married, working from home can bring an all new kind of stressors (or be a huge blessing). Making sure your spouse knows when you’re working, when you’re playing, and when you’re available to help with other things is extremely important. Communicate these things BEFORE they become a problem.
Working from home is a delicate balance. I’ve been doing it for years and I still screw it up. If you have any other tips, I’d love to hear them.

Project Management and Waiting Tables

Waiting tables should be a requirement for life. Learning to serve others, quickly, with lots of details, and with a good attitude is not an easy job. It takes long hours on your feet, lots of focus, and lots of patients.

Great waters would make great project managers. Regardless of the business, a project manager is very similar to a waiter. They service a variety of customers at once, have a certain rotation, and often work from the time a custom sits down until the time they pay the bill.

Project management requires focus and discipline with task management. If a table has sat around too long and not given you their order (or feedback on a project), it can be easy to let them slip out of rotation and hard to keep track of. If you take sloppy notes, it can be easy to get the order wrong.

Project managers should study good waters and learn something.

The Reality of Hiring

There is a lot of talk abot jobs right now. Esspecially from politicians, many of whom have never created a job in their entire lives.

I am a small business owner. I hire people and companies to help our clients with websites, graphic design, and many other services. I hire people down the street and half way around the world.

Here is a dirty little secret in business… It is significantly easier to hire someone OUTSIDE the United States than it is half way around the world. It’s also significantly more expensive. I’m not talking about a persons actual wage or salary but all of the government and legalities involved.

There are MANY reasons that jobs are struggling right now, but one of the major reasons is government involvement and regulation. The best thing that government can do for business (and as a result labor and jobs) is to get out of the business of business. All you have to do is look at the recent Dodd/Frank act and what it’s new regulations mean to the “evil” big businesses like Bank of America. They recently announced that they will likely be letting go 30,0000 employees due new regulations (Great article in the Wall Street Journal about it today).

When I hire a staff locally, I need an I-9, W-4, direct deposit paperwork, background check, new hire forms, unemployment insrance forms, and other legal paperwork. I also need to be concerned about the additonal cost of payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and the fact that if I need to let them go, I need all sorts of paperwork and information to prevent being penalized by future unemployment claims. At the end of the year I need to deal with W2s and all kinds of other legal paperwork to make sure I am in compliance with the law. All of this taxes away from what I could actually pay someone and takes away from me actually working the business (and creating more jobs).

When I hire staff abroad, all I need is a PayPal account email address.

The problem with government is that so many of them would look at this situation and argue that it needs to be more difficult to hire abroad to make it fair. The reality of it is that we need to make it easier to hire here and promote the benefits of working locally.

Our business works with clients all over the world and it makes sense for us to have staff all over in many cases, but I WANT to hire local as much as possible (especially in “this economy”). The instability and regulation of government make that a more daunting process than it should be.

Now, please excuss me, I have an interview with a potential new employee. You see, while everyone in the public sector is busy talking about jobs, some of us in the private sector are working as hard as we can to actually create jobs.

Stop Talking, Start Doing

One of my favorite motivational speakers of all time is Zig Ziglar. He has so much charm, passion, and zeal for what he does. He loves to motivate people.

Recently I was listening to an old audio recording of his called Leadership & Success Series. It is loaded with great information but one specific story really stuck with me.

He tells a story about when he was young, they had biscuits one morning that were flat and not as large and fluffy as they usually would be. He mentions that he asked the cook what happened to the biscuits and she said “they got caught in the squat.” They never rose to their true potential. This is what happens with people too.

So many people TALK about what they are going to do when the situation is right, or the right opportunity comes along, or the right time of year, but the never actually DO anything.

Out politicians are especially bad at this. They talk about what they are going to do to cut the debt, talk about what they are going to do to improve jobs, talk about what they are going to do to reduce government (or increase on the left), but it rarely ever happens. There is too much talking and not enough doing.

Talking does not produce incoming (well, unless you are Zig Ziglar), it does not grow jobs, it will not grow business.

In the Bible, it says “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” (Proverbs 10:4) It later says “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23) These are wise words.

If we, as a nation, as small business owners, as leaders in the community, as mothers and fathers, as husbands and wives, would do a little less talking and a lot more doing, we would all be much better off.

Now excuse me while I stop talking and go get some work done…