By Saralyn Collins
“People walk right by me, see right through me, and never even know I’m there. Mr. Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane…”
Do you ever feel that way? Like you just want people to notice you, you want them to want to hear you? If you are in business for yourself, this is a very valid feeling. And it happens for many reasons. If you have a home-based business, this feeling can become magnified.
Working at home has some very strong advantages. When I lived in Orlando, the main thoroughfare is I-4 and it is often called the “world’s largest parking lot” because it is so easy for everything to come to a complete standstill. Seen it happen on I-26 many times as well! Well, one advantage of working from home is the 30-second walk from my bedroom to my office instead of time spent navigating I-26 or I-240 or I-40 in any direction!
Believe me, this home-based entrepreneur knows the disadvantage of that concept as well. I swear my computer hisses at me late at night when sitting in the family room, trying to relax and unwind from a busy day. That subtle sound says, “Come back to work. You still have so much to do. No matter it is after 10 PM … I’m right here… so close.”
While I love much of the new technology, one item I swore would never show up in my home office is a video phone or anything were I automatically show up on camera when working. My brain works just as well in my bathrobe as it does in my professional suit. (At least I want to believe that is the case!)
OK, all you who teach the strategy that in order to be at our most productive we must be appropriately dressed so our brain knows we are at work and not at leisure … I get it. Generally I agree … but, I also know I am the type that is going to be focused at work no matter how I am dressed. Truthfully … I’m writing this article while sitting here in my ratty old, somewhat white bathrobe because I started working before I went to get dressed. But more about that at a later time.
Of course there are many more advantages other than these surface ones. But we have to acknowledge that there can be some disadvantages as well. If you are going to be successful in your home-based business, there are some strategies about “working from home” that must be addressed. Your job is to make sure you face these clearly first so you can then deal with all the challenges that then come with having and growing a business—regardless of its location.
Number one top priority: Just because you work alone – and often isolated from others on a regular basis – doesn’t mean you have to always be alone. It is so easy to sit at your desk, or on the phone, working alone, hour after hour … day after day.
Stop it! Totally unnecessary and very unproductive.
One of your most important jobs is to market your business and the best way to do that still is to be out in public, building your name recognition and awareness of your expertise. Connecting with others will never lessen in importance and I am NOT talking about social networking. I am talking about face-to-face, hand-to-hand, and eyeball-to-eyeball. You will NEVER replace that in importance. (Don’t forget our fabulous Business Magnet Lunch & Learn 3rd Thursday of every month! Plenty of other choices as well to be found on ThinkBusinessSpace.com.)
We appreciate and value the connections made on Facebook and LinkedIn. It allows us a way to keep up with others in different cities and even countries. But it can never replace the value of sitting over a cup of coffee and brainstorming with a valued colleague. It will never replace the validation received when a friend and supporter reminds you that you can do it – no matter what the obstacle. It will never compensate for the excitement built when you make a new connection at a networking event and it looks like this might be the one to propel you to the next level in your business.
So what is the actual strategy here? Realize you are in business alone but you never have to be alone. There is a major difference in working ON your business and working IN your business.
You can work at home IN your business day after day – sitting right there at your desk and slaving away. Or you can accept the “law of business growth” that says it is crucial for you to work ON your business and you do that best by getting outside that home office and connecting in a real and vital way with mentors, prospects, colleagues and supporters.
Stop being a “cellophane man” and give me, and others, a chance to see you, talk and connect with you, and get to know you. Then and only then will I consider doing business with you!
Like many of you, Saralyn gave up the long drive to an office many years ago. She has successfully run businesses from her home office for many years. After this many years, she has figured out some of the most effective strategies for success when you have a business and want to grow. Coaching, consulting, training – the purpose of it all should be – producing results – solving areas of concern!
So Saralyn is your ultimate “result producer.” There are steps and strategies that can be used in almost any business situation that will increase your chances for success.
For additional information, visit her website, SaralynCollins.com. You may also contact Saralyn at: Saralyn@SaralynCollins.com
Or home office – 828-649-8011 For more info about the Biz Magnet Lunch & Learn – check the WNCWoman.com homepage for information and to register.