20 things you must do before starting a home-based business – Part I

Here you see one of the drawings I made for my son, trying to explain a biology lesson. While working from home, I had a lot of time with him, solving problems with maths, literature and biology. And believe me or not, I am very thankful for these moments. They are my best memories from my first “work from home” years.

So, meet Bob the Bacteria!

 One of the drawings I made for my son, trying to explain a biology lesson. Meet Bob the Bacteria!

As my husband says, some people are born to be entrepreneurs and some – to work for someone else. For me to work for myself was always the best possibility. I had my personal time, I had my time with my family, we had normal family holidays… The difference between the period when I was working for someone else and for myself, was huge. And also my health improved a lot. So, I am voting for “work for yourself” idea with two hands.

But, before you leave your “office” job, you must create your strategy.

I suggest to grab a notebook and write a list with the steps in the following pages and to start making to do lists with ideas on how to improve all these steps for your own situation. This will help you to create a great plan and will increase your focus allowing you to apply your creativity to find connections and solutions to make your life and work easier. I love these lists! I wish I had made one in my earlier years, when I first decided to change my life. I found Brian Tracy’s “Eat that frog” too late. Read it or listen to it – it is a life changing book.

  1. Give yourself a specific period of time to prepare for the change 

Depending on your situation, give yourself at least 6 months to save enough money to serve as the survival fund for your new life. It is better to give yourself a year. Some may say, “A whole year! It is so much!”. Actually, it is not. One year will fly by very fast from Christmas to Christmas or from your birthday to the next one. Use it!

  1. Check your health! 

This is important. Very often people leave their office job and start working even harder and unexpected health problems appear. Care for yourself!

  1. Find the best health and accident insurance you can afford

For example, I chose a type of a life insurance, because it includes accident and disability due to severe illnesses such as cancer. Look for different deals and choose smart – some offers are too good to be true.

  1. Determine what your business will be exactly and start doing a little something in your free time

It will be difficult and there will be weeks with not enough sleep maybe. But you shouldn’t just leave your job now without even one person who will be your first real customer. Working a little bit as a real business will show you the possible problems and how to solve them. Start small, find a few clients and try to feel your way.

  1. Become extra responsible about money! 

As an adult you probably already have a bank account with something put aside for a rainy day, but on the day when the idea of leaving your job appears, even while only dreaming about it, start saving seriously!

Consider your financial situation. I was surprised to find out that a huge percentage of people in the Western World don’t have any savings and only live on credit.

I am absolutely against the credit cards. For me it is very stupid to spend money you don’t have and then pay interest on it as well. And if you are late with paying the interest there is more interest and more fees! Really?

If you have a bank account, how much money do you have? How long will it last if want to live at the same standard? Do you have another source of income? Do you have unpaid taxes or loans? Pay them off as fast as possible! When you leave your day job, your income will be probably be reduced a lot in the first months. Smart people say to create “buffer” savings for not less than 6 months. Very cautious people like me say to make these savings for not less than 1 year.

20 things you must do before starting a home-based business

  1. Find other income sources during this preparation period

In what area are your interests? Maybe you can give language or knitting, or math lessons? Or do some hours babysitting? Think about every affordable possibility to create extra savings. But do not jump on every one. Choose smart – take the ones, which will help you to make the most of the money and also – will help you to improve your skills. Work smart. For example: babysitting can help you study a foreign language while the baby is sleeping…

  1. And start really saving! 

Save like your life depends on the amount of money you save. It really does. Do you really need another one red nail polish? More clothes? More Christmas home decoration? The money you save in this period will determine the quality of your life when you start working from home. Online you can find huge lists of things you can save on. Just start doing it. I am sure there are not less than 20 things you can live without and this will not change the quality of your life.

  1. Explore the possibility of downsizing

If you are renting (and especially if you are alone mother with small kids), explore the idea of downsizing the place you are living in. It will be very difficult to stop having a regular salary and at the same time to start working from home and move homes and offices. It can be a nightmare! It would also be irresponsible.

There are lots of pluses in downsizing. First, you will save money. Second, you can find a cheaper place closer to your child’s school, so probably it will be easy to walk there rather than drive, which will save you even more money. The morning walk will be also helpful for your health and mood. You will not feel locked at home as many people complain. I was lucky – my son’s school was only a 20 minute walk away. His classes started at 7:30 in the morning, and the kids had to be there not later than 7:20. So, in snow, rain and wonderful summer mornings we were walking. Let’s do the numbers: 20 minutes to school and 15 minutes back (a faster walk by myself) twice a day gave me 70 minutes of active exercise which saved me a lot of money on a gym membership. Also, my son had basketball training and the stadium was a further 30 minutes-walk from his school. Why walk? Because the traffic was awful and after the first days when he was late, we decided to walk. His basketball training was 3 times a week and instead of going back home, I used the time to sit with my laptop in the closest Starbucks café and work for an hour.

  1. Consider trying minimalism

Minimalism is absolutely a great decision to pursue! It is so wonderful and helpful to not have so many things to clean, to dust, to wash, to iron, to fold! I wish I knew about minimalism when I first started working from home! This would have saves me so much time!

  1. Understand that very often women are worse bosses than men

Most men consider women as weaker creatures, so we are likely to get more emotional support or understanding from a man boss, than from a woman. So why not be sneaky and use this “power” if possible? Maybe you will need leave earlier some days? Some days, not almost every day!

Part II is coming soon…

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