In part 1 of this article, we shared skills 1-5 of the top 10 skills that home-based business owners need to succeed. Now, we’ll complete the list.
6) Work-Life Balance
Balancing your personal life with your home-based business working life is vital to your mental and physical health. When you are starting out, you may find yourself working long hours (or odd hours) and not giving enough attention to friends, family, your mental state and physical well being. You may eat poorly, sleep poorly, and thus, think poorly.
The restorative power of sleep and rest are required to keep your mind sharp and spirit buoyed. If you are sleep-deprived (or rest-deprived) you’ll work inefficiently, may make poor or hasty decisions, and your life will look more glum and feel more difficult. Make sure you sleep well and have a regular sleeping schedule.
Schedule time away from work with family, friends and yourself. Spend some of your “me time” relaxing and some exercising. “Exercise” doesn’t have to involve 2 hours at the gym. Go for a walk, cycle, swim or dig in the garden. Try to incorporate some physical activity into each day. It helps clear the mind, releases endorphins (those feel-good chemicals produced in the brain) and re-energizes you.
- Read “The Office Workout” at Military.com.
- Read “Therapeutic Power of Sleep” at Psychology Today.
- View “A workout at work?” from Washingtonpost.com. The article includes 12 exercises you can do at work (or in your home office). The added bonus of this article are the motion graphics that demonstrate the exercises. They are both informative and funny. My favorite motion infographic is the “Raise the Roof” move. A couple of these will come in handy if you time travel to an early 90s rave.
Learning to budget is a financial management skill that will set you apart from those who flounder. Budgeting is vital. It’s not just that you want to know how much you have to spend, or have spent, budgeting is a tool that helps you plan for financial growth. A budget is a living document that changes as conditions change. With budgeting, you set goals (based on past performance) and then work toward those goals.
You can create a budget using a spreadsheet although we hope you choose to use Flare Cloud Accounting, which has an easy-to-use budgeting feature that allows you to compare your budgeted projections with actual performance.
- Learn more about budgeting basics in “Budgeting for Freelancers. An Easy Guide to Why and How“.
- Read “Budgeting and Business Planning for Growth“.
- Check out Flare small business budgeting.
8) Expense Tracking and Cash Flow Management
Expense tracking, cash flow management and budgeting go hand-in-hand. Whether you track expenses by keeping receipts in a shoebox, spreadsheet or accounting software, you need to know how much and on what you are spending money. Only by closely examining variable and fixed expenses can you hope to operate as lean as possible, trimming the fat that could be a home-based business killer.
Flare Founder and CEO, Iftikhar Ahmed, has compiled a list of tips and resources in “How to Reduce Company Expenses and the Pain of Fixed Costs.” Doing so is made all that much easier if you use Flare. You can get a free trial here.
Find out about expense tracking in Flare.
9) How to Price Home-Based Business Services
Pricing home-based business services is part art and science. At first, you may be tempted to undercut competitors to build a roster of clients and a portfolio of work. You can’t operate like this for long, though. If you price services too cheaply, you may get work, but you’ll chew through all of your time for a meager living. To price services you need to know: how much competitors charge for the same or similar services; how much your business needs to survive (see budgeting); and then somehow find that balancing point.
Find out about pricing services by reading the following articles:
- “How to Price Freelance Services“.
- “5 Invoicing Best Practices for Better Cash Flow“.
- “Use Sales Closing Techniques ‘Scarcity and Urgency’ to Convert an Estimate to a Purchase“.
10) Asking for Help
Finally, the last skill that successful home-business owners possess is learning how to ask for help. If you have questions, need feedback, encouragement or advice, ask for it! Join small business forums, get advice from a career counsellor or life coach and forge relationships with other home-based business owners. Visit the SCORE website. SCORE is a national U.S. non-profit that helps small business owners get off the ground and achieve their goals. SCORE has free articles, mentors, tools and templates that can help you plan and run your home-based business. Search for a SCORE mentor near you.
Read the following to find out where to get help when you need it:
- “Small Business Forums: Questions, Answers, Community“.
- “Freelancing Forums List: Community, Help, Advice“.
- “6 Freelance Blogs You Should Follow: Tip of the Advice-Berg“.
What skills do you think home-based business owners need? Share your thoughts and experience.
By the way, financial management and budgeting are other skills home-based business owners need. You can sign up for a free Flare Cloud Accounting trial and take advantage of easy-to-use bookkeeping, budgeting and more.