Starting your own business has its perks. You can set your own hours and spend more time with loved ones. Not. This fantasy is what drives many to start a business. It is also what causes them to fail. Reality, in contrast, is very different.
I hate to burst your bubble but starting and running your own business means your hours are erratic, your pay fluctuates and your loved ones can, and do, get pushed to the side as you get your business off the ground.
The good news: It gets better.
However, you must set the foundation for how your family, friends and clients view you. If you see your time as valuable, so will others. With that said, I believe these 6 ground rules are non-negotiable.
- Don’t drop by unannounced.
Don’t assume because I work from home I can entertain you during my workday. Just as I would not drop by your cubicle, or office, to spend hours chit-chatting, please refrain from doing it during my business hours. Respect my time as I would yours.
- I am not your laundry service, maid, or taxi.
Working from home has its perks. I’m usually able to put my work aside to attend my Tween’s school functions; however, when I do, I make up for the time lost by working into the wee hours of the night. My ability to reschedule my time for my son, does not mean that I will reschedule my time to pick up your packages, drive you around, or just run errands for you.
- Conference calls are sacred.
Given that working from home means less face time, conference calls are sacred. They may be the only “real” contact you have with a client or colleagues. These check-in times are vital for establishing a rapport with one another. They are also how you ensure your client and/or colleagues know that you are working and not just watching Dr. Oz.
- My cell phone is an extension of my office.
I know. I know. Whipping out your cell phone when you’re with friends and family can seem inexcusable. I get it. In fact, I’ve heard it countless times. But, our cell phones are an extension of our office. We need to take that call or answer that email, tweet, Facebook post, text, etc., etc. Why? Because starting a small business means that you must give 110% at all times. If we don’t take that call or respond to that email, tweet, Facebook post, text, etc., etc. someone else will. So, cut us some slack! If you don’t, you may just cost us our client.
- My Small Business is not a hobby.
I often find others do not take my small business as seriously as they should. Let me make this clear. My small business pays the bills, the medical insurance, the 401K, and so much more. A hobby does not. Please make sure you understand the difference. It’s a no brainer, you either respect my time or you may find me limiting the amount of time I spend with you.
- My time is valuable and so is yours.
With only 24 hours in a day, 14 if we subtract the amount of time we eat, poop and sleep, we have to schedule everything we do, if we want to keep all the balls in the air. If we schedule time with you, respect it. We want to spend time with you, not waiting for you. Show us you value our time, as much as yours, by arriving on time.
- Coffee does not mean you can pick my brain.
If I were to count on my fingers the number of times I have been invited to coffee and then surprised with a brain-picking session, I would need more fingers. I worked hard to get where I am. I have also spent money on courses, conferences, books, and videos to hone my social media skills. Please don’t assume I am going to give it away. My time, and ideas, are worth money. If you would like to pick my brain, hire me as a consultant. You’ll not only have my undivided attention, you’ll also appreciate, and use, the advice given because you’re taking your business as seriously as I am.
Let’s talk! Have you encountered any of these situations? If so, how did you react? Leave a comment and share your wisdom!