In the past, everyone could take pride in working for large, multinational companies. The current trend of downsizing and outsourcing, however, has brought major changes in the employment landscape. One thing for sure, as job security becomes a thing of the past, many are turning towards starting their own home based businesses.
Job security has its merits, and a home business is, arguably, not for everyone. But for those who are interested in making this shift, a change in mentality is absolutely important. There are many bad habits that lie dormant in all of us. You need to change these bad habits and develop new good habits to survive as an entrepreneur. And in many cases these can be 'borrowed' from your existing or former corporate work environment.
Here are some new disciplines that you can borrow from your working life, to develop and to practice:
1) Ownership and Decision Making
In corporate culture, you are responsible only for what your job requires you to do. In most jobs however, you are hardly responsible for the survival of the company. Your contribution, as compared to the whole, is only marginal. You can make mistakes and get away with it. Your job is easily replaceable.
As an entrepreneur, however, you may find the world to be less forgiving. A mistake can cost you your entire business. It is vital for anyone who wants to start their own home based business to think about this fact. You have to realize that success in a home based venture is directly tied up to your actions, and you need to take responsibility for everything that happens.
In your own business, you need to go beyond your capacity at times, stretching yourself more than you would as an employee. Taking responsibility also means being able to make the correct decisions as and when needed. When you work from home, YOUR decision is final. Although it may a little scary for an entrepreneur at first, these habits practiced over time become second nature.
It sure beats having to put up with corporate red-tape!
2) Developing a Creative Mindset & Taking Risks
Companies hardly, if ever, reward you for being creative. They do, however, reward you for showing up on time and completing your daily routines. You are rewarded not for being outstanding, but for being average.
As an entrepreneur, you need to shake off the bad habit of doing things the usual way, the "way it's always been done" There is nothing wrong with using standard procedures and methods. In fact, sticking to the 'rules' can help you make a decent living. But if you want the big money, like I do, you need to start thinking "Outside the Box". A little bit of ingenuity in your business can save you a lot of money and time.
Ingenuity involves finding solutions to a problem. You may, at any stage of your home business, realize that you just don't have an abundance of resources. Resources in this context can be money, time, and expertise or just about everything else that you need, but just don't have...
As you might have figured, creativity comes with risk. Doing something new is more risky than doing it the old way, but the payoff is incredible. Thinking outside the box might result in failure, just as well as it might lead to amazing success. But risk is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it is studied, anticipated and even welcomed.
So what do you do?
Most home business challenges can be solved, even if you are not a genius or have thousands of dollars to spend. If you can just use your ingenuity, you can find a solution to these challenges.
Figure out how to make the best of your advertising dollars. Figure out how to save time and automate your business. Figure out how to complement your skills using the skills of others. Small steps like these can go a long way in determining just how successful you will be.
3) Making Your Own Rules & Organizing Time
Imagine you arrive at work one day and find that the punch-card machine has been removed. The company also fired your boss, and the new rules say that you can come in at any time you want, bring your wife and kids along, and take as many breaks as you want. Shorts and a T-shirts are now the standard, accepted work attire.
What would you do?
I know what I would do - absolutely nothing at all! I would take advantage of the situation, and do absolutely no work at all. As days go by, I get lazier and eventually become a total slob.
A home business environment is not much different from the scenario above. In the absence of corporate rules, you must develop your own self imposed "home business rules". Set a time for work, for play, and for household activities. If you just decide to "go with the flow", you often get nowhere at all.
I used to think that money was the most important asset of my home business. Being quite naive, I thought that with more money, I could be successful faster. After all, money is king. With more money, I could buy more "big time" advertising, hire assistants and equip my business with the best software systems.
It didn't take me long to realize that time is more important than money. Money simply cannot buy time. But with more time, I can all make all the money I want. Put in another way, I would say that MORE TIME is more important than just MORE MONEY. But none of us, not you, nor me, can have more than 24 hours a day at our disposal.
So, as a home business entrepreneur, we need to ultimately learn how to make the best use of the time that we have. This easy to say, but it will take discipline to see it through. Discipline is not easy to achieve, but it CAN be done. Just focus on doing a little bit every day, and stick to the timeline you had laid out, and you will get into the productive rhythm that comes with discipline.
4) Continuous Self-improvement
The home business arena is highly competitive. As an entrepreneur you will need to keep up with any event that will affect your business, for better or worse.
Corporations usually have mandatory training courses for all employees. If you are someone who attended these courses just to get away from doing work, or just to get some extra sleeping time in the class, then you need to change your attitude.
As an entrepreneur you must to find ways to enrich yourself with more knowledge. Take that accounting class, attend that local business seminar and read related books. Don't see these as additional expenses; see them as long term investment. An investment in knowledge, after all, yields the best return.
Every type of business is subject to slowdowns. If you do not continuously improve your skills and knowledge, simply throwing in more money or hiring more people when that happens will not solve the problem. The only way to move forward, to get to "the next level" is to acquire new knowledge. New knowledge opens up more opportunities for your business.
5) Commitment to Your Goals & Deadlines for Success
"I want this on my desk by 2.00pm".
Sounds familiar? Most of us seek a home based business because we want to escape the pressures of a 9-5 job. The word "deadline" may send a shiver through your spine.
The irony, however, is that deadlines are EXACTLY what you need to succeed in just about anything. As an entrepreneur, these deadlines always are, and must be, self-imposed. There are many books on how to set and achieve goals and I suggest you read as many as you can.
Having family around you can be used to your advantage. Communicate your goals to your wife or husband. Promise your kids a vacation when you've finished a major task. Soon, you will get little "bosses" running around telling you to stop watching TV and get to your work. Well, at least they are "adorable" bosses!
An excerpt from the book 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill (pg. 15):
...a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He... gave the order to burn the ships that carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle he said "You see the boats going up in smoke? That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice - We win - or we perish".
And no matter what YOUR goals are in seeking self-employment and an entrepreneurial life, with commitment to your goals and determination to meet your deadlines, you too will win. Take the positive aspects of your current of former work environment to build a healthy and productive home business mentality to ensure that you are heading towards success.