Working from home in a woodworking business is a wonderful way to start a business. It offers you a great deal of flexibility and is often a very cost effective way to start a business. It also offers some unique challenges in finding ways to balance your time and business commitments.
Most of us are used to having certain commitments that we meet at home (cleaning, telephone calls, etc.). Successfully managing your time means that you have to develop a business “hat” which you must put on at the start of each business day. You’ll have to use the following strategies to carve out time for your business.
Set a schedule for your work – carefully evaluate how much time you think you can devote to the business then set a work schedule. Block that time out on your calendar. Don’t get in the habit of thinking “oh, I’ll just make the time up later”. If it’s on your calendar, it’s reserved time and should not be sacrificed for any reason.
Let friends and family know your schedule -- A lot of people think home businesses are just great – you’re home to do any chores and are available to chat on the phone. You are going to have to establish realistic expectations with family and friends, such as “During this time I won’t be answering the phone, it will go to the answering machine”.
Learn to prioritize your tasks -- Think about your tasks in terms of “A projects”, “B projects”, “C projects”. “A projects” are those projects that have to be completed (this is the must do list), “B projects” are nice to do or would be helpful to finish; “C projects” are those projects that can wait for another time. Don’t waste your time on “B” or “C” projects when you have “A” projects to do. “Projects” are your bread and butter projects; it’s how you make your money. So for example if an “A project “ it may be something like “I have to build this bed for client A” versus a “B project” I need to get some additional information ready for my web-site, or a “C project” I need to reorganize my materials.
One of the advantages of prioritizing your tasks is that you can learn to take the non-essential tasks and do them at another time. For instance, in the evenings when you would watch TV, you can take that time to work on your organization of materials, while you watch the TV.
Again, your business goal will determine how much time you are willing to set aside for your business. When you determine how much money you want to make a month, you have a better understanding of how much work you need to do.
It’s difficult to plan the amount of time to devote to your business without a good understanding of how to bill for your services. In the next chapter, we’ll discuss how to bill for your services and determine your rates for wood furniture.
Know when to let the balls drop – sometimes starting a business can feel a little like a juggling act. You have to keep a lot of balls in the air, balancing your family, business and customers’ needs. Occasionally you’ll come up against that crisis moment, the time when you have a project due, and other demands weighing upon you. The partial secret to meeting project deadlines is in the initial planning stages: only committing to what you know you can accomplish.
Occasionally you can pour out the extra effort with a late night session, or an early morning quilt marathon, but eventually, those hours will take a toll on you and you’ll find yourself getting even further behind. Sometimes as tempting as it is to accept lots of project commissions, you have to learn to prioritize how much you can accomplish in a given time period.
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