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5 Tips For Maintaining a Successful Small Business from Home with Kids

5 Tips For Maintaining a Successful Small Business from Home
I was asked to participate in the #MakeMoreHappen campaign, sponsored by Staples. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

I’m a work at a home mom trying to maintain not one but two small businesses. In addition to this blog which has become my main source of income, I am also a photographer at Ivy Rose Photography. Sometimes it can get tough. When you work from home you have to be jack-of-all-trades. You are your own boss, there is no finance department that tells you how to spend your money, there is no accounting department that handles all the taxes. I manage everything myself from the marketing, business plans – everything down to budget and business expenses.

5 Tips For Maintaining a Successful Small Business from Home

When I first started working from home I have to admit that things were a bit chaotic. I felt as if I was working all day long, every single day without a break. My breaks were the time that I would work. I would get little sleep and sometimes work until the sun came up. I knew that my schedule was something I couldn’t keep up with and as my kids got older I knew I had to make some changes. Since I started working from home in 2013 I have adjusted my schedule time and time again to figure out what worked best for our family.

Today I’m teaming up with Staples, my go-to spot for my small businesses and I’m giving you my 5 tips for maintaining a successful, small business from home.

Tips for Running a Successful Small Business From Home

1. Make a schedule

Make a schedule and stick to it as closely as you can. Working from home will leave you with a lot of unexpected events that disrupt your schedule. It’s important to be flexible but it helps to have a set time carved out each day for when you will work and when you will tend to other things – like your household duties and your kids, if they are at home. I have a baby at home right now, so it’s not always possible for me to stick to a schedule, but since my kids seem to be on a schedule it helps me determine when they have their down time. Winding down time + nap time usually means work time for me.

 

2. Personal Time

It’s so easy to get burnt working from home. And that’s because it’s so easy to mix your personal time and work time. Your work can easily consume you 24/7, so in order to prevent the stressed out, burnt out, unmotivated feelings you need to schedule in some personal time each week. Turn off your laptop, set aside your phone and try your hardest not to check emails for at least a few hours each week. Break up your personal time and take some time each day, or even better, schedule a full day where you don’t work at all. My non-work days are usually on Friday’s. Instead of heading to my computer that morning to check emails I won’t even turn on my computer that day. It can be something as small as sitting on your couch with a cup of coffee and a book or watching your favorite Netflix show to heading down the street to grab a cup of coffee or an afternoon taking an afternoon off to go watch a movie or get a pedicure.

 

3. Network & Get Social

I didn’t realize that being a work at home mom could get lonely. But the fact of the matter is, you don’t get the benefit of making new friends at work anymore, at least in the traditional sense. You don’t get to chat with your coworkers over lunch or in meetings. It’s so easy to forget your social needs these days, because you’re at home with your kids you get so used to chit chatting about your kids favorite cartoons and books. It’s important to continue to get social and network, whether that be with a network of other moms in the neighborhood that you have play-dates with or the other moms from ballet or even other moms you’ve met over social media. I have met so many amazing women doing what I’m doing over social media from all over the world that I talk with so frequently I now call them friends. Being social and having a network outside of your work can help you feel rejuvenated.

 

 4. Prioritize then let go

You can’t do it all. Let’s be honest here. You can’t get everything that you need done now done today. Unless you want to spend the day working like a crazy person and ignoring your kids, don’t even try to do it. Make a list of all your deadlines and due dates and prioritize them each week. Prioritize the most important tasks each week and schedule them out so that you can get one or two accomplished each day. Then….LET IT GO. Don’t stress over the little things that you have on your to-do list. You will see that your business will still go on. By having a priority list and schedule you will get the most important things done and you will feel a little accomplished each day rather than always feeling behind.

 

5. Budgeting for business and family expenses separately

Don’t mix business with pleasure. Easier said than done when you’re working from home, but it’s a must. Keep your business expenses separate from your family expenses. Try to set a side a portion of your profits to go specifically towards your business. As a small business owner who relies on my business income to support my family, I cannot put everything I make from my businesses back into my business or to put it into refining my craft, but there will be certain things that are a MUST and I NEED for my business and for those things I set money aside in a separate bank account.

 

Staples Small Business Hub

Since most of what I make goes to support my family and the rest back into the businesses, I always make sure that I am getting the most bang for the buck.

I love having one place that I can go that meets all of my small business needs. Staples has always been a huge supporter of small business owners. They not only have resources in-store like their Copy & Print Center but there are tons of things that you can do online straight from your computer at home. When it comes to business supplies I have a small  budget, but when I order from Staples I know that I am getting what I need with my budget + quality products.

Tips for Running a Successful Small Business From Home

You might not know this but they have a Small Business Hub online dedicated to small business owners with tons of things that you can do from your computer at home.

Tips for Running a Successful Small Business From Home

You can design and order business cards, print marketing flyers and posters, get invitations and announcements, calendars and brochures. And the best part of it, you can get most things the SAME DAY that you place an order. Just select in-store pickup at checkout! That is soooo useful when you need something quick before meetings with clients.

 

Tips for Running a Successful Small Business From Home

 

I just designed and ordered my new cards with Staples design tool and it was so easy!

Giveaway: $50 Staples Gift Card

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Rachel Jenkins
    September 13, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I just started making baby clothing, so I would use the gift card to purchase pens books and other essentials for it.

  • Reply
    LoLo
    September 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you for this insight. You are absolutely right about the burn out part. Definitely setting up that schedule and maintaining it is very key. When I start a project I tend to work very very long hours to complete that by the time its ready for its photo op I am out of steam. Working from home you definitely have to wear many hats so having one hub to complete any design/print or just print and stock up on supplies is a plus. One stop shop at Staples!

  • Reply
    Mytha
    September 13, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Working from home is chaotic, definitely agree… having a schedule works great! I’m not always on a schedule, but we try! Lll

  • Reply
    Amy Heffernan
    September 13, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Some new printer ink! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tracie Cooper
    September 19, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I started a custom wooden sign business and I would us the gift card for printer ink and papers to make business cards and flyers for my business!

  • Reply
    MaryAnn
    September 19, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    I would purchase printer labels, label tape, and a custom stape. I would purchase these for my home office.

  • Reply
    Rosie
    September 21, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I don’t have a small biz just yet. My town will not allow it out of a residence, so I’ve been looking to move to another area where I can do crafts from my home and sell online.

  • Reply
    Rosie
    September 21, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    woops I forgot to add I could use some of the nice organizing supplies Staples has for filing, notebooks, and pens!

  • Reply
    Dana Rodriguez
    September 22, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Our small business is a painting company.I am always running low on paper and ink for the printer!

  • Reply
    Cheryl B
    September 22, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Our small business is a hops farms. I would buy computer paper and ink.

  • Reply
    ellen beck
    September 24, 2016 at 12:35 am

    We have 2 businesses. My husband is a carpenter nd I have a hand quilting business. I would get ink for the printer I am always running out!

  • Reply
    Elena
    September 24, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I would buy paper and printer ink for my home office

  • Reply
    michelle tremblett
    September 25, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I have a small at home chocolate business, I would buy pens and paper, lots of pens lol. I am literally always on the hunt for pens and paper 🙂

  • Reply
    Gilly Maddison
    September 28, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Thanks for these tips, for me, the one about letting small things go is the most important to remember. As someone who has extremely dominant right brain function, I find logic and planning quite hard to stick with. I frequently find myself going off on creative tangents that are not productive. That is the hardest part of being self-employed for me – I am not a good time-manager and it is a constant struggle to stay focused on what NEEDS to be done as opposed to what I WANT to do based on my creative urges. I did a test and the result was that I function 85% in the right brain and 15% in the left. Does anyone else have that issue? Thanks again, I will try to keep tip No 4 in sharp focus in future!

  • Reply
    Christina
    October 31, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    You make a great point about the Staples Small Business Hub. There are many tasks you can complete online on your own computer, in your own home office, just as you shared.

  • Reply
    The Seahawk : Time- and Budget- Stretching Tips for the Self-Employed
    March 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    […] “When you are on a tight schedule, having one place where you can go that meets a bulk of your small business needs is extremely useful,” says Melanie Salinas a photographer and the blogger behind “Story of Five.” […]

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