A great number of people find themselves with a desire to earn their living entirely from their own home. It only makes sense, really. For almost everyone, there’s no place more comfortable than a person’s home. What a dream it would be to actually earn a decent living in an Internet based business from home! In the following article I’ll attempt to share some advice regarding something very important that I have learned over the past seventeen years of running my own Internet based business from home.
When I began my first internet based business from home way back in 1997, one of my biggest surprises, and something which you may actually not want to hear, unfortunately, was just how much I was working. I mean, for the first two years of operating my first internet based business from home, a 10-12 hour week-day was a short day for me. Very often, I’d put in 12 to 16 hours on a weekday, and sometimes as much as 20 hours or more! Crazy, huh? For at least those first two years I put in seven day work weeks. I’m serious! I went about two years without taking a single day off — not one. Although, I did try to keep my Saturday and Sundays light — which meant I would do only work that I deemed was absolutely necessary to get done on those days — stuff I thought just couldn’t wait until Monday. This usually meant that I’d put in three to six hours of work on any given Saturday or Sunday.
I was perplexed by this, as, when I was first starting an internet based business from home, I was actually worried about my ability to motivate myself to actually do work in the comfortable and distracting environment of my very own home — what with all of the great potential time-wasters with which I had spent a number of years equipping my lair.
After a while of working such incredibly long hours, I began to get fed-up with it. I didn’t have any where near the amount of free time I wanted. And, relationships with friends and family were seriously beginning to suffer. In fact, I had more than a couple of very good friends at the time whom I still, to this day, seldom ever see or hear from anymore. And, it was due to this period of my life, the unbelievably long working hours involved, and my resulting neglect to my personal relationships that was directly responsible for the drifting apart of myself and these good friends. Once people drift apart in such a way, it’s very difficult to re-establish relationships. Most relationships form organically, without conscious intent. They occur as fortunate accidents of a sort, and they usually dissolve in similar manner — as unfortunate accidents. And, if it does dissolve in such a way, the fortunate accident which brought the relationship together in the first place is not likely to happen again. Successfully rekindling it will take conscious effort and intentional will, and that sort of thing is not very effective at establishing relationships.
As I said earlier, I was perplexed at the amount of hours I found myself working in my Internet based business from home — seeing as how I had originally been very wary of exactly the opposite happening. At the time, I did have an acquaintance who already had a number of years experience in working from home in his own business — albeit not an Internet based one, but a home business none the less. One day, during conversation, I mentioned to him the long hours I was putting in and my perplexity at having found myself doing so, and how it was actually the opposite of what I had feared.
“I don’t want to work such hours,” I said. “But, there always seems to be more work that must get done NOW, and I just can’t tear myself away. If I do force myself to take a break, I find I can’t enjoy anything because my mind is always on the work that I should be doing, and how neglecting it is going to cause a pile-up that I’ll have to deal with later.”
My friend chuckled, and said, “Dusty, there’s two types of people out there: those who shouldn’t work from home because they can’t get stuff done, and those who shouldn’t work from home because they can’t stop getting stuff done. It looks like you’re the second type. The trick is to train yourself so you fall comfortably in the middle of the two. Very few people, if any, can naturally balance work and rest when they’re working from their own home. It’s a skill you have to learn and exercise.
You see, some people have a hard time actually getting their butt in gear when they’re working from home. There’s too many distractions within arms reach. If it’s a nice day out, there’s nothing stopping you from taking a stroll. If there’s something interesting on TV, there’s nothing stopping you from saying ‘oh, I’ll get to that work later, I just don’t want to miss this show.’ And, they soon find that each day, time has gotten away from them and their work is seriously falling behind.
The other type of person is the opposite of this. There’s no pre-designated office break time, lunch hour, or quitting time where everyone gets up and stops working, or heads home for the day. There’s nothing to tell them to stop working, so they don’t. Finishing up that last bit of work that really should get done doesn’t require the person to get into their car and go to the office — instead, it’s right there, in the next room. So, instead of having it nagging at them in the back of their mind, they’ll just go and do the work that’s waiting. Of course, while they’re doing that work, there’s more new work that’s coming down the pike that’ll need to be done as well, and before they know it, they’re dedicating almost every waking moment to working. The funny thing is, those second type of people almost always seem to think they’d be the first type of people until they’re actually in that situation and find out they’re not.”
My friends words were wise ones that, in my own experience, I’ve found to be true. Time management is so very important important when running an internet based business from home, and very few people, if any, have a natural ability for it. It’s something that most people have to learn — a skill they have to develop. When starting an internet based business from home, it’s extremely likely that, after a short while, you’ll become dismayed at either how little work, or how much work, you find yourself engaging in. You’re either a type-1, or type-2 person that my friend described. Neither type is very good.
You might be thinking that being a type-2 person would be of great help in building a home based business to the point of success. It isn’t. Believe me. You might be thinking something like: “Hell! I’d dedicate a few years to non-stop work, make a fortune and THEN ease up and start smelling the roses.” I’m sorry, but it won’t work. The reason being, of course, that almost nobody can keep up that kind of pace. You’ll become burnt out at some point and your business will fail. You must develop the skill of managing your time effectively. In those first two years of running my internet based business from home, I was making very good money — it’s true. But, I can tell you, in complete and total honesty, those were the worst two years of my life — without a doubt. I was earning a heck of a lot of money, and I was absolutely miserable. I was tired and burnt out all the time. I was depressed. At the age of just twenty-eight years old I was hospitalized one day with breathing problems, after a day of putting in 20 straight hours of work — which itself followed a day of putting in about 16 straight hours of work, which followed a similar day, which followed a similar day, and so on. I was treated for exhaustion at the hospital. A twenty-eight year old man in otherwise good physical condition and with no underlying health conditions should not be taken by ambulance to a hospital with acute shortness of breath. It was a miserable time. The money was good, yes, but I was too tired, too burnt out, too unhealthy, too overworked to actually enjoy it. And, even if I hadn’t been each of those things, I really had no available time in which to enjoy it.
We work to earn money so we can better enjoy life, yes? So, what’s the point if you’re earning the money but are doing so in such a way that you’re entirely unable to enjoy life even though you have the money? There isn’t one. No point.
So remember, learning to manage your time is important — and not just so you can get things done, but so you can stop getting things done as well. Too many people go into starting an internet based business from home thinking that they’ll have to learn to manage their time so that they wont fall prey to distraction and end up not working enough in order to build a successful business. That’s important, no doubt. And, the internet is crammed with writings from home business gurus that will give you such advice. But, what’s equally important, if you’re one of those second types of people my friend described, is learning to manage your time so you don’t work too much.