Owning your own home-based business is by and large a very rewarding, exciting endeavor. You can set your own schedule, and be where you want, when you want. You can oftentimes forego the commute to a "regular job" and save money on gas and other "niceties" that are expensive in the work-a-day world, such as lunches, parking fees, etc.
There are unexpected pitfalls and disadvantages, though, in the owning and operating of a home-based business. Some are psychological, some are emotional, and others are purely physical. The unexpected stresses of a home-based business are really one of the major obstacles that need to be overcome by business owners. Many new business owners are unprepared for just how much stress is involved, actually.
Home-based business stresses usually fall into three overall categories:
- Psychological : Employees, Finances, Legal, and Operations
- Emotional: Family, Friends, Change of Personal Routines, Personal Disruptions, Isolation
- Physical: Sedentary Lifestyle, Poor Eating Habits, Overwork
Many business owners, in order to prevent the psychological stress will have plans in place for dealing with these particular stress factors, prior to their occurrence. This is a proactive approach that is infinitely better than having a reactive approach to these occurrences.
Each business owner should have a financial plan in place for the times when orders or clients are few and far between (slow times), as well as a good accountant to call when necessary. Each business owner should also have a lawyer who they trust and can turn to for advice if necessary (we do live in a very litigious society). And each business owner should have a plan for sickness among employees and hiring and firing protocols firmly in place. Machinery and replacement of business supplies should also be well planned in advance, and purchased according to well laid out plans for expenditures.
Leadership skills will need to be developed, as a new business owner who is used to being part of a team, will find working alone and "being in charge" a somewhat difficult transition at first. Books on leadership skills abound and it is a good idea to do readings on the development of these to proactively avoid the psychological stress that comes with this change in roles. Working alone and making decisions alone is quite different from the conformity and decisions made within a group.
If a proactive approach is taken, the psychological stresses of a new business can easily be prevented, or at least lessened.
The emotional stresses of a home-based business are usually a bit more difficult to ascertain and tackle when they occur. Some of these stress factors can come directly from well-meaning family and friends, unfortunately, and the approach is of course, much different. Since a home-based business is directly tied usually to the home life of an individual, there is less chance to escape these stresses, than with a traditional method of employment. A new birth in a family, a death of a loved one, illness, or simply a change of schedule of another family member, can greatly impact the daily workings and routine of a home-based business.
In addition, family and friends may view the business owner as "being at their disposal" all day now, as the business owner is now "home" much of the time. These well meaning individuals may call or visit all the time, and also expect the business owner to take care of their needs before the needs of the business. This is simple human nature, but is very distracting for the business owner. The only way this can be successfully overcome is to make plans well ahead of time for any changes in routine, if possible, and adjust the schedule accordingly as the changes occur. Well meaning family and friends need to be told with certainty that there are "business hours" and "personal hours" and a business owner needs to remain firm in their resolve in regard to these issues.
Stressing over emotional stress will just escalate an already stressful situation.
Another unexpected emotional stress comes many times from the feeling of isolation and loneliness that business owners may experience. Business owners many times are unprepared for the time they now find they spend alone within the parameters of their home-based businesses. A home-based business owner, while relieved to leave the workforce, sometimes does not realize that the workforce provided social opportunities that are now missing from their lives. Many hours may be spent alone each day, which can lead to loneliness and even depression in some cases.
The best approach to combating this type of isolation is to actively plan social opportunities. Planned outings with family and friends should be made regularly. Business owners may also join community groups that expose them to other business owners or others within the community. The local Chamber of Commerce and other volunteer groups are a great way to make connections for the business and also enhance the social experiences of business owners. No one can exist in a void, so the social aspects of a business can't be ignored.
Finally, owning and operating your own home-based business brings with it some purely physical stresses. Like most office jobs, a home-based business can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, as owners may spend most of their days in the running of the business, either slumped in an office chair, or hunched over a computer, depending upon the requirements of the business. Because of the long hours involved in any business, business owners may also eat "on the run", grabbing whatever is at their disposal, rather than planning meals, which compromises their nutrition. The sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits can lead to weight gain and other physical ailments associated with poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles: high cholesterol, lack of energy, loss of muscle tone, and a deficiency of vitamin D from being indoors more than usual.
The sedentary lifestyle is the easiest however, of the stresses to avoid or to change. All it takes is a dedication to an exercise routine that includes some form of daily physical exercise, and an adherence to a diet that is well planned and nutritious. Just some planning is needed and some will power in order to stay focused on achieving physical activity daily and good nutrition. It would be beneficial, if at all possible, to join a gym or health club, as the physical and emotional stresses can be avoided by belonging to one, as a gym also provides social opportunities. Even a simple walk each day can increase exercise, exposure to sunlight, and create social opportunities.
A tendency to do too much each day, is a syndrome many business owners fall prey to also. Overwork can leave anyone run down, and open to many diseases as the immune system becomes compromised. A business owner is of course, very excited and energetic about the business, which can lead into this syndrome of overwork. A schedule should be maintained to combat this syndrome, with set hours for "doing business" and set hours for "relaxation" included in each day. Trying to do too much all the time just leads business owners into a decrease of productivity, rather than an increase of productivity.
As you can see, having a home-based business, while very rewarding in many ways, can have many deleterious effects on the physical, mental and emotional states of business owners. Many business owners fail to plan for these changes, and yet, if planning is done, the negative effects can be minimized to a great degree.
If a business owner takes care of themselves and their own needs, overall, the business will also profit from this positive behavior! A happy, healthy business owner means a happy, healthy business!
Vishal P. Rao is the owner of http://www.home-based-business-opportunities.com - One of Internet's leading website dedicated to starting, managing and marketing a home based business.