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:
1. Psychological : Employees, Finances, Legal, and Operations
2. Emotional: Family, Friends, Change of Personal Routines, Personal Disruptions, Isolation
3. 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.