Now for the "get real" part of the run-a-business-from-home ground rules: The rules don't always work. An important phone call made during business hours might be returned while you're busy making dinner or helping your child with a homework assignment. Home office expert and author Loriann Hoff Oberlin offers these backup plans for those times when the rules fall apart:
- Have a cordless phone as an extension to your business line. Keep it with you when you're in the house, so if it rings you can answer it easily and walk the call back to your home office. (Some people even attach it to their belts or keep it in their pockets.)
- Have a stash of paper, stickers, crayons and games in your office so the kids can reach for something to keep them busy if a call comes in.
- When all else fails and kid problems cannot be contained, arm yourself with a gracious way of quickly getting off the phone.
Backup strategies for homebased businesses are always important, as even the most clearly defined rules can't always be enforced. But in the final analysis, training your kids to respect your time, space and need for concentration is the surest way to keep them under control when you need to get to work.