Q: What are some qualities an entrepreneur must possess when starting a successful homebased business?
A: With no boss looking over your shoulder and distractions all around you, the only way you'll succeed working at home is to master self-control. The expression "self-discipline" often leads to thoughts about the activities you have to learn not to do. For example, not overeating when the refrigerator is only a few feet away, not watching your favorite soaps all afternoon-unless you plan to work in the evening instead-and not taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon when the slump hits you and that bed starts looking mighty inviting.
Working from home also means learning to work even when you don't want to, and to do work at times that's boring, frustrating and frightening. It's a form of self-discipline I call "start discipline," which is equally essential to mastering the self-control to stop behaviors that interfere with productive work. At times you'll need to force yourself to choose work over fun, a boring task over a more satisfying one, or a sales call that frightens you over one you can make without breaking a sweat. Sometimes when that bed starts looking more tempting, it's not because you're tired, it's because you want to escape from a dreaded task.
Although we think of home as a peaceful place, free from the undesirable interruptions of corporate life, most homebased professionals will tell you the home environment is far more distracting than they expected. Telemarketers call, neighbors drop by, piles of laundry beckon, children demand attention and everywhere you look, there's something else to draw your attention away from your work. Successful work-at-homers master the art of working in short increments of time and putting blinders on when they must keep their fannies in their chair or their attention on their work.
Working from home requires an affinity for isolation. If time alone charges your batteries and leads to productive work, you'll enjoy the respite from constant interaction with people. If you're energized by frequent communication with others, you'll need to find it online with partners or employees, or by leaving the house frequently to visit clients and colleagues. Is working from home lonely or peaceful? Only you can decide.
Lastly, working from home takes courage and self-confidence. Courage to face the demons of handling rejection, living without a steady paycheck, and letting go of the familiar routine of corporate life and watercooler-easy relationships. Self-confidence to enable you to hold your head up with pride when someone asks you what you do and you reply, "I'm a self-employed xyz enjoying the lifestyle benefits of working from home."
If you are reticent to "admit" you work from home, as if there were something to be ashamed of, you probably aren't well-suited for working from home.
Azriela Jaffe is the founder of Anchored Dreams (http://www.isquare.com/crlink.htm) and author of several books, including Honey, I Want to Start my Own Business: A Planning Guide for Couples and Starting from No: Ten Strategies to Overcome Your Fear of Rejection and Succeed in Business.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.