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Get a Grip!

5 tips to make your homebased startup journey a smooth one

Starting any business can be difficult, but starting your business from home can be seriously overwhelming. From establishing your business to setting work/life parameters, there's a lot to do and very little time to relax. Carol Anne Carroll, author of Start Your Own Home Business . . . In No Time, provides tips on how to stay sane-and profit, too.

  • Make a plan. "If you have a road map in front of you saying, 'Here's what I want to do in my first year,' that really relieves a lot of the [feeling of being] overwhelmed," says Carroll.
  • Prioritize your tasks. For example, notes Carroll, "You always have things in your house you could work on, but you can't do it all at once. [Likewise,] in business, you have to understand there are a lot of things you want to do, but you don't have to do them all at once." You can't, for instance, go to 20 networking events in one week--you need to narrow it down to the top four or five where you're likely to make the biggest impact.
  • Get an outside perspective. If you're not sure how to prioritize what's most important in your particular business, talk to a few trusted advisors, and find out what others in your industry have done.
  • Don't commit quickly. Before setting appointments and projects, review your current list. Will you have enough time for that event, including the preparation as well as the event itself? Carroll says, "It's a matter of being very aware of what you've already committed to and making sure you meet those commitments, and not adding anything until you've looked at your to-do list."
  • Take it step by step. It may seem like simple advice, but entrepreneurs are often overflowing with ideas on how to grow, move forward, change, etc. Keep your ideas organized, and don't try to do everything at once.

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This article was originally published in the May 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Get a Grip!.

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