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A whole lot of people are pretty deeply dissatisfied with their day jobs and spend a lot of time dreaming about getting into the life of an entrepreneur and working from home.
By all means, it’s pretty likely that you, yourself, either feel this way or have at least felt this way from time to time.
The idea of working from home would have seemed completely unrealistic and unattainable to just about everyone, before the meteoric rise of the Internet, and the related technologies and tools that have allowed for remote working to be a legitimate and mainstream way of doing things.
But, there is a problem that a lot of people just don’t see coming. That is – once they finally do manage to quit their day jobs and set themselves up as home-based entrepreneurs, they find that they struggle to take themselves seriously, to maintain an effective working schedule, and to actually remain properly focused and motivated.
Self-belief is a major factor in how well you can expect to perform as an entrepreneur who works from home. Here are a few suggestions on how to take yourself seriously as an entrepreneur.
Take your image management seriously
It’s a tale as old as time… Kind of. Someone quits their day job and embarks on the path of the home-based freelance worker, or general-purpose entrepreneur. Overwhelmed with the degree of freedom they suddenly find themselves with, these motivated professionals then set about working at completely irregular hours, or wearing their pyjamas at all times day and night.
This is understandable but is also a really terrible idea. Just because you are working at home does not mean you do not have to keep some kind of structural standard in place for your own presentation and time management.
The thing is, when you manage and structure your professional image, you’re not just doing it for the sake of your boss, or your prospective clients. You’re also doing it, to a surprisingly large degree, in order to send the right signals to yourself, and to stay in the right headspace.
The first step to taking yourself seriously as an entrepreneur, is to take your image management seriously. Among other things, that means waking up every morning and actually putting on some “professional” clothes, rather than lounging around in your pyjamas until 5 PM.
There are other components to image management, too. For example, you could look into the benefits of a registered office address service, and print up some business cards in order to really drive home the fact that you are a real-life professional at what you do, and not just someone who is sitting at home and playing games.
Hold yourself to a disciplined schedule – no casual slacking off
As alluded to in the previous point in this article, allowing yourself to become undisciplined when you begin working from home, is a deeply unwise and unfortunate idea.
A lot of the reason why people fantasise about working from home in the first place, is that they love the idea of setting their own hours, and not being beholden to someone else’s schedule (at least not in such a strict way.)
That’s fine, and sure, you should take advantage of your newfound freedom in order to structure your schedule in a way that serves your lifestyle as well as possible.
But that’s by no means the same as saying that you don’t have to have a schedule at all, and should just feel free to work whenever the urge takes you.
In order to remain productive, and to feel like they’re actually “serious,” “professional,” and all that other good stuff, people need to adhere to certain structures and be embedded in certain frameworks.
Write out a daily schedule and to-do list for yourself, and do what you can to actually stick to it properly. Wake up and go to sleep at set times on each working day, begin and end work at set times on each working day, and try to take breaks and have meals at set times on each working day.
This doesn’t only help you to feel that you’re living in a productive and focused manner, it also helps to instil positive working habits, and fast track you into the kind of productive “flow” state that yields maximum efficiency and motivation.
Take steps to introduce external accountability checks and measures
If no one on earth knows that you’ve begun to work from home as an entrepreneur, and if there are no external accountability measures in place, you shouldn’t really be surprised to realise that you find it difficult to consider yourself a “proper professional.”
One thing that can help a great deal to get you to take yourself more seriously, is simply to introduce external accountability checks and measures into your working framework.
In practice this could mean telling friends and relatives about what it is you’re doing, and arranging for them to regularly “check-in” with you, to see how you’re doing.
Or, it could mean using a service such as StickK or BeeMinder to actually put your money on the line and bind yourself to certain “accountability contracts.”
Organise and tidy up your home
This may seem like a slightly odd or unrelated point, but tidying up your home is actually one of the best things you can do in order to increase your self-belief, as a home-based remote worker.
To put it simply – when your home is your office, any excessive mess or clutter not only interferes with your ability to relax on the weekends, but also interferes with your ability to feel in control of yourself in your professional life.
Follow a focused campaign of decluttering, and get things nice, tidy, and organised. You may be amazed by what an impact this has on your sense of self-belief.