Hello friends! Happy Monday, I hope you all had a great weekend! I wanted to share with you a few of the tips that I have learned over the last five years working from home in the direct sales industry. I wrote this post initially over at my Direct Sales blog and knew that a lot of you who also work from home could also benefit from these tips. I have certainly had my fair share of exciting victories along with some very ugly major fails trying to balance my family's needs with my business needs. I hope that by sharing a few of my favorite tips will help you run a more successful at home direct sales business. Balancing a busy family with a direct sales business is one of the biggest challenges I have ever had to take on, but with a lot of perseverance, planning and hard work, you too can achieve success and live a life you love.
- Wake up before the kids. I love getting up early in the morning, this is my time: it's quiet and my phone isn't chiming with endless alerts. My house is cozy and I get so much done. This is also my time to sit down and plan out my to do list for the day without interruption.
- Get a good planner and use it. In order to remember all of my business commitments, children's activities, school schedules and husband's work schedule, I needed a good planner to keep us organized. Every Sunday I set aside an hour to go over my planner for the week, review what we have planned and schedule business activities around my family's schedule. I also created a command center with a white board calendar system in our kitchen so we always had our family's schedule in front of us. My husband loves to glance at our command center calendar every morning to see what we have going on as a family once he comes home from work. It helps to keep us all organized and on schedule.
- Keep an organized to do list. Every morning I prioritize my to do list and write in my planner the top 5 things I would like to get done that day. I focus on those 5 things throughout the day and if I end up checking them all off of my to do list, then it has been a productive day. Anything else after that is considered gravy. Don't try to take on the world and approach each day with a huge to do list. You will be left feeling frustrated and disappointed. Set reasonable expectations for yourself always putting the primary focus and attention on your family. Their needs come first. If you don't end up finishing those 5 things, give yourself some grace and move them to the top of the to do list the next day. One of the hardest things for me as a work from home Mom was that I always wanted to knock out everything on my to do list all in one day. With the distractions of having 2 little ones at home, it just wasn't possible. By focusing on only 5 things, you will end the day feeling a sense of accomplishment and like you didn't ignore your family's needs in the process.
- Create a functional work space. One of my most favorite rooms in our home is my office. I have completely made this space my own by painting the walls my favorite spa blue color and have everything organized to my liking. I am truly the happiest and most productive working at my desk because I know it is the one thing in our home that is mine. I also love to start my day off with a clean desk, be sure to keep your work space clean and decluttered. Each morning I file away necessary paperwork and put items back in their proper place before tacking my to do list. If you don't have a designated room in your house that functions as a home office, find a corner of your home that you can declare as your designated work space.
- Set business hours and stick to them. One of the hardest things I have had to do when working from home was to know when to "clock out" and to finally end my work day. I would work all day long if I allowed myself. I am a natural people pleaser and would find myself answering questions from my team members at all hours of the night. By setting specific business hours and communicating them to your team, you have now set the expectation that you will not be responding to their questions until the next business day.
- Get dressed every day as if you were going into an office. As a former Corporate Accountant, I used to LOVE dressing up every day. Ann Taylor and I were total BFF's. My favorite quote as a career girl was "dress for the job you want, not the job you have". Once I became a stay at home mom, I slowly turned into that yoga pants Mom and barely ever got dressed or did my make up. It just wasn't a priority and some things just had to be sacrificed in order to get everything done. I slowly found that when I did make an extra effort in my appearance, I would also make an extra effort in my business. I became more confident in what I was doing because I felt better about myself. Now with Live Streaming playing such an important part in the direct sales industry, I make it an effort almost every day to do my hair and make up incase the opportunity presents itself to hop on Facebook Live or create a small video.
- Designate a power evening one night a week. I allow myself to stay up late (2-3 hours) one night a week to knock out a few items on my to do list that I can't seem to get done during the day. I also save the tasks such as filming YouTube videos, drafting up team newsletters or writing blog posts that require full concentration and without constant interruptions from the kids. I found that I would accomplish more in one power evening than it would take me in a week due to the constant daily interruptions from my family. I would have to drink an extra cup of coffee the next day, however, it was worth it knowing how much I had accomplished the night before.
- Turn your office into a Post Office. As a Stay At Home Mom of 2 little ones, I dreaded the task of taking them to the Post Office. Standing in that long line and keeping my kids still was like herding cats into a box. My son would stand next to me for about two minutes and then run off while my daughter struck up a conversation with the old lady five people in front of us. I was literally out of breath and red with embarrassment by the time we got back into the car! I was told by one of my team members about this amazing gadget called a Postage Scale and that you never have to go to the Post Office again. Wait, what? Sign me up!!! When I heard about this, I ordered one immediately! And it was everything that I had ever dreamed... I could mail samples, products, and team incentives all from the privacy of my own home. It's like having a Post Office right inside The Direct Sales Mama Headquarters! The mailman and I are now BFF's, he knows to expect a lot of packages from me. And if you have too many to mail out, leave him a note in your mailbox asking him to pick up the remaining packages from your front porch. This has truly been a game changer for me.