Networking: Section 10 - Doing Business from Home
It just took over the house
In the Oct/Nov ’92 issue of Sunshine Horizons, Beverly Lewis tells about “one couple so committed to this business they’ve literally turned their entire house into a miniature university. As I walked through their kitchen during a visit one day, I saw a Nature’s Spring [company brand of water filter] on the counter. The kitchen table was loaded with company products and literature. Each of the rooms was filled with educational books and other related paraphernalia. After touring their home and noticing no bedroom, I couldn’t help ask them where they sleep! Their level of enthusiasm amazes me, and it’s just one example. There are thousands of others.”
Each person must decide how they want to deal with this problem as it happens. You can set firm limits, throttle the business to keep it from growing further, move, add room or open a store. Your choice should meet your needs for room, privacy, location and potential for further expansion.
“Blessed is he who has found his work. Let him ask no other blessing.”
— Thomas Carlyle
“Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.”
— Mr. Spock
When there’s nowhere to hide
Sometimes you just need to wash dishes, read a book or shave your legs. If your business is in your house, people will drop by at unpredictable times. When the business is small, that might not be such a problem. In fact, being available to care and share at odd hours may be a valuable service that distinguishes you from less-popular competitors. But, setting limits may save your sanity.
Setting (and enforcing) business hours
One way to manage the demands on your time is to post the hours that you are open and then stick to them. It’s not always easy to be firm when a friend with a need (but poor planning skills) knows that you must be in the house somewhere – and you forgot to lock the back door. It’s usually not that bad. Most people will respect your need to have an orderly life with some time set aside for sleep or whimpering in a corner.
Less TV, more real life
Soap operas, reruns and especially the hot new shows can sap your time and attention. TV can be entertaining, but building a new business can be a lot more fun. Instead of watching other people do things and listening to other people laugh, you can enjoy the real thing.
“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
“Television watching takes up more time than any other activity our society engages in.”
— Scientific Australian
“The whole day stretches before us with unlimited opportunity! And what better way to appreciate that opportunity than by squandering it watching cartoons all day!”
— Calvin, Weirdos from Another Planet, Bill Watterson
Bottles behind the bushes
As much as you would like to spend all your time waiting for people to show up to pick up their products, there are some other things that need to be done from time to time.
I solved the problem by telling customers how much their check should be and then leaving their products, invoice and an envelope in a dry spot on the porch. They picked up their herbs, put their check in the envelope and shoved it through a crack in the garage door. It worked like a charm.
One loyal customer was a real estate agent who couldn’t spare the time during the day and liked to drop by after 10:30 p.m. Bottles behind the bushes made us both very happy. She got her herbs and we got our sleep.
Don’t forget your family
Take time to be with your family. A new business can be demanding but it doesn’t deserve your total attention. You probably started the business to help your family with their health or finances. Trading your income for your time, attention and love makes a lousy exchange.
Be kind to your family. Don’t let your anxiety or frustrations with business matters carry over to your spouse and children; you will need their support and good will at times like these.
When you set a goal, take the wishes and circumstances of your family into consideration. Don’t leave them behind. In fact, it’s a good idea to involve your family in planning and decision making. They will often think of things you might have overlooked. Their input can be invaluable.
Your family may even enjoy participating in the business. Because “opposites attract” it’s likely that your spouse has qualities that will complement yours. Split up the responsibilities in a way that makes the best use of individual talents. Very few people have achieved business success without the support of their family.
When you outgrow the house
After a while, the business may be just too big to keep on running from your house. My sponsors kept on cannibalizing their home until they had to move out and buy the house next door to live in.
I lived in a sub-division with deed restrictions. Once I moved all the herbs to a store, I could finally relax about not offending my neighbors with the growing traffic.
Actually, zoning ordinances can be a blessing in disguise. A past “Manager of the Year” team admits that they took a leap of faith and opened a store even though they weren’t financially ready to move. Once all their eggs were in one basket, they just had to succeed.
About the time you have developed five to ten managers, you will be faced with a decision about your retail sales. Do you deliberately cut back and send people to your successline, or do you make a separate place for the business? This is a very individual question and no other person’s decision will be exactly right for you.
How does your approach to business fit with your house? Do you prefer giving home demonstrations? Do you need more privacy, more room or a better location? This is one of those major forks in the road. Meditate carefully on your choice; it can have permanent effects.
For instance, the advice I give these days is to avoid opening a store (or taking on anything else that requires a serious investment in equipment or training). Network businesses work best when they are easily replicatable.
You should throw yourself into recruiting and educating others about the products and business opportunity.. Focus on modeling the behaviors that you want to see in the people you sponsor. Your recruits will do the same and your organization will prosper.