Running an Internet home based business is full of changes and challenges. These challenges alter as your business evolves and your success depends upon your willingness to face up to challenges and your ability to adapt yourself to meet the changing demands of a work at home career. The end of the first year is a good time to look back and measure your success. The beginning of the first year is a good time to look forward and plan to succeed.
Once the decision is made and you have signed up to the online work at home opportunity of your choice, you will need something in the region of three months to learn the ton of new things associated with running your home based business and to put all these things into practice. Three months sounds like a long time but the first three months will fly by: I can promise that from personal experience. The learning phase does not end after three months, it's just that the curve becomes noticeably less steep and you start to feel that you are running your home based business instead of running after it.
The next three months are slightly less intense but you will still be learning new techniques and refining your newfound skills. The three to six months span is often the time you start to see rewards for your work in the form of revenue. It is like a tide turning: after months of watching your cash ebbing away into the distance, tiny waves of profit begin lapping at the shore and, with any luck, the waves will continue to rise and breakers will regularly deposit funds upon the virtual shore of your bank account. Around six months is a generally recognised average time to reach the situation of being in profit but nobody can guarantee the time it will take you to make a profit. Your results will depend upon many things including the amount of time and effort you invest and, to an extent, luck
Reaching the six months milestone is a fair indicator that you have selected the right work at home opportunity for you. If you made the wrong choice in the first place and found no enjoyment in the work at home experience, you would most likely have abandoned your work at home endeavours within the first three months.
This is definitely not the time to relax: this is the time to make a concerted effort to build on what you have learnt. The fact that the cash flow is no longer a one way stream does not mean that you have succeeded, it simply means that you are doing at least some things right. You now need to take a close look at your business, decide what things are working and what aspects need improvement. If something is not working after a decent trial period, stop doing it; if it has not started to work for you yet, chances are it never will. Take the things that are working and do more of them, eg if a particular form of advertising is bringing a good return, increase your budget for that item. If one product is outperforming all others, give it wider exposure and look around for similar or associated products to compliment it.
Whilst continuing to build and learn, now is the time to look at automation and improvements for your home based business. Automation will make processes faster and more efficient. The experience of being in profit will be new and still exciting but, for the profits to multiply, you need at this stage to plough as much as you can afford of them back into the business. Part of the time you gain through automation can be spent on tasks that are not capable of automation that need a personal touch (for example writing press releases or contacting prospective clients by phone). One of the reasons for wanting to be your own boss is to have a better quality of life in place of the 9-5 drudgery working for an unappreciative boss. Freedom and flexibility are available to you when you work at home. Automating parts of your working day can add to the extent of your freedom by reducing the hours you need to spend running your home business and allowing you the flexibility of working the hours you choose.
By the time you get to three quarters of the way through the year, you should have established a routine which, while being flexible, will give structure to your working days so that your home business is run as efficiently as possible. By this stage, you will know exactly what is involved in a work at home career and you will have your favourite tasks and also jobs you would rather leave until another time. If you have a good routine, nothing will get postponed or overlooked and your progress will be smooth. You can start to congratulate yourself and look forward to the big milestone: your first anniversary of being your own boss.
You are unlikely to be rich by the end of the first year of being your own boss but, if you have made it through this twelve month roller coaster ride and can see some cash profits and improvements to your lifestyle, you are on the way to where you want to be. Remember (to echo the sentiment of J P Getty) you wouldn't have even a hope of being rich if you were still working for somebody else. Where would you rather be - working at home online as your own boss with a small profit margin, prospects of bigger profits and freedom or at the same place as last year, taking orders from the boss and earning less than you are worth?
Copyright 2006 Elaine Currie