SCORE Tip of the Week: How to Stay Motivated When You Work From Home

SCORE's CEO, Kenneth R. Yancey, gives advice for maintaining motivation and focus in your home office.

Running your small business from home has many benefits—from saving money to saving time to never having to wear a suit and tie. But for many entrepreneurs, working from home also leads to some serious motivational challenges. With everything from the refrigerator to the TV to your next-door neighbors tempting you to goof off, how can you get motivated and focus on your business? Try these tips.

  1. Set boundaries. Do well-intentioned friends or family drop by to chat or call you at all hours because you’re at home? Set regular business hours and gently but firmly let people know you’re not available at those times because you’re working. It may take some repetition, but eventually they’ll get the message.
  2. Get out of the office. Ironically, leaving the home office once in awhile can make you more motivated when you’re there. If you’re sick of staring at the same four walls, setting aside time to run errands, exercise or meet a friend or client for lunch will give you a much-needed change of scenery.
  3. Make connections. The isolation of working from home saps the motivation of many small business owners. Make it a point to regularly network with other business owners, not just online but offline as well. Attend conferences and events for your industry and for home-based business owners. You’ll get inspired and energized—and maybe even land some new business.
  4. Reward yourself. Making your home office a happy place to be will make you feel better about the long hours you put in. Decorate your office any way you want, but make sure it’s comfortable and ergonomic. Give yourself rewards like an afternoon off to play golf, or a latte after you finish that big proposal. Figure out what motivates you—and do it.