2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006: Named one
of the 101 best Web sites for writers by Writers Digest Magazine.
Losing Your "I" Sight: Goal setting for
women who work at home
"Honey, could you pick up my dry cleaning and stand in line at the DMV and update the registration? I invited the CEO and his wife over for dinner tonight."
"Mom, I told my teacher you'd bake 12 dozen cupcakes or the bake sale today. I also told her you'd wrap them individually."
"Hey sis, you are home all day, could you babysit Susie, Tommy and Chrissy while I go shopping?"
Our responsibilities as wives and mothers and our natural ability to multitask leave many women who run a business from home unfocused and frustrated.
It's not about being able to say "no" to friends and family, which we already struggle with as a gender. It's the ability to say "no" with conviction and the belief that our home business is as important to the family economy as our partners away-from-home jobs. We need to know where we are going and what we need in order to get there. We also need to know what to ask for from our loved ones in order to meet our goals. We get so wrapped up in meeting the needs of everyone else in our lives we lose our "I" sight.
How do you know what to ask for? You need to set specific goals and outline the steps required to meet them.
I've heard from other women in business over and over again that husbands and friends do not respect or value their home business. They are told or it is intimated that their business is merely a hobby. The simple fact is as long as your business is not generating income it is a hobby. So, how do you take your business from hobby to serious money making venture? You need to take your business seriously in order for others to do the same.
6 Steps for Goal Setting
There are many books out there on goal setting and many of them are quite good, but I have to say that the simplest way to set goals is to do the following.
Step 1--Know your vision
What is your business vision? What is the ultimate goal of your business? Vision is a picture of your business years from now. The way you envision your business and it's operations in the future. It is something for you to strive for as a business owner.
Imagine yourself in business 1 year from now, 3 years from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now. You get the picture. Write down exactly what your business will look like for each of those time markers. Will you still be running your business from home? Will you be running your business from a commercial office? Will you have employees? What type of set-up will you have? What is your gross revenue at that point? Are you sharing the wealth by supporting your favorite charity? Yes it's difficult to imagine that far ahead. You need to know where you are going in order to get there. Once your vision is established and written down, put it in a prominent spot in your office to keep you motivated and on focus.
Step 2--Know your mission
The way I explain a business mission to my clients is that it is the steps you are going to take to reach your vision. What steps do you need to take to reach your projected gross revenue in 1 year? How many clients do you need to sell? How do you keep those clients coming back? Will you offer the best customer service? Will your business specialize in a service or product that is unequaled in quality or price? How you get from hobby to full-fledged income generating business is dependent on the establishment of your goals and the steps taken to reach your goals. One without the other is ineffective.
Step 3--Steps to reach your vision
Now that you've determined where your entrepreneurial journey will lead you it's time to plan the steps you will take to get there. These are specific mini-goals. Take for example your goal is to sell 100 units of your product in 90 days. How will you get the word out about your business so you are guaranteed at least one sale per day? I can guarantee you that if you strive for 100 units of product sale and take the steps to reach that goal that you will reach it and exceed it! I've watched it happen over and over again.
Step 4--Respect yourself and your business
This is a tough one because no matter how hard we try we still feel this unmovable lump in our throat when we are faced with the prospect of "selling" our business and ourselves.
If you believe in your product or service it should be apparent with the first word uttered in response to, "So, what do you do?" If your business does not fall in line with your values you will never have the respect that is needed to be successful. If you don't believe in yourself or your products or service, how can I? Run your business ethically and believe in your ability to take it from a simple idea to a highly respected business and you've found the key to success.
Step 5--Put your plan of action on paper and give it to your friends and family
Show your friends and family just how serious you are about your business. Create a plan of action by outlining what you will be doing and how many hours each week you will need to focus on your business. Plan for childcare.
Step 6--Set office hours and stick to them
Barbara Brabec, home-based business guru, once told me that after years of working from dawn to dusk she found that she had to set business hours or risk problems in her marriage. The proximity of our business to our day-to-day lives makes it very easy for us to work at our desks and computers during every free moment. I've found myself sitting here 3 hours after I told my children I'd be off the computer in a few minutes. If you set specific hours, not only is your family much more accepting of the work-at-home situation, you will be much more productive.