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Tips to Keep your Home-Based Business From Running your Personal Life.

Having a home-based business can ruin your personal life if you let it. Once people know that you work at home, many of them think you’re automatically “on call” 24 hours a day, and they think it’s OK to call you or insist that you schedule an appointment with them after their working hours or at any time during the weekend.

Here are some tips for keeping your home-based business from invading your personal life:

Schedule personal appointments just like you do business appointments.

If your son plays soccer every Friday afternoon, then block off that time on your calendar – in ink. If a client wants to make a business appointment at that time, simply say, “I’m sorry, I already have an appointment at that time.”

Train your clients up front.

Set parameters. Set the tone of your relationship with them, letting them know that it’s a business relationship. Tell them what days and hours you are available. Instead of being turned off, they’ll respect you for it. Some professionals recommend “introducing” your family by showing clients photos of your family members, and explaining your commitment to spending time with them. Others feel it’s better to keep personal things personal.

Learn how to say “no” in a nice way.

If someone wants to meet with you at a time when you have an “appointment” with your family, you can turn “no” into a positive by offering a couple of alternative times when you will be available.

Don’t put your home address on your business card.

Nothing says your business card needs an address. If a client has to send you something, you can easily give them your address via email or fax.

Use the phone to screen your calls.

Don’t put your home phone number on your business cards. Have a business cell phone instead, and record a greeting that states specific times when you will return calls. Be sure to put all of your clients and other important persons in your phone’s address book. That way, when they call you, their name will be displayed in your phone. If no name is displayed and you don’t want to be disturbed, simply don’t answer; let the call go to your pre-recorded greeting.

Follow the Golden Rule:

If you don’t want people to call you at night or on weekends, then don’t make business calls at night or on weekends yourself.

Occasionally, you’ll run into a client who, despite your best efforts, will still insist that you meet with them or take their phone calls at their beck and call. If you refuse, you might lose their business.

In that case, you’ll have to ask yourself, “is that really the kind of client I want? Is it worth it to retain their business if it ruins my personal life?”

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