Today’s AWAP* question comes from a fellow ChronicBabe, who joins a chorus of voices asking me how I make a go of running a business even though I’m a sicko:

“How do you stay motivated?  I know there are lots of forums for people who are self employed/work from home, and that they have great tips.

“But having a chronic illness adds an extra dimension of complexity to setting up and running your own business.

“So I would really appreciate hearing about your own experiences.”

I’ve got five tips for y’all to consider today, which I think offer a nice little primer for anyone considering working from home:

*AWAP = As Well As Possible

Now it’s your turn:

Do you work from home? Are you considering starting your own business? I would love to hear about your experience! Join the conversation in the comments below, and share your experience.

Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost six hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers.

Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email.

Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches!


(Rough) Transcript:

Babes, I get lots of questions about running a business from my home, because many of you are doing so — or considering doing so — in hopes of better managing your health. And it’s true that running your own business from home affords you more flexibility to handle work and health issues at once.

But working from home is not easier than working anywhere else. It has its pitfalls. I thought today, I’d give you a peek inside my home office, and talk about how to make a home-based business work for YOU.

You need a door. 

If you think you can run a business from your dining room table, good luck. Mine is often taken over by crafts, and meals. And while I have a chilled-out, supportive partner who doesn’t mind if the table gets crowded, I think he would not love if I were working there all the time.

You need a separate space that’s just for your work. I’m lucky that we can work work out a shared office arrangement, and I keep my space organized, because clutter makes my head explode.

I love that I get to have my own space! But sometimes I’m bummed that I have to buy all the ergonomic stuff I need to make my desk healthy. That’s something to keep in mind when planning a home business.

You need discipline.

Some folks email to ask what motivates me to run my business, and some days, my answer is fear. When the bills stack up — health, home, business, whatever — if I don’t have enough dough to pay, that’s scary. So unfortunately, it can be pretty stressful and scary to run your own business. You have no one to blame but yourself.

I run a pretty tight ship here at ChronicBabe HQ. I have an employee manual, with policies on vacation time and work time and sick days. That might seem silly, but I LOVE it. It keeps me honest.

And I have a big network of friends and colleagues I touch base with frequently to make sure I’m accountable for folks for getting things done.

And you need boundaries. You’ve absolutely, positively got to turn off your email, phone, internet, shut the office door, whatever it takes to get downtime at night or on weekends. DO IT.

You need creativity.

Some days, you’ll feel terrible and have to work anyway. Those days suck! But get creative. When I feel terrible, I sometimes work from my bed, or from the couch, or from the floor, or my sunroom. I mix it up. I work in 15-minute bursts, and then take 5 minutes of downtime. I schedule a mid-day nap. I get creative and make my work day work for me.

For the most part, my clients are fine with that. Unfortunately, some aren’t — they want me on-call all the time — and those clients, once I spot them, I either re-train them using boundaries, or I politely fire them and refer them to a colleague I know can handle their approach.

It also takes creativity to think about running a business when you’re sick because there will be things you just can’t do at all. You’ll need to find people to outsource to, or find other solutions, and that requires you to do some mental heavy lifting, babe.

You need to do your homework.

When I started as a freelance writer, people said, “All you need is a phone and a computer and you’re all set!” That turned out to be BS. I needed business cards, stationery, a fax line, a fax machine, a scanner, a nice printer, a desk, a chair, tons of office supplies, an ergonomic headset, business insurance, software, hardware… starting a business requires capital, and research. You’ve got to be prepared to do your homework.

I worked for six months at a full-time gig as I planned my own business launch on the side — six months! — and while some folks said I was nuts, I had a client my first day. So I firmly believe in doing your homework.

You need passion.

The last thing: Passion. If you’re not in love with your work, you will resent it on the hardest days. You’ve got to be hugely passionate about something to spend all day doing it. If you choose a career path and a home-based business because it seems easy, you will not be a huge success — sorry. If you choose a home-based business or career because you believe in the product or service you’re selling, then that passion will carry you through the worst days. That passion will keep you working even if you have to be in bed while you do it. That passion will make you a success, no matter how big a sicko you are.