1. Stay at home!
Working at home (or in your dorm room) is probably one of the best ways to get a ‘bootstrapped’ business up and running. Even with building and land prices as low as they are rent (or a loan payment) for even the smallest office can run anywhere from $350 to $1200 a month! Not to mention the additional insurance, equipment, furniture, utilities, etc. Service based business can easily be run from the home if you can find a good meeting place. If you need a storefront you can still free yourself and your time by trying to mobilize your work. Check out the The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss on this subject.
2. Get your girlfriend a good book to read and shut down World of Warcraft.
Although having the girlfriend around is great, it is important to reduce the amount of distractions. Distractions at home can be even more overbearing than those at the workplace. Make sure that you aren’t playing video games or spending too much time on Facebook during your work-time. If you are living in a dorm-room make sure that your friends and roommates understand when you are working so they don’t host a beer pong tournament during your conference call.
3. Take advantage of working your own schedule.
One great thing about being a work-at-home entrepreneur is that it gives you complete flexibility of time. Take vacations whenever you want or skip work on a Monday. In order to allow for this flexibility you have to be able to make up the work during atypical working hours. Sometimes your most productive work can be at 11PM on a Tuesday night because your clients won’t be calling and emailing you. I personally use the Task list on Outlook to manage the days tasks; this helps tremendously. Despite many people’s opinions on Outlook being a distraction, it can be a great tool if it is used properly.
4. Stream internet radio.
If you can’t work while listening to music then skip this tip. Don’t waste time pulling up iTunes every 4 minutes and 13 seconds to select a new Lady Gaga song. Instead, take advantage of internet radio websites likes Pandora or my personal favorite ShoutCast.
5. Keep organized.
Head to WalMart and invest some money in a filing cabinet, hanging folders, and file folders. Keep your work papers separate from your Physics exams. Use a separate email account for work and for school/personal.
6. Get dual monitors.
With websites like NewEgg.com selling 22” LCD screens for prices as low as $150, invest in a secondary monitor. It can really help increase productivity if you have lots of browsing or emailing going on. Also, invest a few dollars in the program UltraMon so you can get better taskbar management features in Microsoft Windows. On a side note, Ultramon lets you pick separate wallpapers for each display so you can instantly double the amount of wallpaper babes!
Zach Ferres is a full-time student at Ohio Northern University and a passionate young entrepreneur. He is also the owner of Bouncehost IT Solutions, an information technology and comprehensive web development company based in Bellevue, Ohio. Zach is also an active triathlete, collegiate cross-country runner, and weight-trainer. For more information about speaking engagements, coaching, or general questions/comments please visit www.zachferres.com.