The Pitfalls of Running an Ecommerce Business from Home
Small eCommerce businesses are becoming more popular all over the world with the help of large websites such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy allowing you to advertise and sell your stock at a reasonable rate. The scale of such eCommerce businesses leads many people to set up and run their business from home. The benefit of lower overhead costs and greater flexibility are very appealing to some, and work in some cases, but is it always the best Idea to work from home? The positive side is that many people enjoy running their business from home and are successful in doing so; the following points are general negative issues that can arise and may not be applicable to you.
There are many issues of practicality that can arise when running an online store from your home mainly regarding the storing and maneuvering of your stock. First of all there is the issue of where to locate all your stock, especially problematic if you live in a smaller house or you sell large or delicate items. Even if you have a large amount of storage you have to make sure you keep your stock safe from damage both from contact and from mold or mildew damage. Imagine, in the difficult startup phase of your business, having to turn down your one customer for the day because the item they want is damaged. There is also the problem of receiving stock orders. Working at home will result in a greater amount of manual handling of your stock when receiving orders in, again, an issue if your stock is particularly bulky.
There are also the issues of security and utilities to consider. If you are working from home you may find that your security solutions are not tailored to that of a business, hence it is always worth checking with your security provider that you are covered for any potential theft or damage to your stock. You will also have to ensure that your internet connection is fast enough and that your phone line offers diverted calls or even an electronic assistant if need be.
A lack of concentration and a feeling of isolation are primary issues people report when working from home, these often arise from a lack of routine. Having a fixed routine can keep you free of distractions, hence, keep you focused and make your working days shorter and appear to go faster. A solid routine will also make you more motivated and inspired, helping you to foster new ideas and become more ambitious from day to day.
A feeling of isolation plus stress can put a big mental strain on you leading to issues such as burnout or even depression. Having no one to share work related, or other issues with can be unhealthy especially if this is the case every day of the week. Some people can cope with the mental burdens of running a business from home but it takes a large amount of discipline and organisation. If you lack this you may find that your work / life balance becomes a big problem.
Work / Home Issues
68% of home workers cite the blurring of home and work life as the biggest issue facing them. If you can’t literally shut an office door behind you at the end of the day you may be tempted to stretch or shorten your working day even when you can’t afford to. If you are working from home you’re much more likely to say “I’ll leave that until tomorrow” especially if you have many distractions in your office space. Alternatively, you may find that you are taking phone calls or working on the computer till very late some days, this can not only put stress on your working life but also on your social life and the people you have relationships with. You may find that you are ignoring family and friends more often or that you have less time to spend with them in the evening. This goes back to having a lack of routine and your working days becoming longer and less efficient.
You may find that working from home works just fine for you and suits your needs, but the issues raised do affect many home workers around the world. Many eCommerce entrepreneurs are now choosing to work from small warehousing and offices and, more latterly, self-storage facilities. Such facilities often help you to maintain a better work life balance and help you with the practical side of running a business.
This guest post is courtesy of Rob Duckers of My Storage Pod.