5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Work From Home

5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Work From Home

5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Work From Home

A lot of ecommerce entrepreneurs work from home. The overheads are drastically lower than renting office space, set-up costs are small, and you save a ton of time not having to commute to an office.

There are negatives though. Distractions sneak up on you really quick - playing with the kids, reorganizing the  fridge, watching TV, even cleaning the house has never been so tempting! Here are 5 strategies that will help you work from home more efficiently:

1. Dress as if you're in an office

Crawling out of bed and turning on your computer to start work immediately isn't a good idea. Prepare yourself like you would for a work day at the office. Shower. Have breakfast. Wear something other than your pyjamas. Doing so will help you get into the right mindset you need to concentrate on your work.

2. Set up a dedicated office space

This doesn't necessarily mean having a dedicated room for work. Many of us don't have that luxury of space. Still, it's important to have a desk area with everything you need close by so you don't get distracted while looking for a document you've misplaced among the household bills. Even if it's nothing more than a small desk tucked in a corner, make sure it's a space that's yours. If possible, don't use your work computer for anything other than managing your business. Remember to politely ask your family to let you work too – while you may be at home, you need to get work done without distraction.

3. Listen to Music

It might help to listen to some music while you're working. Pro tip: listening to instrumental music or songs with lyrics you don't understand may help you focus even more. Being able to understand lyrics distracts the language processing part of your brain and divides your attention. Beethoven's 7th Symphony is my personal favorite when I have important work to do.

4. Stay organized

Being super-organized is vital. Try preparing lunch before you start the day. Set specific working hours. If you have your day planned and you know exactly what you need to accomplish in a given day, you'll be able to concentrate on the work that needs to be done. Just remember to schedule some down time too.

5. Know when to call it a day

Remember that retaining focus is not simply about keeping your mind on work. You have to know when to disconnect and spend time with your family, relax and not think about work for a while. Keeping away from work so you can concentrate on the rest of your life will help you focus on the job when it's time to get back to your workspace. We encourage this with all the Shopify jobs as well.


  • Shopaholla E-Commerce
    Shopaholla E-Commerce
    January 10 2012, 09:50AM

    Great advice Mark. From experience the dressing like your going to work and knowing when to call it a day are things I’m always trying to apply!

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    January 10 2012, 12:14PM

    Shopaholla: Thanks!! I’m certainly not an expert at working from home (Shopify has a pretty awesome office), but I was a freelance journalist for 4 years and have spent many a days working from home in my PJ’s. I learnt from my mistakes! :-)

  • Ewin's Dry Goods
    Ewin's Dry Goods
    January 10 2012, 12:16PM

    Reading this from my home office. . .in my pajamas. . .Doh!

  • John McLear
    John McLear
    January 10 2012, 12:30PM

    Top tip #6.. Don’t waste time reading blog posts

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    January 10 2012, 12:32PM

    John: That literally made me laugh out loud. Although I’m obviously quite biased in favor of reading blogs, that certainly does have some truth to it!

  • Kim
    January 10 2012, 12:37PM

    I remain a work in progress on this front, I went from 20 years in a formal workplace to working from home last May. Dont get me wrong, I love my new role but it has been a bigger transition than expected. The tidbits you shared are fantastic. I did a complete overhall of my little corner of the house over the holidays so 2012 was off to a good start but now that I am back in the swing of things, I sometimes feel guilty when I am using my workday to keep my workspace organized, there is a little voice chirping that I am not ‘working’ when sorting out my beloved area …I keep hearing “reply to that emaill, you can sort throught that stuff later”. When in fact I need to get over the guilt and realize it absolutely is a part of making me more productive to be at my best in a well organized and comfortable space so that I am tackling my projects at my optimum. I do work with passion and I work hard so I should trust in myself knowing I am making the most of my day. All the best!

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    January 10 2012, 01:14PM

    Kim: Thanks so much for sharing that – I’m glad you found my tidbits fantastic! I get that voice in the back of my head as well… but it’s easy to ignore if you slot a finite amount of time devoted solely to getting organized. I don’t work from home anymore, but I still give myself 10 minutes before I go home for the day to organize my desk, folders, go through my downloads, order anything I need online (pens, batteries..etc..etc..)

  • Nathanael
    January 10 2012, 01:20PM

    Great tips! As indicated, balance is key.

    Minor correction: First sentence of the second point should say “necessarily” instead of “necessary”.

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    January 10 2012, 01:33PM

    Nathanael: Fixed! Thanks!

  • Marie
    January 10 2012, 03:12PM

    I, too, am reading this while working in my PJ’s – oops. These are all very valid points and I appreciate the reminder. I’m getting ready to re-do/organize my office space so that I can be more productive. Thanks, Mark! :O)

  • @Shopify Mark Hayes
    Mark Hayes
    January 10 2012, 03:28PM

    Marie: My pleasure. Good luck re-organizing your office space! If you come across any good ideas/concepts, let me know! mark . hayes (at) shopify .com

  • Michelle
    January 10 2012, 05:15PM

    Another one here in my PJ’s, back at the desk after playing with the kids! Double oops.

  • Ashley
    January 11 2012, 04:11PM

    You spelled “organize” correctly in your comment but not in the blog itself.

  • Matt Hauth
    Matt Hauth
    January 12 2012, 01:12PM

    Great suggestions. I think I might be an offender of #5 more often than not unfortunately….

  • Luke Etheridge
    Luke Etheridge
    January 12 2012, 04:27PM

    Thanks for this article! Handed in my notice today to focus on running my web design business full-time, and I feel amazing because of it. These are the articles that will keep me focused and on the right track!

  • Andres
    July 13 2012, 11:14PM

    Thank you for this Mark. I will test special with your music, because until now I wasn"t listen instrumental classic during network marketing. I listened and it works only collected “healthy” music, with higher positive code and it works.

    If anybody want some that kind of song let me know and I will send.

  • Dale Tournemille -- www.tournemille.com
    Dale Tournemille -- www.tournemille.com
    July 26 2013, 11:38AM

    If you’re a single parent and have young kids, working from home is considerably easier if you have a Netflix account and Barney all fired up and at the ready. Otherwise, the constant “daddy, computer!” remarks really eat into your productivity.

  • Tiffany Growings
    Tiffany Growings
    July 30 2013, 06:53PM

    Another comment to help you wonderful people work at home. Find a babysitter don’t expect to take care of your children while working. It’s not fair to the kids and not fair to you.

    I really enjoyed this article and I am going to do as advised.

    Thank you!

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