13/07/2010

By Farnaz Khan

Farnaz Khan is living proof that working mums really can have it all.

The 30 year old entrepreneur and mother of four launched her own home-based digital marketing business in 2006 and expects turnover to exceed £300,000 this year.

Her business achievements are all the more remarkable considering she juggles working from home with caring for her young children — two of whom have had to overcome worrying health problems.

Her hard work was rewarded when she scooped the Yorkshire Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 award and was also a finalist in the Asian Women of Achievements Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 & also Asian Business Development Network Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010.

Her success came after she built an innovative free to use competition website www.PrizeBoom.com to generate fresh leads for advertisers. The site is now one of the UK’s leading free competition sites with more than a million users — a figure set to double in the next 12 months.

Here Farnaz gives her ten top tips on how to make working from home work for you:

1. It’s really important to find a space in your home solely from work. Whilst it’s nice to be near the kids you need an area where you can fully focus on your business.

2. Make sure you are accessible through reliable communication channels. Simple things like having a good mobile phone signal and fast, reliable broadband connection make a big difference in how effectively you can work.

3. Insure all of your equipment and make sure you back up regularly. You don’t want a domestic disaster wiping all of your work. One great solution is to use online file sharing sites, that way your work is always available even if your equipment isn’t.

4. Always have a back up plan in case of a technical failure. If you can’t work from home for whatever reason, find somewhere nearby you can access wifi and keep working.

5. Find a virtual office space. This is where your office address is different to where you actually work and is great for giving your company a professional image. They’ll handle your calls and make your company seem much bigger, making it more likely prospective customers will trust you.

As it’s a virtual office you won’t have to pay big overheads either making it a great option for start-ups.

6. Never under any circumstances take your phone with you to the loo, it’s awkward and people can tell. Similarly don’t eat on the phone, it sounds unprofessional and gives off the impression that you don’t care about the caller.

7. Plan, review and plan again. I have four children so remembering the details of their lives as well as of my business can be tricky. Make lists, review them regularly and start a fresh one each day so you never lose track of where you are with tasks.

8. Take regular breaks. It might be tempting to lock yourself away for hours on end to get through a big pile of work but it isn’t productive. Make time to clear your head even if it’s just a trip to the kitchen to make yourself a drink. I always find a few minutes in the garden helps freshen me up.

9. This may seem obvious but wear clothes. Working from home, everyday can be a dress down Friday, but it’s important to dress in a way that you feel most productive. Whilst a trouser suit might not be practical if you have young children, you won’t perform at your best in pyjamas, find a happy compromise.

10. Successfully managing a company and looking after your children might leave you feeling like superwoman but don’t try and do everything all at once. Consider outsourcing areas in which you are weak to leave you with the time to focus on the things you’re best at.


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