Working from home and being the boss of your own home based business is a dream come true for me and a path that many others either have or would like to follow. It’s a great feeling and a very rewarding experience in more ways than just financially.
However, not everything is easy and just falls into place when working your own home business. One of the aspects that I struggled with and still have to work on daily is maintaining a balanced budget.
I always thought if I could just work within the restraints of my available money I was good to go. I soon learned (pretty much the hard way) through trial and error and success and FAILURE that creating a working budget means much more than just keeping track of your money.
I found that there are actually 3 things you need to keep track of during your day to day work schedule. Money, Effort and Time are all very important commodities you have at your disposal each and every day. Each one plays an important role and neglecting any one or all of them is quite often the difference between having a successful business, just surviving (you know the feeling, hanging on by a thread) and that dreaded word – failure.
I wrote this article to try and help others avoid some of the mistakes I have made. To me one of the great parts of working in Network Marketing and really any home business is the amount of sharing and help available from the people who truly follow this business plan.
So read on and learn there is a lot more than just watching your money when budgeting for your network marketing business. To be successful in MLM, or really any home business, you need to not only budget your money but also your effort and your time. Tracking how you do things and the results you achieve can help you to improve your management of all three aspects (money, effort and time) until you find the formula that works for you and your business. Teach yourself to breed success and avoid the waste that so many who start a home business get caught up in.
Budget planning is not usually a topic that comes up when you are starting your network marketing business. Business planning altogether is not at the top of the list when you are being recruited or you ‘discover’ your network marketing company that will make you your millions. But once the dust settles and the initial ‘fire’ burns out, are you ready to do whatever it takes to become successful?
Budgeting your money, working to your maximum effort and effective time management are all skills that are needed to be a success but are not skills we are born with. Procrastination and the lack of a boss and a deadline are real killers when you become your own boss.
Have you ever found yourself checking your email even though you just checked it 10 minutes before? Or maybe you are reading about the next great plan that will take your network marketing business to the next level. I mean who doesn’t want to double or triple their income just by writing a better title to their email. But honestly if you just started out and you don’t have a list to send that email to then how are you going to double your money? These programs I am sure work fine, but take a look at where you are and what you have. Where can you really spend your time effort and money more effectively in order to build your business?
I know you probably do these things because I have (and to be honest) and I still do unless I stay focused. To help myself I created a little acronym – M.E.T. It stands for Money, Effort and Time. I ask myself, “Have your MET your needs and your budget TODAY?” before I stray down the path of easy dreams.
Let’s look at all three parts more closely. M or Money is the part that everyone thinks about when you say balancing a budget or budget basics. It really is important, but it can actually be the simplest of the three to manage. First, you need to decide how much you really have to spend on your business each month. Maybe its $100 or maybe $200; It’s different for everyone and its OK if it can only be $20. Once you determine this you must decide what is important to your business RIGHT NOW! If you just started maybe you need business cards or you need a few office supplies. If you have been working awhile maybe you want to invest in an email autorespond system or purchase some leads or buy some promotional material. It all depends on your goals and where your business is along the path. But once you set your budget for money stick to it. Decide what is really needed for where you are. You don’t have to purchase every great sounding product or have all the bells and whistles. Get yourself established and then use some of that new income to help you get more and more of your needs.
Next we have E of Effort. Really it is even better to call it Effective Effort. Many of us spend lots of time in front of the computer or staring at the phone and say we are at work. But how much effort is really being put in and is it at all effective. Maybe you have two hours to work today. One about 7 pm right after dinner and another around 10 pm after the kids are in bed. Well if we decide to spend 30 minutes reading a training manual and then 15 minutes responding to email and 15 minutes working on writing an article we have put in some great effort. These are all things that Network Marketers need to do. But if we did all this at 7 and then we saw we needed to call a new prospect or call one of our new team members and we are sitting down at 10 pm to do this we have wasted our time. It’s too late to make our phone calls. So even though we were very good at making our list and getting our work done we didn’t do it in an effective way so we wasted some of our time. And I haven’t even mentioned that most people (me being very guilty) get sidetracked by the cool YouTube Video or the interesting email or the great salespitch. Focus is critical to Effort and making your efforts effective.
This takes us to T for Time. I have saved this for last because that is where it fit the acronym, but even more importantly because it is what I consider to be your most important commodity. Money we can work around and even earn more. Effort can be relearned or refocused and therefore improved upon, but TIME is a here just once. The hour I wasted or didn’t take advantage of today can’t be replaced. It is GONE. Time is precious and critical to everything you do and want to do. So take a hard look at your time and how you want to spend it and how you actually spend it. You can’t earn it back. I started this home business as a way to spend more time with my family and doing the things I love so for me budgeting out this block of time came first. I also (like most Network Marketers) started my home business while still working my 9 to 5 job. So once I took out these blocks of time I could make a realistic budget of how much time I could spend on my Home Business. Again, this is different for everyone. So don’t go by what someone else did, do what’s right for you.
Next, look back at all 3 areas and BE REALISTIC. Are you really going to work the business at 9 on Saturday night? Do you really have an extra $250 dollars EVERY month? Will you be able to focus and put in 100% effort at 5 o’clock when the kids are hungry and dinner needs made?
To get a true evaluation of what you have to spend with money and time and how much effort you can really put out, start tracking what you do. Look around at successful businesses. You can bet they track things. Do you think they spend a million dollars on a Superbowl commercial and then not track to see if they are making a profit? What is the Return on Investment (ROI)? You can do the same. Create a tracking sheet to keep track of when you work on your business or when you have down time you could. Keep track of where your money goes and if you have any extra to invest in your success. Keep track of what you get done in the time you do spend working.
Tracking not only will help you make a realistic balanced budget but will help you to focus and use the resources you have more effectively. Effective effort rears its head once again. See how it all keeps tying itself together in a big circle.
Time to get started. Don’t waste anymore of your money, effort or time. Work on setting your goals and then using your budget balancing basics to create a balanced budget. Stay focused and realize success does not come overnight but it does come in little packages if you just have fun and enjoy what you are doing. That’s the whole reason we want this home business in the first place – Remember?
Success in this business is not defined by speed. It is OK to take a little longer than the guy you read about online. In all honesty it takes 2 to 5 years for most Network Marketers to reach what they consider a successful level of business. Of course the more you have MET your budget and the bigger the budget is can speed things up. More Money, more Effective Effort and of course more Time can all get you to your goal quicker. But before you give up, look at where you are now. Are you happy with what you have or where you are headed? Are you willing to spend the extra Money, Effort and Time required to achieve the life you dream about, the life you deserve.
Have you MET your goals? Avoid waste and start breeding success. Budget planning for your Money, Effort and Time is the best way to create success. Stay focused and remember to keep all 3 aspects in mind during your daily routine.
Think about it!