11 Challenging Obstacles When Starting & Running a Home Business

… and how to overcome them

If you want to start a home-based business, but you’re worried that it might be too hard and difficult to run, then let me show you what will likely be the most challenging obstacles you will face.

Is running a business hard? Woman at desk looking puzzled with book and laptop.

I know this is subjective, as one problem or obstacle for one person might not be the same for another. But at least you will get a basic idea of the most pressing challenges that most small business owners encounter.

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I’m talking from 25+ years of experience running over a dozen home-based businesses, both offline and online, and these are my top 11 challenges when running a small business from home.

1. Finding Your Business Idea

When you’re very first starting on your home business journey, you need to find a business idea.

And from my experience (remember, I’ve started and run over a dozen home businesses) finding a business idea is no mean feat.

A LOT of research goes into finding the perfect home business idea which is suited to you, and to help reach your goals.

In fact, I’ve witnessed a lot of women who have given up on their home business dream, simply because they got bogged down with the research of finding a business idea.

This is a whole subject in itself, of which I’ve written various blog posts already, but what I want you to be aware of now, even if you think you’ve chosen your perfect business idea, is that have you take into consideration:

  • That it is profitable enough to help you reach your financial goals.
  • Will you enjoy running this business on a day-to-day basis? and
  • Will it lead you to the lifestyle that you want to live soon?

These points are really important because there are a few home businesses that I started and soon realized that I hated doing them and they weren’t going to be profitable enough for me.

So make sure you do your homework and find the right business idea for you.

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2. Knowing Your Customer Avatar

When you’ve found your business idea, the next step is to really know and understand your customer avatar.

A customer avatar is a specific person who would be very interested in purchasing your product or service because it will help solve a specific problem for them.

We’ll get onto solving a problem in the next step but for now, you need to do a lot of research on who exactly you will be targeting with your marketing.

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So identify who your target market is, and who will be the exact group of people within your target market (your customer avatar) who you want to sell to.

3.  Finding a Problem To Solve

When you know your target market, and more importantly, your specific customer avatar, you then need to hone in even deeper and find a very specific problem you can help solve for her.

Your customer avatar might have several problems around the same area, so in your research, you need to find ONE specific problem she is experiencing the most.

This can be challenging for you to find out, so again, you need to do a lot of research to find this one specific problem, but also to make sure that you can solve this problem for her with a product or a service.

When you can solve a specific problem for your customer avatar, then you don’t need to do any selling.

Your ‘selling’ comes simply by offering the solution to her problem – your product or service!

4. Knowing How To Solve That Problem

So you know who your customer avatar is.

You know her most pressing problem.

You know how to solve this problem with your experience and knowledge of this subject.

Now you need to know how you are going to package up the solution.

What I mean by this is are you going to offer a product or a service?

If offering a product, what type of product?

  • An eBook?
  • A course?
  • Printables?
  • A physical product?

What service or product would best suit your customer avatar’s learning ability?

When you do your research on your customer avatar, make sure you look into what type of information she consumes the most.

A simple ebook is most times the best type of product to sell to solve a problem because the consumer can read it at their leisure and keep referring back to it also, ebooks are very cost-effective to produce and purchase.

Do you see that most of your home business challenges can be solved in the initial set-up of your business by carrying out thorough research?

When you do this initial research, it will eradicate most of the obstacles you could be faced with in the future.

This, in turn, will make your life as a small home business owner much less hard because you’ve already paved the path to success!

Related Reading: How To Create a Winning Business Plan

5. Knowing How to Market Your Business

I think that this is the biggest hurdle for most small business owners – how to do marketing to make sales.

As I’ve mentioned above, you don’t need to do any selling as such, because your product/service will automatically sell when your customer avatar sees that you can solve her problem.

So what you need to do now, is to find out where she hangs out, and then get in front of her with your marketing message.

It really is as simple as that.

  • If she hangs out on Instagram the most, get on Instagram.
  • If she hangs out on Pinterest, create an account and upload pins daily.
  • If she is offline, post leaflets through her letter box.

With some creative thinking, there’s always a way to get your message in front of your customer avatar.

Related Reading: Create an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

6. Learning & Understanding Tech

This is a big obstacle at first when you start an online business.

Learning tech can be very hard for some people, and it is a steep learning curve for most new online business owners.

However, because there is so much free information online now, it is very easy to learn the technical elements of your chosen online business.

Of course, you can always invest in yourself and your business, and purchase a course to help you move forward faster.

Either way, choose your online business idea and stay focused on that one business idea until you get it off the ground.

I’m not a very tech person, so I don’t write about the technical side of running an online business, but I have written a blog post on Understanding The Technical Elements of Email Marketing.

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7. Working With Difficult Clients

Working with clients can be hard and challenging, there’s no doubt about it.

I would say that the majority of small businesses are service-based, meaning that you have to build a portfolio of clients.

Whilst you will likely have a nearly full roster of lovely, happy clients, you always get one or two that throw a spanner in the works.

Customers Aren’t Always Right!

There are a variety of ways you can deal with difficult clients, which would be a whole blog post in itself (of which I will write soon), but just know for now that you don’t have to keep putting up with difficult clients and pander to their every need.

In fact, the majority of service providers I see in women-based business Facebook groups are that they quickly get rid of difficult clients.

Keeping difficult clients is not good for your business, but most importantly, they are not good for your sanity and mental health!

Know your worth and fill up your roster with clients who appreciate and respect you, just as much as you appreciate and respect them.

8. Multi-Tasking

There’s no doubt about it, running a small business from home has many different elements to it and therefore, you will have to wear many hats.

Multi-tasking is just a part of running a small business, so this will be something you’ll have to get used to.

Some people find multi-tasking hard, and some find it relatively easy. I think it depends on what type of person you are, how your brain works, and how organized you are.

So the best thing to do is to set up systems so you are organized in all the different aspects of your business.

The different aspects are:

  • Administration
  • Planning
  • Marketing
  • Finance

So now you know that the best way to deal with multi-tasking is to set up systems in each of the above areas.

9. Outsourcing

However, you will likely get to the point where multi-tasking and doing everything yourself gets too much – and this is perfectly normal and natural for small business owners.

So when you get to this stage, you will want to outsource some of your tasks.

The tasks you will likely want to outsource are:

  • Ones which you find difficult to do i.e. bookkeeping or marketing.
  • Ones which you dislike doing and find very mundane.
  • Ones that distract you from your main source of income.

You outsource these tasks to freelancers, who can either work for you regularly under a contract, or on an ad-hoc basis (as and when needed).

You may find that you end up with a small team of virtual freelancers working for you on different aspects of your business.

Related Reading: How I Hire Freelances To Help Me In My Business

10. Boredom

I bet you never thought I would be writing a section on boredom!

I know that now, in your early stages of preparing for and starting a home business, you are finding everything new and exciting – and it is.

However, you will get to a point when you have all your systems in place, and maybe hiring one or two freelancers, is that the everyday tasks start to settle in.

These everyday tasks are an absolute necessity, but they will eventually become tedious.

For example, for me and my blogging business, this is where I’m at now:

  • I’ve created all of my digital products to sell.
  • I’ve set up my sales funnel.
  • I’ve written all of the standard and necessary pages on my website.

Now all I need to do is my marketing activities which are:

  • Writing 2-4 blog posts each week.
  • Creating pins for Pinterest.

And this can get very boring. Somedays I just don’t feel like writing ‘yet another blog post’ or creating ‘yet another pin’.

But if I want my blog business to grow, then these two activities are a must for me.

So be aware that you will likely find this in your small business too.

11. Dogged Determination

This boredom and tediousness lead me to this last section – you need to acquire an attitude and mentality of dogged determination.

Don’t rely on motivation to keep you going, motivation comes and goes.

You need determination to keep working on your business daily; even when you don’t want to and have ‘meh’ days.

Keep referring back to why you started your business in the first place.

What are your ultimate goals? What does your ultimate lifestyle look like?

Keep these at the forefront of your mind, and you will find the determination you need to work on your business until it becomes the success that you had planned and dreamed of.

To Summarize

As you can see, yes, running a home business can be hard and challenging at times. But you’ve also just read that these challenges can easily be overcome with a lot of initial research and some careful planning.

So please don’t be put off by these obstacles. All small business owners face them and it’s the ones who push through these initial hard times, because of sheer dogged determination, are the business owners that find success, wealth, and happiness.

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