Top Ten Key Success Ingredients for Home Based Businesses


As a serial entrepreneur (I started my first work at home endeavor at 26 and am on my third time around – with several businesses in the oven!!), I have watched my income both skyrocket and plummet – sometimes in a blink of an eye. I have learned many lessons along the way, one of the most important is that you must be generally happy and have some level of self esteem in order to succeed. Without these ingredients, we run the risk of self-sabotage, which kills any business. It is particularly destructive for home based businesses – simply because more often than not, a home based business is a one-woman-show, and if we are sabotaging our only employee, how will the show go on?!

Then again, it also extremely important to know what success means to you specifically. If success is simply grocery money and a lot of time with your kids, or if you are building the next fortune 500 empire, you need to have benchmarks in place in order to know if you are successful. Otherwise, you may continue to work every day, never feeling like you are getting anywhere, because you don’t have any references in place for what success is.

No matter what your business goals are, here are the top ten key success ingredients for Home Based Businesses – or any small business, for that matter!

  1. Focus on What you Want, not What you Don’t Want
    The first and most important rule of all. You will always, always get what you focus on. You don’t want a failing business, a lack of customers, or an unsatisfying work at home career. So don’t focus on it. I don’t pretend that this is easy to do, especially if you are just starting to adjust your focus. Additionally, you may experience setbacks, and this is normal. Just continue to train yourself and redirect your thoughts to what you do want.    

    This can be especially challenging if your business is NOT where you want it to be. If that is the case, focus on other parts of your life or your business that ARE going well, to at least get your emotions going in a positive direction. Then look at your situation from a different perspective by asking yourself a better question about the situation. For example, instead of focusing on a lack of clients, ask yourself, “What would be a fun way to bring 10 new leads in today?” Or instead of focusing on your lack of capital, ask yourself “Why am I so grateful to have this opportunity to pursue my dreams, and what resources DO I have NOW that could lead to future growth?


  2. Master Frustration
    This is the one that brings a groan out of most people – and the most un-sexy and un-fun item on the list. Yet it is one of the most crucial to your success. Many small business entrepreneurs start their own company with the hope that it will alleviate some pain in their lives. It will, but it will also create new sources of pain. The key is to take every problem and think of it instead as a “challenge”, or as “an invitation to grow”.


  3. Master Boredom
    Let’s face it. A high percentage of entrepreneurs are what could be considered ADD or ADHD. The reasons for this are plentiful – individuals with ADD are visionaries, ones who are constantly coming up with new and brilliant ideas, and people with a tremendous ability to think creatively. They are also people who HATE boredom. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure. And if entrepreneurs avoid critical tasks simply because they are boring, they leave themselves open to self-sabotage and will leave many projects incomplete.


  4. Search your soul to find a business that you will be passionate about
    There are many books assessments and programs out there to help you to identify “what you want to be when you grow up”. The reason this is so important is that running your own business will be boring and downright frustrating at times. In order to push yourself through these challenges, having a higher purpose to your work will be the biggest motivator to get past the ‘bad times’.    

    Here are some of my favorite resources for identifying and pursuing your dreams:

    Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type (Hardcover) by Paul D. Tieger

    Totally Fulfilled: More Money, More Freedom, More Smiles, Less Stress (Hardcover) by Dean Graziosi

    What to Do with The Rest of Your Life: America’s Top Career Coach Shows You How to Find or Create the Job You’ll LOVE (Paperback) by Robin Ryan

    The Attractor Factor: 5 Easy Steps for Creating Wealth (or Anything Else) from the Inside Out (Hardcover) by Joe Vitale

    I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It (Paperback) by Barbara Sher


  5. Make every business decision with the following question in mind “How will this add value to my customers’ business or life?”
    I don’t know how much explanation this one requires. We can’t expect something for nothing. What goes around, comes around. We are put on this planet for a higher purpose – in the end, to help our fellow human-kind. Not only is this an ingredient that will assure financial success, it will also assure that your business will offer you something that every person craves: fulfillment. By making contribution a guiding value of your business, you will be rewarded financially, emotionally AND spiritually.


  6. Create a business identity based on your ultimate outcome, rather than identifying yourself andyour business by where you are today
    Sometimes we create lofty goals for ourselves, yet find it difficult to understand how the heck we could get there from HERE. Usually, people will adjust their goals to something more reachable – which is sometimes the most appropriate action to take if your goal is very far from where you are today. At the same time, it is important to keep your dreams big. It will enable you to stretch farther than you otherwise would have done.    

    But trying to get from here to there can sometimes be discouraging. So it’s important to take some time to truly identify where it is you want to go with your business – what is your ultimate outcome? If your business was everything you wanted, what would it be like, specifically? Write it down! The reason this is a critical step is because once you have your ultimate outcome defined, it will be much easier for you to identify with yourself and your business as a success.  By doing this, we can then take a ‘backwards-forwards’ approach to your business strategy. First, get very identified with the future success. Pretend you are living it NOW. Really walk through the experience in your mind and feel what it is like to be living as this successful person with this successful business.

    Then ask yourself, “As this successful business, and as this successful person, what are the values I have held in order to get to this point?

    What are the beliefs I have had to adopt along the way to get me here?

    What have I had to let go of in order to succeed?

    What are my daily musts? Must-nots?

    This is one point that we could create an entire book on – so this is just an overview of the main concept. But to look at your business from the vantage point of future success, rather than of a small start up today, you will find you will access vastly different parts of you mind, and vastly different resources within you as you build the business of your dreams.


  7. Be vigilant about removing limiting beliefs from your mind
    Limiting beliefs can bring your business to the ground – trust me on this, it has happened to me. If you have a fear of rejection, or low self esteem, or a lack of focus, these traits will be magnified when you work for yourself and there is no ‘boss’ to hold you accountable. If you are afraid to price your work, or don’t feel like you can command that kind of hourly rate, guess what? Your clients will pick up on that and very likely agree with you. It is critical to keep your mind healthy as well as your body. An investment in programs to empower you and contribute to your personal growth are the best investment you can make in your business if you find limiting patterns and beliefs getting in the way of your success. For nearly everyone, if you don’t address these things now, they will only continue to plague your business and your life until you DO address them.


  8. Be vigilant about establishing empowering beliefs in your mind
    The second part of the previous ingredient:: you can work extensively to rid yourself of old patterns and limiting beliefs, but if you don’t replace them with new, empowering patterns and beliefs, you will eventually go back to old ways. The reason this is the case is that we hold onto negative things because we actually are getting some value out of it.    

    Here are some examples from my own past:

    If I feared rejection, it kept me safe from putting myself out there on a limb, and from taking the risks I needed to take in order for my business to succeed.

    If I didn’t believe in myself, I never had to risk finding out that perhaps I might have failed.

    If I never went for my big dreams, I could remain here, believing always “that I have what it takes” - yet never risking finding out that I might have been wrong about that all along.

    These “benefits” meet our need to have some control in our lives  - even if we are controlling it by limiting ourselves. Or perhaps other needs are being met in not-so empowering ways. So you must address the need behind the limiting belief or pattern, and find a way to meet your need for control (or ego, or connection, etc…) in a way that will actually serve your highest good.


  9. Create a variety of income sources
    No business or person should keep all their eggs in one basket. This is the same for any home based business. If you are a coach, consider creating some workbooks or products around your area of expertise. If you sell clothing for children, create a newsletter for your customers and introduce them to other products that would be of interest to them, ones which will pay you a commission for the referral. If you are a Mary Kay consultant, you could also create an image consulting business, helping women to pull together a new look after a midlife crisis or perhaps after losing a large amount of weight.


  10. Ask for help and for advice from mentors and coaches
    Every industry has its own specific ingredients for success. Success is like a recipe. If you think like a success, act like a success, and believe you are successful, you can only become what you are focusing on and believe. In order to become successful in your chosen field, it is important to study the people who are already successful, especially if you don’t have a lot of personal references as to what that would be like. The more you understand what it takes to be successful from the people that are already successful, the more you will be able to do the right things to succeed on your own.