First Person: How I'm Surviving His Retirement as a Home-Based Business Owner

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First Person: 5 Tips to Consider Before Beginning That Home-Based Business

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Rebecca Black in her office.

Retiring is a major life event. Schedules change. Routines are swapped, warped, and tossed aside. For the most part, though, retirement means freedom--freedom to make our own decisions all day. No one tells us when to get up, when to begin work, or what work to do. But, what if the newly retired is married to an owner of a home-based business? This is where it gets interesting. My husband just retired, I own a consulting/training business, and we share the same space.

Establish and follow a clearly understood work schedule.

For many home-based business owners, there is no off button. We tend to keep working, like a little windup toy that keeps moving even after running into a wall. I'm no different. I love what I do, so quitting time is a vague concept. When my husband was still in servitude, quitting time was when I heard the garage door open to announce his arrival. Now? Well, that part is a bit fuzzy.

Fold into this equation the fact that I love spending time with my hubby. Besides his obvious role as husband and best friend, he is also my business partner--now full time. Thus, he often invades my office with business suggestions. Moreover, he tempts me with fun errands and activities, prompting a curious mixture of hooky-euphoria and work-anxiety.

Therefore, after the first few weeks of nearly zero productivity, I had to lay down the law. Office hours are now in place with few interruptions.

Allow for a little free-time wiggle room.

Understanding that spending time together is mutually enjoyable, I decided to allow for fun-time breaks in my work schedule. After all, life is too short to skip the whipped-cream part of life. I balance these diversions by ducking into my office on the weekends. Why not? Every day is a weekend for my less-stressed half.

Keep the elbowing to a minimum when sharing the space.

While not a control freak, I treasure my autonomy in the kitchen. Since I've been in business twenty years and change, I've had free reign of the entire house. When I want to warm my coffee or grab a piece of fruit, no one impeded my progress--until now. Now, I must share the space, often much longer than I wish because our kitchen is now the workplace water cooler. Consequently, within a week of our permanent cohabitation, we made a pact. When I'm working, it's best to allow the whirlwind -- that is me -- to warm, grab, and go.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

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