Now that my system is set up, all I have to do is check that my affiliate partners are sending me cash, suggest the odd joint venture to a partner, and stay in touch with my customers. I rarely spend more than three hours in front of my computer each day.

But it wasn’t always like that. It took a lot of effort and a lot of work to get into the position I’m in now. When I first started, it was a bit of a struggle to organize myself. My first website took ages to launch and while the other ones went up quickly, my family went days without seeing me.

Let’s be frank, if you don’t set up your business properly right at the beginning, you’re going to make your life much harder–and your income much lower.

The problem is that until now, you’ve always thought of your home as a place to relax and the office as a place to focus and work. Now you’re going to have to focus at home–and that’s not an easy shift to make. You need to keep the same rhythm (without stopping to watch your favorite daytime soap!) and the same kind of discipline you had when you had to commute every morning.

The first thing to do is to give yourself an office. I’m not talking about a laptop on the coffee table or a corner in the library; I mean a proper room with a door you can close and a desk full of goodies: from a computer with broadband to a place to put your safety clips. If you don’t have a spare room to start with, then use your bedroom. But if you’re serious, think about finding an office once your business gets running.

The next thing you’re going to need is a schedule–a realistic one. This is one of the greatest challenges when you begin working for yourself. At the end of each day, I’d make a list of all the tasks I was going to do the next day. If I got half of them done, I was lucky. I spent weeks frustrated and grumpy.

Once you get a feel for how long each task takes you, whether it’s approving a new site design, planning a new marketing program or answering customers’ emails, set yourself a timetable and keep to it. Turn off the radio, shut the office door and get to work! And at the same time, don’t get annoyed if the day ends before your work does.