How many of us throughout our careers, whether working part-time or on the corporate fast track, wished for a simpler, easier way to make a living from the comfort of our own home?
The American dream is now owning your business, operating from a home office, saving money on wardrobe, travel, and lunches out. Time saved will allow more quality time with your family as well as allow you to keep up with your duties around the house….that’s the vision, right?
Watch what you wish for because that dream could become your worst nightmare.
If worked right, it’s a win/win situation that generally brings satisfaction, but the pitfalls are many.
Here are a few things to keep in mind for adhering to your at home career path:
1. Workspace and working hours
If you have the space, dedicate a room or an area specifically for work. There are tons of wonderful do it yourself sites that present ideas on how to organize and create a workspace that is functional for every budget. I love to collect those ideas on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/imaginepublicty/office-spaces/) for future reference, just beware, Pinterest can reel you in for hours!
Sometimes I need to get away from the home office, yet still need to complete tasks. Find the nearest book store, cafe, or, as in my case, the grocery store and yogurt shop, that have free wi-fi. Pack up the laptop, cellphone and a notepad and you’re in business to do business. I find that a change of scenery and background noise help me be more creative when completing small assignments, or working those social networks.
Set your office hours just like the bank! One huge mistake I often made is rolling out of bed with a cup of coffee and hitting the office. Before long it’s 4 in the afternoon and no shower! Take the time to work out the best schedule, whether you start your day a 5am or 5pm, designate working hours, then start and stop on time.
2. Dealing with distractions
Ideally the home office has a door that can be closed for privacy during working hours when needed. It’s not good business practice to have crying children or barking dogs in the background while you’re on that important conference call. Make the space your own, and own it!
Before setting up a home business, communicate with your family. Work out the arrangements ahead of time about when you will be working, make your schedule workable for everyone, and stick to it to keep the peace.
Distractions can also mean you have too many windows open on your computer, too easy to jump through to read other sites, too easy to read and respond to emails, too easy to get caught up with friends on social media. Again, the ideal situation would allow specific time in your schedule for the mentioned endeavors, allowing your work time to be spent actually working! All of us are guilty! (I won’t say how long it took me to complete this article due to the demon of distraction!)
3. Organization……Collaboration……Trusted Partnerships
In my world, keeping organized is my greatest distraction! I need all the help I can get. Working from home has its own unique distractions, such as walking the dog, answering questions from family members, and mundane things like doing laundry! Collaborating has been the key.
For instance, I think I know how to make money, and I know how to spend it, but what happens to it in between is a mystery to me. My best investment is letting other professionals do the jobs I have no experience with, or the ones I detest doing. Bookkeeping and accounting are best left to the numbers crunchers, just tell me what to pay and when to pay it.
When it comes to expanding business and having the services that clients need, it’s not always easy when you’re a one man band. You’ll find that when your business is at the break even point it won’t be as simple as hiring much-needed help. You know how it is, making enough money to sustain yourself, but not enough to pay someone else. This is where partnerships become golden. I’ve been fortunate to partner with some wonderful folks who know how to do things for clients for which we may not be the experts. Need speaker training? Speaker Services has many training opportunities. Photography, web design, and graphics needs? Smarty Pants and Cervantes Design will deliver. Accounting got you down? Jacoby Bookkeeping can work remotely for anyone in the country! We’re working with others developing new services for the future, so stay tuned.
4. Dress for success
Would you go to the office or meet a client in your sweats? How do you put your best foot forward?
Ok, so you don’t need a business suit to work from your home office, but you do need to feel good about yourself, and nothing drives success like honoring your self-esteem. You should be compelled to feel good about yourself before you start the workday, and clearly, dressing professionally will put you in the mood to act that way. Casual business attire at home is even better than wearing it for someone else.
By dressing for your own success each day, you’ll find productivity on the rise. You’re always ready to head out the door for a last-minute lunch meeting, or receive a client in your home.
5. Jammie Day/Day off
You’ve worked for it, take it!
Any work at home person would be lying if they say they never spend a work day in their jammies, propped up with pillows and the laptop blazing.
Yes, sometimes you can be just as productive out of the office and in the comfort of your bed! Don’t feel guilty, you’re still getting work done, and if you roll over for a nap, you probably needed that, too!
Tell us what you do to stay productive and successful while working from home! We need tips, too! Leave them in the comment section below.
5 Easy Pieces: Yes! You Can Work From Home and be Successful!
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