One of the great things about working from home these days is how much work can be done from your computer. It has really opened up the possibilities. But just because it’s possible doesn’t always mean you’re ready to work from your computer. There’s a little more to it than that. Here are some factors to consider.
What Will You Do?
It amazes me how often I talk to people who want to work from home, but have absolutely no idea what they want to do. This is one of the first things you have to figure out. Wanting to work on your computer says nothing about what you’re going to do.
Take the time to figure out what your best options are. The better you understand what kind of work you’d like to do, the more focused your search for resources can be. “Work from home” isn’t a job title or even particularly descriptive of job duties – it’s just the place you work for that kind of job.
Where Will You Work?
Your computer, I know, I know. But is it in a place where you’re really going to be productive. Most people are better off in a home office or other quiet room than trying to work where the rest of the family is. It’s just hard to work with all the distractions. The ability to close the door and work is a huge help for most people.
When Will You Work?
Just because you can work any time doesn’t mean you will. Most people are far better off planning their work schedule to at least a limited degree rather than just saying they’ll work when they can. Trust me, “when I can” isn’t enough. It’s too easy to let other things get in the way if you don’t commit yourself.
How Will You Find Work?
Finding work is always the hardest part. Jobs you can do from home aren’t all that easy to land, and there’s never a guarantee of income with a home business.
You need to figure out how you’re going to make this work. That means being careful to avoid the scams. It also means avoiding the excessively optimistic income projections some business opportunities claim. If it were that easy, we’d all be doing it.
Working from your computer at home is hard enough, even though it sounds easy. Working from your computer at home without the support of your family is much harder.
It’s the little things. People questioning whether you’re doing legitimate work or goofing off on a hobby. People thinking that you do nothing but play on Facebook all day. People thinking you can easily watch the kids and work (trust me, most days that’s hard).
The better support you get from your family on your work, the easier it will be to work on it. Talk to them about what you’re doing and the progress you’ve made. Admit when it gets difficult. Ask for more work time if you need it. Most important, take enough time off for your family. That means don’t work through meals if you can help it, and have at least one day off work each week.
Can You Deal With the Isolation and Lack of Supervision?
Not everyone will be happy working from home. That’s just the way it is. Some people are much happier and more productive working in an office or around other people. Being at home all day can leave you feeling isolated.
Others really do better when they have more direct supervision. That’s not a bad thing, just the way some people are.
Be prepared to deal with these issues. Think about how you’ll get some social time with other adults (Facebook and other social sites aren’t enough for many people). Consider how you’ll get enough work done each day. Think about how the quality of your work will be judged.
Are You Really Committed?
Perhaps the biggest cause of failure once you start working from home is not working hard enough. Working too little, putting things off, enjoying the flexibility too much makes it much harder to succeed. If you have a job from home, it’s a great way to lose that job. If you’re running a business, it’s a great way to fail.
You may be your own boss, but if you want to succeed, you’ll be a tough boss. You’ll expect more from yourself than others do. You may find that, contrary to claims that you can work just a few hours a week, you work more hours than you did outside the home. While that’s not always necessary, sometimes it is.
Commitment isn’t all about your work hours. It’s about getting the job done right. It’s about sticking to a project. It’s about learning from your mistakes.
Working from your computer at home isn’t easy, but for those who enjoy it, it’s very much worth the trouble. Come prepared for the challenges.