Last Updated August 7th, 2017

10 Places You Can Work When You Work At Home

10 Places You Can Work When You Work At Home

One of the great things about having a work at home job or a home business is that you might have a lot of flexibility in where you work. It’s not necessarily all at home, depending on the kind of work you do. Sure, if you need a wired phone and internet connection you’ll be limited in where you work, but in many other cases, where you work is up to you. Here are some options.

1. Home Office

A properly set up home office is the best option when you can get it, even if you don’t want to be stuck in it all the time. It’s a place for all your work stuff. If you can close the door for privacy while you work, so much the better.

Your home office should have great internet connectivity, power, a setup you like, a good office chair and desk, and whatever else you need. You don’t have to worry about the space being taken over by someone else. If other people are too noisy, you can tell them you need quiet. They’re family or friends, after all. You can ask them to respect your work hours.

You may be able to take the home office deduction on your taxes if you maintain and use your home office. Check with your tax professional to see if your space qualifies.

Disadvantages

Isolation. If you want to be around other people sometimes, your home office can be very isolating.

If you have kids, it can also be a very frustrating place for them to have you work. They’ll get bored and want your attention, especially if they’re young.

2. Bedroom

Your bedroom is one of the other places to work at home when you need to close a door. It’s not ideal for most people, but it’s a possible solution. Hopefully you have the space to set up a desk and chair, rather than having to sit on the bed to work.

Disadvantages

It’s your bedroom. Some people find it very difficult to use their bedroom as an office. It makes it too easy to think about work when you should be sleeping.

3. Living Room/Elsewhere In The Home

Lots of people who work at home will work in shared spaces around the house, such as the living room. Sometimes you want to be a part of things; other times it’s because you have no better space available. Your productivity may take a hit, but at least you can work.

Disadvantages

It’s very difficult to get away from the noise of everyday life in the home if you’re in the same space as everyone else. It’s distracting.

4. Backyard

You get a beautiful, sunny, but not too hot day, and it will be tempting to work in your backyard. Fresh air, sunshine, and the feeling that you really are living the work at home dream. It’s a nice break from being indoors all the time.

If you have kids, it’s a chance to work where they’re playing. Don’t let them distract you too much, but enjoy the ability to all be together even when you’re earning a living.

Disadvantages

Patio furniture may not be as comfortable as what you have indoors. Your access to power may be limited. How good is the wifi in your yard? Hopefully it’s good enough.

If you have kids, they’re probably going to be noisy out there with you, and want you to join in the fun. Being productive can be a little more difficult.

5. Coffee Shop

Here’s the traditional office away from home office of the home based worker. Coffee shops have long been popular with people who work at home but aren’t limited to working specifically at home.

There are advantages to working at a coffee shop, such as snacks, drinks, and free wifi. Many coffee shops try to be comfortable for remote workers.

Disadvantages

Those snacks probably aren’t all that healthy. You might spend more than you should. The menu looks so good.

Coffee shops can also be noisy, as others come and go, and the employees call out orders. They often have music, which may be too loud for your tastes.

Employees won’t appreciate it if you take up a table for too long, especially if the other tables are all full. Pay attention to the crowds and try not to hog the space if the shop is busy.

6. Fast Food Restaurants

Like coffee shops, many fast food restaurants offer free wifi. So long as you don’t take up a table too long when all the others are full, most don’t mind if you work while enjoying your order.

Go to a fast food restaurant that features a playground if you have kids. They can play; you can work. The air conditioning isn’t too bad at most, so those days when the weather is too hot, cold or damp for them to play outside, you can still give them playtime.

Disadvantages

Fast food restaurants are usually noisy, especially if they have playgrounds. You may also need to fight the urge to get yet another snack as you work, even though the food is rarely all that good for you.

7. Beach

The beach is another of those dream places to work. Out in the sun and sand, it’s almost like a vacation while you work.

Disadvantages

There are no power outlets on the beach. Your internet connection depends on how good service is in the area, and probably depends on your cell phone provider.

Sand gets into everything. If you aren’t careful, that includes your laptop.

You can’t do all of the fun things you can do other times at the beach. You’ll get some sun, but you can’t work all that hard on a tan.

8. Park

The park is a good place to work when you want to get out of the house or if the kids need to get out and run. You’ll get fresh air and you can often find a bench or table to work at. If the park tends to be crowded, bring your own seating, and you’ll be fine.

Disadvantages

No power, and many don’t offer wifi. You have to provide your own internet connection.

Parks can be noisy, even if you go on your own. Kids play, dogs bark, and people walk by all the time. You can’t always find a quiet spot to work.

9. Coworking Space

A coworking space is a good way to get the advantages of a large office while working on your own terms. It should provide everything you need to have a productive day – wifi, phones, desk, printers, copiers and so forth. A good coworking space will have everything you need.

There will also be other people around, which can give you some camaraderie with the other people who use the space. You get people to talk to, so you’re less isolated.

Disadvantages

Cost. If you’re paying for it yourself, a coworking space can be on the pricey side. Some employers pay for coworking spaces for work at home employees if they want one, but it’s not a very common benefit.

10. Library

The library can be a very good place to work. You may not even need to bring your own computer, although if you have any privacy concerns, you probably should. Most libraries offer free wifi. The air conditioning can be pretty good too. Unlike coffee shops, they rarely care how long you stay during business hours, aside from any time limits on library computers.

Libraries may also offer other services, such as copy machines or a fax machine. If you need these services , it’s nice to have them right there.

Disadvantages

Libraries are thought of as being quiet places to work, but that’s not always true. Kids sometimes get noisy in there, as do other patrons.

Library hours can be very limiting. The one in my area, for example, is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you want to work outside those hours, the library isn’t for you.

In general, you should think carefully about where you work outside your home office. It’s nice to get away sometimes, get a little time around other people, but pay attention to what it does to your productivity. It might help, but it might not. Try working other places if your work permits it, but if you’re less productive, it’s probably not the right choice for you. You might be surprised at what works for you.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 19th, 2017

100 Simple Work At Home Tips

100 simple work at home tips

Working at home always sounds great, but it comes with its own challenges. Managing work, family life, household management and self care all in one location isn’t as easy as it seems. Here are some simple work at home tips to help you work more effectively.

Office Setup

1. A door you can closeYes, that's my office door

If you’re serious about being productive while working at home, a home office with a door you can close is best. Sure, you may be able to take your laptop anywhere, but that’s not always the best plan.

2. Ergonomics

An ergonomic home office setup will be a big help in the long run. Repetitive stress injuries are common for people who work a lot of hours on computers, but you can cut down on them with a good setup.

3. Protect your data

Make sure you’re protecting your data when you work at home. Have good antivirus protection, a firewall, and consider backing up your data offsite. There are many reputable services out there such as Acronis to backup your files. Make sure this is something you’re allowed to do with your data if you work for someone else, of course.

4. Be comfortable with the technology you use

When you work at home, it’s best if you’re comfortable with all the technology you use. Learn how to troubleshoot your computer and handle common issues. Maybe even learn to switch out basic parts – I recently had to replace a fan on my kids’ computer. It was easy, 4 screws and a plug. Take a class if it will help you be more comfortable.

5. Declutter

Clutter may easily build up in your home office if you don’t keep it under control. It may be easier at times to allow the clutter to build up, but in the long run, you need to keep the clutter down. If you catch the clutter building, take some time and declutter.

6. Plan your space

What kind of space do you need to work? Is it just your computer or will you need to store other supplies? Give yourself enough room to work comfortably and effectively. Don’t focus on what others say works for them – make it your own.

standing desk in office

7. Consider a sit-stand or treadmill desk

One of the big problems of working at home is how easy it is to be sedentary. A sit-stand desk or treadmill desk may help you be a little more active physically while you work. Make sure you can work comfortably when using your desk. A treadmill desk, for example, can make it harder to do some things.

8. Childproof your home office

If you have kids in your home, you want your home office fairly childproof, not just for the protection of your kids, but for the protection of your work. Cover outlets, make sure your kids can’t play with all the pretty buttons, and control noise levels from outside your home office if necessary.

9. Set up a safe space for younger kids

If you have young children who really can’t be kept out of your work space, set up a safe area for them. For very young babies, this could be a Pack ‘n Play. Toddlers may need a space set up for them. You could block off just your desk area in the room so that your chair doesn’t roll over any little fingers. Remember that this may impact your ability to claim a home office deduction.

10. Have a work computer

A separate work computer is required for some work at home jobs, and it’s a generally good idea for anyone. A work computer allows you to keep your work files safely separate from more casual computer use. Especially make sure your work computer is not for use by children. It’s both amazing and horrifying what they can do with a few taps on the keyboard when they’re tiny. What they can do when they’re older might be even worse.

11. Have a work phone number

Don’t take work or business calls on your home phone number if at all possible. It sounds better if you know to answer your phone as a professional rather than just saying “hello.” It’s easy to set up a free VOIP number with Google. Put the app on your cell phone and you won’t have any extra costs, unless receiving calls impacts your data plan.

Family/Home

12. Get help

Get the help you need to work at home. Ask your spouse to keep the kids busy. See if family or friends can care for the kids for a while. Send the kids to daycare or hire a mother’s helper. How much help you will need is up to you and your particular work and family situation – some don’t need any help with the kids, others need professional childcare.

13. Don’t feel guilty

Many work at home parents feel guilty for working when their kids might need them.Try not to worry about it. You probably see more of your kids than if you worked outside the home, and odds are that your family needs the money you bring in.

14. Plan family time

Make family time a part of your daily and weekly schedule. It’s easy to let your work creep into family time when you work at home. Do your best to prevent this when you have planned family time.

15. Make plans for when kids are sick

It’s not easy to work at home when the kids are sick. Plan ahead so you can deal with sick children as they happen.

16. Balance work and family time

Think about what your work needs from you and what your family needs from you. Somewhere there’s a balance that takes both into consideration. Do your best to keep it all balance.

17. Have activities in mind to keep the kids busy

If you want the kids to keep themselves busy, plan some activities for them and have supplies ready. The easier it is for them to have fun, the less they’ll bother you about being bored. I posted 30 ideas for keeping kids busy over the summer some time back, and that’s a small sampling of ideas you could use. Consider the ages and interests of your kids when you plan.

18. Talk to your family about the support you need

Talk to your kids and your spouse about how they can support you when you work at home. They need to understand how important your work time is. Come to an agreement about the things you most need from your family.

This includes how the kids behave while you work, when it’s okay to interrupt you, and how your work space is treated when you aren’t working.

19. Take time for your marriage

Your marriage is important. Don’t let working at home take too much time from your marriage. Your work at home success won’t feel as good if your marriage has trouble due to it.

20. Have everyone pitch in on household chores

You aren’t the only one who can handle chores around the house. Get the kids and your spouse to help at appropriate levels. Working at home doesn’t make all household chores your job too. A chore chart or chore sticks are helpful for children.

21. Plan meals

Don’t wait until it’s almost dinner time to figure out what you’re going to feed your family if you’re the one who’s going to make dinner. Plan meals out at least well enough that you know when you need to start cooking and won’t have to worry about whether you have all the ingredients.

22. Crockpots are wonderful

If you know you’re going to have one of those days where you can’t pay attention to when it’s time to make dinner, use the crockpot. You can start the meal much earlier in the day, and pay almost no attention to it all day.

23. Learn to say no

Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you have time to do everything around the house, take care of other people’s kids, etc. If someone wants you to do something that will make it harder for you to work, don’t agree to do it when you can’t spare the time.

24. Recognize what your kids are capable of

When you’re home all the time, it’s easy to do too much for your kids. You might be amazed at what they can do if you encourage them. Pick an appropriate age for them to walk to school without you if you live close enough, for example, or teach older kids to make dinner. You get more work time and they build valuable life skills.

25. Be prepared for school breaks

Kids in school make being productive at home so much easier… until school goes on break. Plan ahead for school vacations and such so they don’t entirely ruin your productivity. Think about activities the kids can do on their own, friends they can play with, family they can visit and of course things you can do as a family when you aren’t working.

26. Know where to find free wifi

One of the great ways to entertain the kids or give yourself a different work environment is to work someplace else. Keep an eye out for places where the kids can play and you can work. Fast food places may have wifi, but they are loud.

27. Consider hiring a maid

Hiring someone to come in and handle those tedious household cleaning tasks can give you extra hours for work and be well worth the money. You may want to have someone come in weekly or monthly, depending on the work you want done.

money mannequins

Finances/Legal

28. Know what to do if you need money quick

If you need money fast, take a look at quick ways to earn money. Sites such as Amazon Turk or Fiverr won’t usually earn you a lot of money, but they can be quick. Also consider offering your services other places where you can get paid quickly if that’s what you need. eBay is another good choice if you have some stuff around the house to sell when you need quick cash. You may also be able to sell things in a garage sale or local Facebook group.

You’re better off, of course, if you can give yourself some time to build a nice income, but we don’t all have that option. Try to avoid the kind of desperation that leads to people falling for a work at home scam.

29. Save up for taxes

If you’re an independent contractor or run your own business, odds are that you will need to file quarterly taxes at some point. Save up and be prepared so that it’s not a crushing financial blow when the time comes.

30. Know how much you need to earn

You can save money working from home when you think about gas, professional clothes, childcare and such, but if you run your own business or are considered an independent contractor, that taxes thing may change what you need to earn.

31. Keep your business legitimate

Find out what it takes to run your business legally in your area. You should be able to find this out on your city’s website. You may need to register a business name (DBA or FBN), you may need a business license, and you may decide to incorporate. Find out what legal requirements you need to follow in your area.

home office

32. Get appropriate insurance coverage

See about getting a rider on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for your home business. You will need to check with your insurer to see what’s available in your state. Separate policies for your home business may also be available.

33. Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose on your home business

Most home businesses don’t cost a lot to run, but if you have a physical inventory or do a lot of advertising (even online), expenses can run up quickly. Sometimes it’s necessary to go a little into debt to get things started, but try not to go so far that it’s hard to recover if things don’t work out. Investing wisely in your home business is a good thing, of course.

34. Separate personal and business finances

It’s not always easy to keep these things separate, but do the best you can. It can be very hard to separate things out later, which is a big disadvantage at tax time. Use a separate credit or debit card for business expenses if you can.

35. Keep business receipts organized

When you spend money on your home business, keep the receipts organized. Given the online nature of many home businesses, you may need to create a file in your email and on your computer for any receipts you receive electronically. Separate them by year so you can find them quickly for tax purposes.

36. Consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant

There comes a time where you can benefit from the services of a professional bookkeeper or accountant. They may be able to spot tax savings you would have missed. They’ll still need you to keep your information organized enough that they can use it, but they know more about what you can and cannot do financially.

37. Plan for retirement

Saving for retirement is especially important if you work for yourself or if your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan. Put money aside for your retirement. If you’re self employed, you may be able to save a lot.

job titles

Working

38. Don’t be afraid to work outside the home too

Sometimes it takes a while to build a big enough work at home income. Sometimes it’s necessary to work outside the home while improving your income earned at home. That’s not a bad thing.

39. Dress for productivity

Dress in whatever way makes you most productive. Some work at home parents prefer to dress professionally, feeling that it gets them in the right frame of mind for working. Others can wear whatever they want. If you can work in jeans and a t-shirt (or even pajamas), there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as it works for you.

40. Sometimes your current job can become a work at home job

If you a have a job outside the home already, and you think it’s something you could do from home, find out if it’s possible. Some companies allow partial or complete telecommute schedules to experienced employees. Others can be talked into it if you present your case well. Give it a try.

41. Don’t pay to show interest in a work at home job

Employers don’t ask you to pay to prove that you’re serious about a work at home job. Don’t trust a company that asks for money with your application. Some few legitimate companies will require that you pay for a background check (such as Arise), but this is something to be viewed with a great deal of caution.

42. Working at home isn’t for everyone

I’ve seen this in my own family – one of my sisters is far, far happier working in an office than she is at home, even though she tried a home based job for a few years. Don’t feel bad if that’s what you feel after a time. We all have our own ways of supporting our families.

43. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

People fall for all kinds of work at home scams because they don’t recognize this simple truth. If an opportunity looks too amazing, too appealing, utterly irresistible, easy, etc., take a more careful look. Get some good advice from someone not associated with it. There are all too many scams out there for people who desperately want to work at home.

44. Make sure you’re ready to work from home

Working from home isn’t as simple as some people think. Know where you’re going to work, when you’re going to work, and how this is going to work out for your family.

45. Give it time

Not everyone will be successful in working at home right away. Whether you get a work at home job or start a home business, it may take time to be as successful as you’d like. Don’t let frustration stop you.

46. Set your hours and take them seriously

The more regularly you work and the more seriously you take your work hours, the more seriously others will treat your work. This is especially important if you have agreed with your employer to work particular hours. You probably won’t keep working at home long if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do.

47. Take breaks

Just as when you work outside the home, regular breaks are a good idea. They refresh your mind and allow you to move around.

48. Keep in contact

If you have an employer or a client, keep in contact with them. Make yourself available to them during your work hours as appropriate. Let them know what your work hours are so that you can keep in contact with them at appropriate times and you can enjoy your family during non-work hours. You shouldn’t feel obligated to be available 24/7 unless that’s specifically a part of the job.

49. Check email on a schedule

Don’t check email throughout the day without a very good reason for doing so. Most days checking email at the beginning and end of your work day will be plenty. Otherwise, checking email can eat up a large chunk of your day without significant benefit.

50. Keep your email organized

I sort my email. I use GMail, and the filters do a great job of sorting things out for me, so I can check the email that interests me at the time and leave the rest for later. It’s wonderful having personal and professional emails separate rather than trying to spot what needs to be handled now versus later.

51. Give yourself an evaluation

Whether you work for someone else or for yourself, give yourself regular evaluations. They’re a great way to check on your progress and see where you could use to make improvements.

52. Set short term and long term goals

Goal setting is a wonderful way to keep things going. Set goals that will help you to make the most of your work. Daily, weekly, monthly, annual, 5 year goals all matter.

53. Learn to work without supervision

Not everyone can manage to work well without supervision. If you want to successfully work at home, you have to. Learn to motivate yourself to get each day’s work done.

54. Make the most of your work at home day

An effective work at home day is a combination of many factors. Sometimes you will have to work when someone else tells you to; other times you can set your own hours. Do your best to have as many factors as possible in your favor when you work at home.

avoid distractions

55. Learn to ignore distractions

There are tons of work at home distractions you will face daily. Don’t let them keep you from reaching your goals each day. You don’t have to keep the room completely quiet – in fact, some people work better with background music – but choose the sounds around you carefully.

56. Get any training you need

Not all work at home jobs require training. Some require it and expect you to get it on your own, while other employers may handle the costs and scheduling for you.

57. Avoid procrastination

Know what makes you procrastinate. Identify the activities and times that you’re least likely to be productive, and figure out how to deal with them. Give yourself goals and time limits to help you avoid procrastination.

58. Be a good employee

One of the hardest parts about having a work at home job is showing your employer that you’re a great employee. This is especially true if most of your coworkers are at the office while you’re at home. Make sure you communicate regularly and clearly with your employer, track your hours appropriately and stick to your work schedule as best you can.

59. Think about ways to be more productive

If you want to earn a good living from home, productivity matters. Simple things such as planning ahead, giving yourself deadlines and tracking how you spend your time each day can make a big difference in your productivity in the long run.

60. Set up a workflow

A good workflow can help you to plan things out for your common tasks. It will help you to know what has and has not been done on each project you’re working on. This is wonderful when you aren’t sure what to do next – your workflow will have the answer.

61. Know how flexible your hours are

Many people work at home for the flexibility. The only problem is that not all work at home jobs are flexible. Know what times you have flexibility in your work and which times you really, really need to be right there. This isn’t just about employers – some home businesses are best done at certain times of the day too.

62. Blogging isn’t always an easy home business

Blogging is often recommended as an easy home business to start. That’s true, as far as it goes, it’s an inexpensive business to run, but it’s not always easy. Figuring out what to write about, driving traffic to your site, earning money all take work. Be prepared. It’s great when blogging works, but the path for most is long. Don’t blog if you hate to write.

63. Direct sales isn’t for everyone.

Odds are you can find a direct sales/network marketing opportunity you’d enjoy. It may or may not be the right business for you. There are a lot of rules to follow when you join an opportunity. Do your research and make sure you know what you’re getting into, especially the cost of the opportunity and the reputation of the company. Getting in on the ground floor means you’re getting in when the company has yet to prove its stability. That’s not always a bad thing, just an additional risk.

64. Affiliate marketing is easy and difficult

I love affiliate marketing. No inventory, no sales fulfillment, no customer service required (although sometimes people may send you questions). Find the right way to present a product, and the sales will come in. Finding that right way takes time and effort. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s great when it does.

65. Have a plan

Whether you work for someone else or run your own business, have a plan. Plan out how you’ll be productive. Make a business plan if you have a business. It doesn’t have to be all that formal or follow someone else’s suggested formula – just plan things out enough to help yourself work.

66. Don’t keep switching to the latest and greatest opportunity

The people who have the most trouble succeeding at home are the ones who cannot stick to a given project. Focus. Keep working on what you’ve started on, and don’t take on new projects until you know you can afford the time. For businesses, that means you’re either earning a profit or you’ve realized it’s not viable for you. For jobs, that means you know you can keep up with the requirements of that job and take on your new idea. Adding in new projects too quickly makes all of them more likely to fail.

smartphone

67. Make the most of your smartphone

What can you do with your smartphone when you’re out running errands? If you’re going to have some time where you’re just sitting around, such as kids’ sports or other activities, try working on the things you can do on your smartphone.

68. Prioritize

Work on the most important things first. If you have a business, work on the things that need to be done first, especially if you have deadlines to meet or they will bring in money directly. Once the important things are done you can work on the other things that make your business go.

69. Don’t compare yourself with other people working at home

It’s often tempting to compare your progress with others, especially if you have a home business. Your situation is not exactly like the situation of others. Even similar businesses will work in very different ways for different people. Focus on where you’re doing well and where you would like to improve, not on how someone else is doing.

70. Grow your skills

The right skills make working at home much easier. Learn more about things that can help you do your work more effectively. But…

71. Don’t get stuck in the learning trap

For almost any kind of work at home opportunity there’s a ton of information available. Learning about different things you can do to make the most of your home business doesn’t do you any good if you never take action. When you learn something new that sounds like it would help your business, apply it. If you don’t have the time to apply a new tactic, file it away until you can use it. Don’t even bother reading up on it until you’re ready to use it. You can bookmark useful pages for future reference. Don’t be surprised if you never come back to many of these seemingly wonderful ideas because you don’t have the time for them.

Remember that doing is far more important to your success than learning. You can know all about how someone else succeeded, but unless you’re working toward your own success, that doesn’t mean a thing.

72. Find a mentor

A mentor can help you make great progress toward success. Their inspiration can help you better deal with the challenges you face in your work. If you admire someone, just ask. They might say no, they might set a fee, or they might agree to work with you.

Don’t get mad if they ask for a fee. Remember that you’re after someone else’s valuable time, knowledge and experience. Some can give that away, but others can’t.

email

73. Set up template responses for common email questions

If people tend to email you about your business, odds are many of the questions are more or less the same. Set up templates to save you time in responding to these emails. You can customize them as necessary, but the template will give you the basic information you need to respond.

74. Don’t multitask

Multitasking is not as efficient as most people think. You’ll generally do much better if you focus on one thing at a time. This won’t always be possible – if you have small children you may have to watch them as you work, and older kids may come up for help with homework, but avoid multitasking when you can.

75. Don’t be a perfectionist

I’ve seen too many people never get started with a home business because they want everything to be perfect before they launch. Make it good, but don’t expect perfection. You can improve as you go.

76. Keep working when you don’t feel like it

There will be days that you don’t feel like working. That doesn’t matter. Push on through, just like you would if you were working for someone else.

77. Pay attention to your natural schedule

When are you most productive? Least? Do what you can to schedule your work around the times that you’re usually the most productive.

break at computer

78. Hire an assistant when you need one

As your home business grows, it makes sense to hire a virtual assistant to handle the details that don’t need your personal attention. It’s easier to be productive with the things that earn money for you if someone else is handling the other stuff. Don’t spend more than you can afford, but remember that the point of hiring someone else is to make it easier for you to earn still more money or to have more free time.

79. Keep up your resume

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re going to work at home forever or have your own business forever, keep up your resume. Sometimes plans change, and it’s easier to keep track of your experience as you go. The skills you gain working at home can be highly valuable in other areas.

80. Use the right tools

There are wonderful tools out there to make working at home easier. Tools such as Hootsuite make managing your social media presence much easier. Spending a little money on a tool can help you to work much more efficiently.

81. Try podcasting

Do you have a lot to say about your home business? Try recording a podcast. Not everyone will want to read the information you’re trying to share, and a podcast can be highly effective at getting to a new audience.

82. Don’t be afraid of video

I’m still working on this one myself. Video can be a wonderful way to present your home business to the world. You don’t have to sit and talk to the camera – you can use software to record what’s on your computer monitor as you talk.

social media cloud

Networking and Social Media

83. Keep the personal and the professional separate when possible

Do your professional contacts really need to know what’s going on with your family or how much fun you had on vacation? Don’t overshare personal things on your professional networks. Facebook, for example, allows you to control who sees what you post. If you keep friends and professional contacts on separate lists, you won’t have to explain embarrassing items to your professional contacts.

84. Use social media to find opportunities

Social media is a good source for professional contacts and opportunities. You can use it to find contracting opportunities or regular jobs.

85. Don’t let networking take over your work day

Networking, online or off, can take a big chunk out of your day if you let it. Keep it at an appropriate level. There are more things you need to work on.

86. Social media success doesn’t equal business success

You may have thousands of followers on various social media sites, but that doesn’t mean your online business is a success. Focus on what brings in income, not on your popularity when you use social media.

87. Participate in groups

Participate in group activities relevant to your work when you can, online and offline. LinkedIn group discussions, Facebook groups, Chamber of Commerce meetings in your area… they’re all opportunities to network and demonstrate your skills to build your home business.

88. Promote others

Don’t limit your social media to tooting your own horn. Promote the work of others, especially when it’s relevant to your audience or shows someone using one of your products.

89. Be active

Don’t join any social media site or professional organization if you can’t be active in it. The more active you are, the more benefit you will see and the more authority you will have. Just being a name on the site won’t do you much good at all. You have to be interesting, and that means being active.

90. Use social media buttons on your online content

Make it easy for people to share any content you put online by including appropriate social media buttons. People are more likely to share if you make it easy for them to do so.

You don’t have to put a button out for every social media site out there. Include the big ones, especially if you have a big audience on that site. Include any relevant smaller social media sites. Too many choices won’t encourage people to spread the word on more sites; it will just make things more confusing.

exercising

For You

91. Exercise

Don’t sit in your home office all day every day. Get out and exercise. Take stretching breaks at appropriate intervals during the day. You’ll feel better and be more productive.

92. Stretch

Get up once an hour and stretch a little. The Mayo Clinic website has some good stretching videos if you need some ideas.
Neck stretches
Lower back stretches
Forearm stretches

93. Socialize

Don’t be a total work at home hermit. Go have fun with friends. You’re missing out on the socialization that comes naturally with working outside the home; decide how you’re going to get time with others while you work at home. Even taking your laptop and getting in some work time at a coffee shop can help. Otherwise, the isolation of working at home may get to you.

94. Enjoy a hobby

Aside from work and family, what do you like to do? Make time regularly for things you enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it’s reading, watching television, swimming, or whatever. Do something that you enjoy, just for fun.

95. Take a break to eat

You’ll feel much better if you stop working for meals. Meals are a wonderful time to give your mind a break from work. You’ll be more refreshed and productive if you take regular breaks in general.

96. Take a vacation

You shouldn’t work all the time. Once in a while, take a vacation with your family. Leave all your work behind if at all possible. Schedule things around your vacation so you have as few work worries as possible. Hire a virtual assistant if that’s what it takes to keep things running while you refresh yourself.

97. Drink water

Water is usually the best thing you can drink. Keep a bottle of water by you while you work. I use an insulated bottle with a straw so the risk of spilling is minimal and my water stays ice cold.

98. Keep snacking under control

It’s very easy to gain weight when you work at home. Keep healthy snacks that you enjoy more accessible than unhealthy ones, and don’t overdo the snacking.

99. Remember why you work

It’s easy to forget why you work when you work at home. Whether you work because it’s the only way to pay the bills or you work because you find it fulfilling, or some combination or reasons, keep that thought in mind. It makes it easier to keep working even though there’s no one supervising you directly.

100. Don’t try to do everything

It’s easy to overdo it when you work at home. Parenting, housework, work, it can all pile on and leave you exhausted. Get help with things as needed.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated March 6th, 2017

8 Questions And Answers To Help You Get Ready To Work At Home

8 Questions And Answers To Help You Get Ready To Work At Home

Getting ready to work from home takes a little more than simply deciding that you want to work from home. I don’t just mean figuring out what you want to do or finding a job. That’s only the beginning. There are other questions you need to consider as you get ready to work from home.

What Are You Going To Do?

Here’s the big question, and one I get asked often. What are you going to do when you work from home? Can you make your current job into a telecommuting position or will you need a new job? Are you starting a home business or working for someone else? What about freelancing?

Knowing what you are going to do is the most important thing when you’re getting ready to work at home. I’ve had people ask me “how do I find a work at home job?” and I always tell them the first step is to figure out what kind of job they want. “A work at home job” is too vague and does nothing significant to help your job hunt. Go over your skills and experience to figure out what kind of jobs you’re looking for.

Where Will You Work?

The answer to this question isn’t “at home, duh!” Where in your home are you going to work? Can you dedicate a work space where you won’t be disturbed by others in your household? Will it be quiet enough?

Sometimes the answer will be “in my bedroom” or “on the sofa” or “at the kitchen table.” When that’s the best you can do, so be it, but it’s not ideal. If you get a work at home job that requires you to be away from all background noise, those answers may not be enough. If noise doesn’t matter and you can handle working in one of those areas because that’s all you’ve got, make it work the best you can.

The best place to work at home is in a room where you can close the door. This makes it easier to communicate nonverbally to spouses, kids and pets that you are not to be disturbed.

Wherever you work in your home, have a place for your work supplies where they will not be moved when you aren’t using them. You don’t want to have to search for your supplies when you need to get to work. You want to be able to sit down and work, with as few distractions as possible.

When Will You Work?

What work hours can you handle from home? Will you work full time or part time? Mornings, evenings, weekends?

If you have a work at home job, assume you will need to have at least four hours at a time available to work if you’re part time. Full time jobs may require you to do the full eight hours as a single shift, or they may allow you to split it. Home businesses, on the other hand, may be flexible enough that you can work whatever times you can spare. So long as you get enough done to earn the money you need and please your customers or clients you’ll be all right.

How Will You Cope Without Direct Supervision?

The lack of direct supervision is difficult for some people when working at home. Being in an office with people who will notice if you aren’t being productive can be very motivating. Being at home where no one else can see you? Perhaps not motivating enough.

Find ways to hold yourself accountable. If you have a work at home job, you probably have a supervisor who will do so as well, but that may not be enough. Pay attention to what it takes to keep you working hard enough and often enough. Set productivity goals that you track on your own, rather than relying on feedback from your employer.

If you’re running a home business, you will need to be even more careful. It’s very easy to slack off for days or weeks at a time when you’re the boss. If you have clients or customers, you will get some feedback about how promptly you’re fulfilling your obligations. Failures to do so will impact the reputation of your business. But you’re the one who has to be your own supervisor so that even the behind the scenes work is done in a timely manner.

How Will You Handle Distractions?

There are so many distractions around when you work at home. Kids, pets and your spouse are just the beginning. You should have a plan to handle each of these in appropriate ways. Use childcare for your kids if necessary – you probably can’t afford to lose your job due to your kids needing or wanting your attention.

There are more distractions than those. Chores that need to be done around the house can pull you away from work even when you shouldn’t spare the time. Who’s going to handle things when you need to have a plumber over? It’s not always easy to schedule your work and repair people.

Don’t let the television or your internet access keep you too distracted. You may well need your internet access to get your work done, but don’t abuse it. Keep other electronic distractions turned off or put away as much as possible.

How Will You Handle Social Isolation?

Many people find working at home socially isolating. You don’t have coworkers to chat with during breaks. Having someone come over for a chat is more often an obstacle to productivity, rarely a welcome break. You might have your kids around, or you might have them off with someone else, in daycare or at school. If you’re married, either you’re working when they’re at work, or working when they’re home to take care of the kids and other distractions for you. Either way, you don’t even have that much time with your spouse.

It can get lonely working at home.

There are things you can do to cope with this. Social media comes to mind. Don’t let it take over your day, but if you have some spare time, interacting with people online is one way to go.

If you work with a team, Slack is a popular option to keep communication open. It’s a tool that allows you to chat, make calls, share files and more. I see it listed on job descriptions sometimes.

You should also get away from the house and see your friends more often outside of work hours. One of the best ways to avoid feeling isolated to to make sure you have a social life! Don’t let working at home completely take over your life.

What Tools And Supplies Will You Need?

Most work at home jobs don’t require too much special in the way of equipment. A reasonably current computer, monitor and internet connection will do it for many jobs and home businesses. A good desk and office chair are also important. Sometimes, however, you need a bit more.

Some jobs will require that you have a wired connection to your internet. This is because wifi is not all that secure, and it is to protect the data you send and receive. Wired connections are often faster as well. A wired (not cordless) phone may be required as well.

Jobs may also require that you have a dual monitor setup. This can be great for productivity. A laptop plus a second monitor may or may not be acceptable.

Jobs may require printers, fax machines, foot pedals, special software, a dedicated phone line and so forth. Know what equipment you will need and make sure you have things set up before you start working.

Dropbox is a popular solution if you need to share files with others, and don’t need something as comprehensive as Slack. It’s great for freelancers or if you use multiple computers.

Being prepared won’t keep all problems away when you get started working at home. My own start was kind of rough, back when I did medical transcription. First my computer broke down and had to be replaced, and the new one was too new for them, as Windows XP was brand new, not compatible with their systems, so I had to wait for my employer to upgrade.

Then, on what should have been my first day of work, my dedicated phone line was cut off. It was in my name, while the main phone line was in my husband’s name. The phone company suddenly labeled it as fraudulent due to a mistake on the part of the person who set it up for me. I told that story years ago, and I can laugh at it now. The quick version is that the person entered someone else’s information on my account. It was miserable at the time, but my boss was quite understanding of the most unique reason she had ever heard for someone to fail to work on a given day.

When Will You Exercise?

Working at home can be very sedentary. Make time to exercise at least a little bit each day.

You don’t have to go to the gym, of course. You can take a walk around the block, do an exercise video or exercise on your own.

A sit stand desk may also be a good plan, so long as you understand what the limitations on the benefits are. Standing all day is not that different from sitting all day. I use mine to change position periodically, so that I spend some time sitting and some standing. I hope this is better for me than doing either one all day long.

Working at home is not for everyone. One of my older sisters tried it, and it did not suit her at all. She is much happier in a traditional office. If it’s what you believe you want, give it a solid try and find out. If working at home doesn’t work for you for any reason, there may come a time when you look for something outside the home. That’s fine. A reasonable level of happiness with your job and where you work is important so that you can stick with the work a long time.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 28th, 2013

Making Money at Home Is a Lot Like Getting Fit

I’m doing something these days that a lot of us are doing – trying to get back in shape. Despite the timing, it’s not a New Year’s resolution. It’s just that my husband happened to mention that he’d like to join a gym this year, and the gym closest to us had a great sign up deal for the new year. Fitness 19, for those who care, they have locations in various states, and they’re a lower cost gym. That means decent equipment, but no extras such as saunas or swimming pools. At least at my location. I don’t know about others. Only association I have with them is that I’m paying them for my membership.

Getting fit is a lot like making money at home. Just think about it.

Getting fit is like working at home

There’s Always Somebody Selling Shortcuts (That Usually Don’t Work)

Think about it. How often have you seen ads about people with massive weight loss – just buy our products! In a short time, you’ll look amazing!

We all know that’s B.S. for the average person, yet these products sell and sell.  That’s why they keep making them. It’s not necessarily even a matter of individual determination or effort. Some things just work better for some people than others.

That’s also why the work at home scams keep coming. People always want a shortcut to earning lots of money from home. That’s why so many ads use the image of the big house and fancy cars. And while effort matters, not everyone is going to get the same results even if they follow the plan carefully. Matter of fact, the amazing results in either case are usually extremely atypical.

People Track the Wrong Metrics

When it comes to getting fit, most people track their weight. Weight isn’t necessarily a bad measure of things, but to me it’s not the most important at all. Improving overall fitness, strength and endurance matter more. Weight is simply a number that will probably decrease as those others increase.

For that reason, I plan to weigh myself maybe once a week. I find it far more interesting to see how I can use the equipment longer at more difficult settings. That’s what tells me I’m making progress toward my goals.

People do the same when they have an online business. How many people stress over how much traffic their websites get? Traffic is wonderful, a business needs traffic, but it matters far less than your income, profits and conversion rates. One million visitors to your website means nothing for your business, after all, if you didn’t earn any money. It’s just a number.

An Accountability Partner Can Be Wonderful

Motivation is a huge factor when it comes to getting fit. It’s not easy to stay motivated on your own, however. Having an accountability partner is a big, big help. My husband and I motivate each other, for example. We give each other the nudge to get to the gym several times a week, close to daily (a day off here and there is a good thing). There have been a few times already where one of us has had to remind the other that it’s really time to head out to the gym.

An accountability partner is a big help when you’re earning money from home too. It doesn’t matter whether you have a home based job or your own business. Having someone to give you that nudge to keep working helps. Daily, weekly, whatever suits you for talking to someone else about the progress you’ve made.

It Takes Time to See Results

How well anyone who has ever tried to get into shape should know this one! It takes time to see results. If doing a little exercise and dieting gave quick results to everyone, it would be much easier to stick to it until we got the results we want. But it isn’t quick for most of us. It takes weeks to months to see even small changes, depending on the effort we put into things and our own individual metabolism. You can’t let that get you down.

You should see the results long before anyone else, as you know your own body best. That’s both good and bad, as it feels nice to see the little changes, but it can be frustrating that others don’t recognize how hard you’ve worked.

It takes time to see results with an online business too. It’s not just “build it and they will come” or anything like that. It’s build it, tweak it, market it, keep on working until things start happening, then work on it some more. Lots of people have to wait months for their first sale online.

Most of your results won’t be things other people can see. Certainly, anyone visiting your website can see what you’ve put up there, and they may see any ads you’ve placed, but a casual visitor or even a family member or friend won’t be able to tell when you’re earning good money, that you’re getting better conversions since you changed that bit of text, or even that your website is getting more traffic these days. These are things that are far more apparent to you than to anyone else.

Your Results May Vary

My husband got quite the dirty look from me the other night. He was on the phone with his mother telling her about our new gym membership, and that he has lost six pounds already. We’ve been at this the same amount of time, but I haven’t lost any weight yet. We’re both working really hard in there, but his results show better than mine. Grrr!

Seriously, though, I see my results in other ways, such as being able to work harder and longer on some of the aerobic equipment, but even though I don’t want weight to be my primary metric, it’s hard to hear that he’s getting better results in that area.

If you’re talking to other people who work at home in one way or another, even if they’re in your same industry, you won’t find that you’re getting the same results. Some people get great results much faster than others. You may have to work harder than someone else to get even halfway decent results. Don’t let that get you down. Keep trying.

Beware the Naysayers

Sometimes when you’re trying to get fit, you’ll come across someone who is utterly unsupportive. They’ll tell you that you’ll never keep it up, never reach your goals, and if you do, you’ll probably quit and gain all that weight back anyhow.

Obviously, they aren’t the people to listen to. While it’s true that many people quit, and most regain the weight, you can make the choice to avoid that for yourself as best you can. Even if it happens that way, that doesn’t make them right to tell you to give up at the start. I believe that trying and failing is better than not trying at all.

Naysayers are very common when you want to earn money from home. Job, business, it doesn’t matter. They know it’s all a scam, and you are going to lose big. Some will keep it up even after you’re earning decent money.

The one thing they have right is that you should be careful about scams, because they are out there, and it’s really easy to fall for one. But they’re wrong about it all being a scam. There are legitimate, home based jobs out there. There are legitimate business opportunities to join, and real businesses you can start from your home. You do your due diligence and you’ll probably be fine. Then work your ass off to make it happen. Yes, most businesses do fail, but once again, isn’t trying and failing better than not trying at all? Failure means you’ve learned that something didn’t work for you. Make changes and try again.

It’s a Lifestyle

Whether you’re trying to get fit or want to earn money from home, think of it as a lifestyle change, not a short term thing (unless that’s all you’re after). The longer term you think with either, the more likely you are to succeed. You may have your ups and downs, but if you keep working at it, eventually you’ll know how to make it work for you.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 8th, 2013

Why Do You NEED to Work at Home?

I often have people contacting me saying they need to work at home. It’s an absolute must. I hate to say it, but most of us don’t NEED to work at home. We want to, we prefer to, but need… that happens less often. And if you really need an income coming in for your family, you have to consider working outside the home as an option.

When Is Working at Home a Need?

Do you need to work at home?There are certainly times that working at home is your only realistic option. You may have kids or a family member to care for, and the only outside the home jobs you can find aren’t worth the added care expenses, plus commuting costs, etc. Then, yeah, you probably need to work at home. Maybe your physical needs are such that working at home is a better option than working outside of it. Then it’s pretty fair to say you need it too.

It’s ugly, but sometimes even when you need to work at home, you can get stuck working outside the home for a time, with the costs adding up. Some work is better than no work in most cases.

When Is Working at Home Not a Need?

Most often, working at home is a want. You want to be home with your kids but you need an income. If you can find outside the home work that pays well enough or has hours where your spouse or significant other can trade off care responsibilities, working at home isn’t so much a need as a want. It’s grand if you can get it, but if you need money coming in to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, that’s more of a priority than finding home based employment. Keep looking for that at home job if that’s what you’re really after, but get the money you need to keep your family afloat coming in first.

It’s not like you can’t look at work at home jobs or try out a home business while holding down another job, after all. Harder, yes. Possibly even miserable, depending on how you feel about your job. Do what you have to do to keep things going.

If your desire to work at home stems more from want than need, there’s nothing wrong with that. Go for it if you can get it. My choice to work at home very much so comes from want, not need. We need my income, and I’m fortunate enough that I can make enough of one from home, although some months go way better than others.

What concerns me is when people get desperate to work from home, as if it’s their only option, and it really isn’t. They let desperation drive them to fall for work at home scams, rather than taking the time to do their due diligence.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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