Work-from-Home Myths and Facts
There are a lot of myths perpetuated by some unscrupulous people about working from home. It’s important before you embark on a search for a work-from-home opportunity that you understand these myths so you can avoid falling into these traps.
1) “You can work anywhere whenever you want to”
While this sounds wonderful, and sometimes it’s true, for the most part you will have deadlines, and if you miss them you will lose the client. Therefore you must be aware of what your clients’ needs are. Plus, if you rely on the internet to work, be aware that sometimes the net goes down and you need to know what to do in a situation like that. You can buy a hotspot to help you connect to the internet, but at times that doesn’t work either. You need to always be prepared for these situations.
2) “You’ll never need childcare again”
It is true that you can find jobs and contract positions that enable you to work around your children’s naps, but if you can’t count on naptime, you may be in for some trouble working enough billable hours. You may need to hire someone to help you with your children or arrange to swap with your partner or another mom. You can also form a childcare co-op in which you all earn points when you swap childcare to “pay” for the childcare fairly.
3) “You can work only four hours a week and make a full-time living”
While there are some case studies of people who have eventually arranged their life in this manner, when you first start out you’ll need to work a lot of hours – maybe more than you ever have at a job. But, it will be worth it if you have goals, and are working toward building something amazing for you and your family.
4) “Not having to leave the house to work is always wonderful”
While it might seem like a dream right now, the truth is, many people who work from home actually start feeling a little claustrophobic after a while. It’s important to put a plan in place for this fact. Plan to go to live events, get outside and walk for a break, and stick to a work schedule so that you have plenty of free time.
5) “You can’t earn the same amount of money at home that you will at a job”
Actually, you can make much more working at home than you will at a job. The reason is that there are built-in savings in terms of travel, clothing and so forth. But, you can also make less if you’re not careful with making sure that you work enough billable hours. If you’re not self-motivated to put in the time, this can be a problem for some.
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While these myths are common in the work-at-home arena, the fact is there is some truth in each myth. You can work when and where you want, if you plan in advance to make it work. However, you still need to work enough billable hours to meet your obligations. You can also choose who you work with, what services you perform, and much about your day, but you must put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into working from home. It is not the same as sitting on the beach all day. It is work.
Best Practices for Working from Home
Working from home requires a little more organizational skills than going into a job with an office, desk, computer, and all that comes with working in a business. You’ll need to supply all of the technology, provide technology support for yourself, as well as the self-discipline necessary to get the job done each day. No one is going to be looking over your shoulder to ensure that you get anything done or to make you work.
- Find the Right Fit – Don’t just take any job that comes along. Take a job that you want to do and like to do and have the skills to do. It’s important that you understand who your ideal job is, what you want to do for them and stick to that. Otherwise no one will be happy and honestly, you will not do your best work.
- Set Up an Office Area – Even if you do not have the ability to set up a dedicated office, at least set up an area that is organized for working. Multitasking is not really a good thing after all, studies show. Therefore, set up an area where you can focus 100 percent on work when you are working.
- Set Up Systems – Whether it’s a physical filing system or an online project management system doesn’t matter. You need systems and processes, and an understanding of how to follow them. You’ll be more productive; you’ll reduce roadblocks and set yourself up for success. Even if you just use Google Calendar and sync it with your phone and schedule everything, you’ll be able to keep up better.
- Ask for Feedback – Sometimes working from home can be isolating, but if you regularly ask for feedback from the people you work with, you’ll be able to stay on top of things and improve. Remind your employer or the company you’re contracting with what you are doing. It keeps you on their mind.
- Work a Regular Schedule – It’s so easy to work all the time when you work from home. You want to set up a regular work schedule so that you don’t feel as if you’re working all of the time. The opposite can happen too if you don’t schedule your work and personal life. Each can encroach on the other, making it hard to do either well.
- Exercise and Eat Right – That might seem like strange advice, but if you do this you’ll work smarter instead of feeling run down, sick and tired, and unbalanced. You must fit all parts of your life into your day, and it’s harder when there is not a clear delineation of work versus home life.
- Keep at It – When working from home, the best thing you have at your advantage for making it work is your persistence for doing it. If you keep going, working toward the goals you’ve set for yourself each and every day, you will be successful. Don’t give up even when it feels hard, and you’ll experience success.
- Celebrate Jobs Well Done – When you work for yourself, you don’t often get kudos from your co-workers like you might at a traditional job, but you should celebrate your milestones and accomplishments yourself. Take yourself and family out to dinner for meeting a goal at work, or for getting new clients if you work as a freelancer.
Working from home is not for everyone, but if you believe it is something you want to do, don’t allow the fear of scams or any roadblocks to prevent you from realizing your dream. Research every company you want to apply to, send in serious applications, follow up, and keep learning so that you can make your work-from-home job or contract position last a long time.
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