We hear a lot about the joys of working from home. It’s supposed to be the way we work now. I love working from home; it’s how I make my own living. However, just because
However, just because it works for me, and it works well for others, doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Working from home isn’t always a viable option.
Before you get hung up on the idea that working from home is the path to career happiness, here are some things to keep in mind:
Do you really want to be stuck in the house — alone — all day?
One of the biggest challenges facing many solopreneurs is isolation. If you’re a social person, it might not make sense to sit in a home office all day. If you enjoy working with others, and being on a team, there’s nothing wrong with having a more traditional job.
If you want to work for yourself, but dread the thought of no social interaction, compromise with the help of a co-working space. At least a couple times a week you can get out and work in an environment with others.
My social interaction comes from the causes I’m involved with. It gets me out of the house and helps me avoid the downward spiral into talking to myself.
Can you avoid distractions?
What else is going on at home? When I was married, it was a nightmare trying to get anything done on days when my then-husband was around. At first, I thought it would be fun for us both to be working from home, but it quickly became evident that the distractions were real.
Look around. Are you too tempted to watch TV or surf the Internet. When there’s no one to catch you, it can be hard to stay focused. Before you decide that you are perfect for the pajama-uniform lifestyle, take an honest look at yourself. Are you really going to stick to it when you have to?
Whether you are trying to start your own business, or whether you are just trying to convince your boss to let you telecommute twice a week, you need to make sure you can block out the distractions and do the things.
Do you have the right equipment?
Working from home requires the right equipment and access to the Internet. The great thing about freelancing is that the startup costs are really, really low. I just need a computer and Internet access. Depending on what you hope to accomplish by working from home, you need to make sure you have the right equipment.
If you can’t access work remotely, or if you can’t get the setup you need for a reliable work environment, it might not be a viable option for you right now.
Before you quit your real job
I hope never to have a real job again. But that doesn’t mean that you should just abandon your source of income to pursue the dream of working from home. Give the side hustle a try first. Do a little extra work at home in your spare time. Save up so that you have something to live on if you need it when you quit your job.
Leaving the traditional workforce to work from home as a solopreneur or entrepreneur takes planning and effort. I did it backward, leaving the workforce to get my graduate degree and then never going back to the 9-to-5. Instead, I started a business while living on my then-husband’s student loans. Not the smartest approach, although it worked for us at the time.
If you are in a job now, and you are supporting yourself, simply walking away without a safety net might not be an option. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never work from home or quit. But it does mean that you are probably better off making a plan first.