The Pleasure and Pain of Working From Home

It’s the dream lifestyle, isn’t it?

More and more people are deciding to cut free from the daily 9 to 5 grind, wave goodbye to their bosses and set out on the road to entrepreneurship by working for themselves. With fast and reliable internet connections, many of todays self-employed workers don’t even need to leave the comfort of their houses, and can quite comfortably earn a living with just a laptop and a WiFi connection. But how easy is it actually to work like this? And is it really the dream lifestyle you’ve always wanted?

As a part-time home worker I’ve got a few opinions about this but I can definitely say it’s got both its pros and cons. Even so, after you make working from your home as your main income generating strategy, you may regret that you didn’t take the opportunity sooner. Working in the home provides you with so many benefits that it is a wonder that more people don’t do it. However, it’s not always easy. One of the hardest things is figuring out which of the money-making strategies is the best one for you and making sure you love it enough to keep you going, even when it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and all you want to do is go to bed.

Keep motivated

A crucial factor you must consider when reviewing each home-working business strategy is its ability to keep your interest up and keep you motivated. Many people who have given up on a home business did so out of boredom. They may have thought they didn’t have the ability to keep their enthusiasm up, but the truth is, it was simply that they didn’t choose the right business for themselves. And if you’re hoping to make a full-time living as an online entrepreneur then you simply must regard it in the same way that you would any other self-employed business, and that means lots of long hours and sleepless nights.

Even though passion must be a top factor when assessing a new opportunity, you must also take into account whether it has the likelihood of earning you a liveable income. You need to love what you do, but you also have to be able to pay the bills. Do the research and make sure the potential is there before you try to make a go of it. Before you go and fire your boss, a good piece of advice is to try a trial run first. If you can, take some time off work and operate the business as if it was your sole source of employment. If you make enough money to cover your living expenses then maybe you’ve got a workable business on your hands, if not then go back to your day job a while longer till you come up with an alternative plan.

Cold-callers and scams

Because of the high risk of cons, you also must also stay on alert for any scams. Everything may sound like a sure thing, when in fact there is someone just waiting for you to fork over the cash. This should not scare you off from finding a business opportunity, but it should make you more diligent when researching the company behind each one.

Once you start working full-time you will find more and more cold callers will contact you with new money-making strategies. You should always insist they send you a copy of their own personal tax returns before you’ll listen to their sales patter. If they’ve really got a business strategy that works then they’ll have a very profitable tax return to show for it. I can pretty much guarantee they’ll hang up the phone instead though.

Another negative with working from home is a certain sense of isolation. You might hate your job at the moment but I bet you get a lot of social interaction throughout the day. Remember that once you become your own boss you’ll lose the community spirit that goes with being part of a team. It is, therefore, important to take time off and enjoy being with loved ones and friends whenever you get the opportunity.

Earning an income at home may allow you to live out your dream, but prepare yourself for the reality that your lifestyle can change and the odds are often stacked against you. You may earn enough from working at home to pay the bills, but what if a new child arrives? Will you be able to make enough money to cover the new extra expenses? And how will your partner cope if you’ve been at home all day whilst they’ve been out grafting at some job they don’t like? Many relationships will get by just fine in such a situation but there’s always the possibility that jealousy will eventually creep its way inside, especially after your partner has had a really crappy day at work and comes home to find you tapping away on your laptop in the garden!

It’s not as fun as you might think it is

An unexpected side-effect of spending so much time at home is that by 5 pm you’ll likely be desperately wanting to leave the house and get a change of scenery, right at the time when your partner is getting home and just wants to relax in front of the TV. It’s for this reason why it’s highly recommended to create a work-space outside of the house. Your options here vary enormously, but many people find it useful to have a home office built at the bottom of the garden. This has the benefit that whilst you’re still physically ‘at home’, you’re also out of the house and in your own work office. When you eventually put the keyboard away and head back indoors it’ll feel a lot less like you’ve been cooped up indoors all day. You can see the popularity of this option by taking a drive around your local housing estates. I bet once you start looking you’ll be surprised by all the home offices you start seeing in other peoples gardens.

Be aware though that your home office must be used for that purpose only, so make sure there’s no distractions, including children wanting to be fed and dogs wanting to be walked. From experience I can tell you that such distractions will completely break your train of thought and it can take hours to get back into the ‘zone’. Better to stick to a regimented time scheme and leave the kids with a child minder if need be. You have to realise that the business takes priority between your working hours, and your home life might have to take a back seat until you’ve completed all the little jobs you’ve set yourself. In fact, whenever anyone asks me what the most important trait is for a home worker, I have only one answer, and that is “discipline”.

One further option is to split time from working in your house with spending a few hours with your laptop in a coffee shop. There’s a reason why these places are so popular throughout the day, and that’s mainly because they provide fast WiFi, a change of scenery and plenty of caffeine. All thoroughly useful components of being an online business person.

So before you go and hand in your notice to your boss, make sure it’s what you really want to do and that you’re sure you can meet your own financial requirements. On a positive note, if you’re able to make a success of it then once you start working from home you will only wish that you had made the decision sooner.


Personal finance blogger who's fanatical about financial freedom, investing and making money in the UK

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