For various reasons, more and more people are choosing to be their own boss and work from home. For years, I had this dream of, one day, being the head-honcho of my own company. It just turned out that the company that I was building and investing in was my own family. After being the CEO of a household for sixteen years with perks and benefits that paid me in hugs and kisses, I decided that it was time to supplement the warm fuzzies with another opportunity that would pay me in dollars and cents. I am now a stay-at-home mom who also runs a home-based business.
During the time that I have been in business for myself, I have been awakened to some work-from-home fine-print; and those eye-opening details I have compiled into my own delightful list of pros and cons. So here they are:
1. Family. If you are a stay-at-home parent or always wished to be, working from home is more than the ideal situation. Not only does being home eliminate the need for daycare, but it also allows you to contribute financially while being available for your children. However, if your children aren’t in school all day and no longer take naps, working in the next room to them while they wait for your time can create some extra pressure – for you become fully aware of the amount of time that is spent alone watching television. So there needs to be a balance between work and family. This is where I really appreciate the freedom of the next point.
2. You set your work hours. Gone are the days where your morning ritual consists of pressing Snooze five times on your alarm clock before actually rolling out of bed. Now you can wait for your kids, the dog, or the cat to pull you out of your peaceful slumber, or if you are of the lucky few – wake on your own sweet time. Being able to set your own work hours is particularly appreciated if you are a parent. With taking kids to and from school, activities, and appointments – there is nothing you have to miss. However, there is a risk of overworking – as hard as that is to believe. “Just five more minutes,” you told yourself an hour ago, and even upon realizing how long you’ve been working, you STILL end up requiring five more minutes to get the job done.
3. Reduced costs. Working outside the home requires so many expenses, but with working from home, these costs can either be reduced significantly or eliminated altogether. No longer will you need to pay for childcare, nor the additional fuel and maintenance expenses for your vehicle. You don’t need to wear expensive business attire that requires dry cleaning, and you can save on those lunches out with the co-workers.
4. Distractions. Having worked outside the home part-time, there was nothing more frustrating than being assigned to a project all-the-while having to man the phones and the front counter. Being your own boss means that you can regulate those pesky interruptions, and finish the tasks you set out to do. However, this requires the skill of self-discipline, without which will find you in worse chaos than before. Personal phone calls, outside appointments, online chat, television, kids, and social networking sites like Facebook – all have a way of diverting your attention from the tasks you had set out to accomplish. To minimize those distractions, you can: let your calls go to voicemail, turn off your chat programs, schedule appointments for the beginning or end of your workday, set rules with your children, and remain signed out of your favourite social sites until a more appropriate time.
5. So, of course, this leads to Discipline. The beauty of being the owner of your business venture is that you set the rules; You run the show; You say how it goes – YOU are in charge. How awesome is that! However, if you thought kids were hard to train – think again. You have just gone toe-to-toe with the beast. You’ve just elected to boss yourself around and take yourself seriously all at the same time. Have fun with that one. Not only do you now make the rules, but you can also break them without much more than a quick little justification on your part. Working from home requires self-discipline. What was once the role of your employer is now your responsibility, and that is to ensure business productivity.
Honorable mentions are as follows:
No dress code. Wear what you want — whether it be your pajamas, sweat pants with your favourite holey t-shirt, boxers, jeans, or a full blown suit and tie. You can wear whatever will make you feel comfortable. No one will be seeing you.
Portability. You can work from anywhere. Whether you are at home, on the beach, or traveling – you can take your work with you. However, the sheer convenience usually means that you are taking your work everywhere you go. Like you don’t have enough baggage already — your business finds a way to tag along too. So do ensure that you create balance in your schedule. Work only when it’s work time and play when it’s play time.
Face-to-face Interaction. Are you an extrovert? Working from home will be a challenge for those with social requirements. Being at home can feel isolating at times causing many people to look forward to leaving the house for work each day. Working from home will create many virtual relationships that may happily satisfy the introvert, but make life miserable for those who need face-to-face interaction.
More tips for creating working from home harmony.
- Design a separate office space if you can.
- Create a practical schedule to fit in work, family, and household duties.
- Leave your home when you can to clear your head. A brisk walk in the fresh air or coffee with a friend may be all it takes to regain focus and motivation.
- Where appropriate, delegate chores to the other members of your family.
- Hire a babysitter every now and then to care for your young children while you get caught up in the office.
- Take the weekends off to enjoy with your family. They deserve your time off as much as you do.
- You work hard! So enjoy the perks that working from home brings.
If working from home just makes sense to you, and you believe that it will fit your personality and lifestyle, consider the above. Take the highs with the lows, and accept them with gratitude and appreciation. Believe that you deserve to be rewarded with the very best that your home business can offer, and your efforts to create them will be realized.
Smiles and Shine,