These days more and more people are taking the decision to go into business for themselves and to spend their days working from home. The instability of the employment market and the end of the old culture of jobs for life has made the decision easier than ever.
Add to that the ability of people to do freelance jobs for people and companies around the world from your own home.
It’s not difficult to see why people are willing to try working on their own business from home.
However, it is also worth pointing out that working from home, either as a freelance writer or a small business owner is never as easy as people imagine.
There is a huge appeal to being your own boss and getting to choose your own working schedule. But, there are still some important negatives and downsides that people often choose to ignore when dreaming about this way of working.
This article will go through some tips and advice for people thinking about working from home.
Important Tips for Working from Home
Learning to Manage Time Effectively
The very first thing you need to get clear in your head is just how much time you are going to be able to devote to this business/new career move.
Whether you are starting a new business or going freelance, you will find that working for yourself from home will probably take a lot more of your time than you expect, at least for the first couple of years.
This will be more difficult if you have a family and are going to be working from the family home, as you will face constant interruptions.
That’s why it is essential, right from the start, to let the family know that certain hours are for business and business only.
During those hours they should consider you to be at work and act as if your office is on the other side of the city. If you do that, and then stick to it, you will get yourself a fixed working schedule.
After that, you simply have to learn to stick to that working schedule like clockwork. Only dedicate your time to your business during those hours and then leave all of your work behind you at the end of the day so you can be with your family and take care of other responsibilities.
Never bring work from your home office into your home. You will need learn to divide the two effectively so that you optimize all of your time.
Learning to Manage Your Work Space Effectively
Part of learning to manage your working time effectively is managing your working space effectively too. When you set up your home office to start with, the ideal solution is to do it in in an area that is separate from the rest of the family home.
This would ideally be in a separate building at the bottom of the garden or in an extension on the side of the house. Not many of us have those kinds of options.
If you can possibly set up one of your bedrooms as a work space, that would be great. Or could you perhaps take over a corner of the basement? Think seriously about possibilities for your work space.
By doing this you are clearly setting up a divide between your private life and your working life that will leave you alone to work. Additionally it will be helpful when it comes to working out the home-business share of the bills for your tax returns.
You may be able to write off a portion of your house payments as a business expense. Ask your accountant.
Read about how to set up your home office to work as efficiently as possible.
Organizing Your Home Office Work Space
Take the time to set up your home office work space properly. Then make sure you keep your papers tidy and organized. File old paperwork or shred if it isn’t needed.
Try and keep your desk as clear of items as possible. Read more here about setting up and maintaining your home office. Set up your working system and then….get to work.
Working at the Kitchen Table
What if you have no possibility of truly dedicated office space? Don’t have that extra bedroom?
Do you have a corner of the dining area or living room that you could set aside? Some where you can tuck a small desk like this pretty one – doesn’t take much room at all but gives you ample work room. Don’t even have room for that? Try one of these wall hung folding desks!
Add a good quality desk chair like this one and you’re set.
If you don’t have that, you may have to work at the kitchen table. People do this all the time and if it works for you, great. Many people find this far too distracting, with other family around.
If you have small children, maybe late evening will be a better schedule for your job? After the kids go to bed, could you work for several hours?
Using the kitchen table as a home office means you will need to be even more efficient. If you find you have lots of paperwork and other necessary items, find something to put them all into.
Then, put the basket away. In a safe spot away from family members – your bedroom will be a good spot.
Developing Your Social Media Skills
Running your own business or working for yourself has always been about networking and putting yourself out there for new customers/clients and new business.
If you work from home then the one place you absolutely have to do that is online. So, book some time each workday to do your social media.
And that means concentrating all your efforts into social media, getting your company Facebook profile, Instagram, Twitter Feed and Linkedin Profile out there and networking with people in your field.
Don’t do it blatantly either. Be a source of help and good advice, join forums, reply to and your social media messages and get your name (and your business) known for your reliability, friendliness and expertise.
Removing Any Possible Distractions
Equally important when setting up your office is making sure you don’t fill it up with stuff designed to stop you working. That means no TV, no DVD collection or Amazon Prime Videos, no radio or anything else that might catch your eye other than work.
Unless those are needed for your job, of course.
If you work from home you need to learn discipline as there will be no one to shout at you when you don’t work. One of the worst distractions for home workers these days is being online.
But of course, that is quite likely how you work – online! So be prepared to turn off Facebook and stay away from social media, until these are needed for your business.
Having Facebook open all day is a huge distraction and a huge time sink. Close those windows and concentrate on the job at hand. If you are supposed to be writing an article, only open web sites in line with the research you need too do.
If necessary be prepared to go offline for a few hours just so you can concentrate on your work. Need to write? Just write! Nothing else.
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