If the idea of working from home is new to you or if you are transitioning from a full-time job, you might have some expectations that can lead to frustration and burnout. While working from home can be very rewarding, it is also important to know what to expect before you begin. Even if you have been working from home for awhile, it is a good idea to review your expectations from time to time.
Before you quit your job or jump on the latest “work-from-home” bandwagon, you must decide what your goals are. If you plan to make a full or part-time income, you will have to adjust accordingly.
In my case, I strive to cover the “extras” with my income. If I make enough to pay a few bills, that’s great, too! However, if we can do a few more “fun” things than we otherwise would, my income is successful. Only you can decide what your goals are based on your family situation.
Once you have decided your goals, here are a few things you can consider while growing your career at home:
1. Working from home requires flexibility.
If you are working from home, forget punching the time clock. Setting up certain hours to work can be beneficial, but it will often lead to frustration. This is particularly true if you have children at home and almost certainly true if you are educating them at home. Even if your children are in school, you will have to stop working to pick them up from school or put in occasional Saturday hours to be available for a field trip.
I have found it helpful to set general hours to coincide with my children’s naps or free play time. However, these sometimes have to be set aside or adjusted depending on the dynamics of that day. While I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish in a day, there are times when I simply have to move tasks from today’s to-do list to the next day’s.
2. Successful people have multiple streams of income.
If you expect to make a full-time income from one thing, you may be disappointed. Even with part-time work, I usually draw income from 2-4 sources at one time. This is good for variety and increased income, but it is also helpful if one of your “jobs” fails to produce income in a given month.
For example, I teach piano lessons in my home. During the summer there are frequent vacations and during the winter, students get sick. If I depended on that income alone, I would have a variable income at best. Supplementing with other work causes my income to be somewhat more regular and less of a “feast or famine” phenomenon.
3. Consider the differences in insurance and taxes.
If you have a goal of being the primary income earner or even just working full-time, you will have to consider the implications of working for yourself on insurance and taxes. These items will no longer be funded by an employer or come out of your paycheck. You will have to plan ahead to pay for them on your own and plan for them when calculating how much income you need.
4. Your business will take time to grow.
When you begin a new job, you get your first paycheck within a week to a month of beginning work. It often is a predictable amount, and you are paid at regular intervals.
When working from home, you usually have none of those benefits. You will have to start small and gradually grow your income. Depending on your line of work, you may have to wait months or years before you can replace a former income. In cases such as blogging, you may have to wait awhile before you see income at all.