I'm sure you have all read many articles related to working at home. You like what you have read, love the potential upside to being at home and making a living, covet the thought of being able to stay at home with your family – and earn money.
But did you know there are downsides?
It's true, working at home – as an independent contractor or an entrepreneur – can provide the benefits you seek. I personally went from a strict 9-5 job (well, actually it was 7-4) – 5 days a week for over 20 years. Not to mention all the overtime, extra hours, and online work I did on the weekends. Throughout my entire career I longed for the chance to work at home. I nearly convinced my boss of the advantages of allowing me to stay at home doing my job online a few days a week… then I was laid off. Oh well. That's what happens when you work in the home building industry in the state of Michigan.
I digress…this is not about Michigan's economy. As a result of losing my job, I started a small business. I provide information to others who want to stay at home yet provide for their family. While I love what I do, I have learned a few things about the wide world of working at home. Believe me, it's not as easy and lucrative as you may think. Don't get me wrong – it's a great opportunity – just not as rosy as many home employment articles suggest.
Here are 3 of the biggest myths / downsides I have discovered:
1) You Can Work Whenever You Want
This is a very common statement – an attractive statement as well. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic statement. Take a good look at your situation. Do you have children? What time does your husband get home from work? How many loads of laundry do you have piling up? Everything pertaining to your home and life has an affect on when you can actually get some work done. You may be in the middle of a project for a client and your child's school calls to tell you your kid is sick. What do you do? Of course you drop everything and tend to your child. Work is put aside for now.
Interruptions are going to happen regardless of you working at home or in an out-of-home office. However, in an out-of-home environment, you have someone to report to throughout the day. You don't have that structure at home, therefore you need to create that structure. Set specific days and times when you do laundry and clean your house. This will ensure you spend several consecutive hours working on your business. You know what time of day your children and husband get home, and you also know it is nearly impossible to get any work done when they are home. Make sure you structure your day so you are constructively working without interruptions. It is also important to understand that you may have to give up time on your weekends to do some work – particularly if you freelance.
2) You Can Work as Many Hours as You Want
Although this is true, you must realize that if you don't work, you more than likely won't get paid. Sure, you can work a few hours a day, but you will only be paid for those hours. It is important to realize that freelancers and entrepreneurs don't get paid overtime. So, while you think it is a blessing to be able to work as many hours as you want, take a look at the large picture. Can you live off of just a few hours worth of pay?
3) You Can Work in Your P.J.'s
This has always bothered me. I can't understand why anyone would want to sit around in their p.j.'s all day long. Don't you feel better getting cleaned-up and dressed? Okay, okay… not everyone feels the same way I do, but believe me, after a day or two of jumping out of bed and logging onto the computer you will miss the days of getting cleaned-up first. Get up, shower, get dressed in normal clothes (okay, sweats will work)… I can almost guarantee you will feel more productive throughout the day.
And, as an added bonus to getting out of those pajamas, you’ll be more in the mood to get out of the house and possibly gather up a few new clients. Take the whole get-cleaned-up-and-dressed attitude as an opportunity to grow your business, meet other interesting people, and accomplish new things.
Working from home is definitely rewarding, you just have to know how to manage yourself, your time, and your other responsibilities. Don't get caught-up in the myths and false ease of working at home.
Kathleen Lewis is the founder and owner of EWomanWeb.com, a trusted resource dedicated to providing online jobs from home. She understands the trials and tribulations of working from home, and encourages others to act upon their desire to be their own boss.