You've thought about it, dreamt about it, and are finally ready to make the leap to a work-at-home job or home-based business. But how can you prepare for working at home?
Here are a few things you'll want to consider and prep for before taking the plunge.
1. Pay Off Debt
The lighter your debt load, the less pressure you'll feel. Building up a career at home can take time, whether you're a freelancer, in direct sales, or starting your own business. Being able to survive by only having your monthly living expenses to pay will give you time to get the money coming in without fear of unpaid bills.
2. Establish a Savings Account
Having a savings account is essential before starting to work at home. Not only do unexpected things come up that you might need extra money for, but this will allow you to focus more on your work and less on the money since you have a little back up already.
Having money in savings also means that you won't have the desperate feeling of having to take any job, assignment, client or customer that comes your way just because you need the money.
A separate workstation if you're going to work-at-home. You need a place to do your work that's all yours, where you can lay out your stuff without fear of a kid scribbling on it, a dog chewing it, or someone accidentally misplacing it. A room with a door is ideal (and a dream of mine), but just a corner of the room with your own desk works, too. And keeping your workspace neat and tidy will give you a sense of calm and peace (or so they say), and allow you to direct all your focus on the work and less on the mess.
4. Set Work Hours
This is a big one, and also one of the hardest to do if you have small children … or children at all, really, as they always need you no matter how old they are! Setting regular work hours means that you mean business – if you want to work-at-home, you have to actually work, right?
It's much too easy to get distracted when you're at home with your own to-do list … housework, meal planning, and running errands, not to mention the numerous distractions that exist online (insert Facebook here!) And when you have kids, the distractions are multiplied by like a thousand! Your family needs to know that when it's time for work, it's time for work – that you have to set aside work hours just as if you were leaving the house to go to a regular job. Sure, you're home and if there were any emergencies, you're there, but they need to let you focus on work when it's work time so that you can be available for them later on when work time is over.
I like to make deals with my kids …“If you play quietly while mommy finishes this article, then when I'm done. we'll bake cookies together.” It really works … for the most part.
5. Have Back-Up Ready
Let's face it, you're one person! Yes, you might be superwoman (or in my case, Wonder Woman … she's way more powerful in my opinion), but you really can't do it all. And that's okay … you shouldn't have to! That's what family, friends, and hired help (if necessary) are for. If one thing is for certain, it's this: You will need help at some point or another. So why not have your resources ready to go when you do?
Discuss your schedule with your significant other and make sure they know that you'll need to rely on them to take the reins on the home front at times. Set up a play-date for your kids at a friend's house, grandma's, or auntie's. Childcare swap with other work-at-home moms, or even stay-at-home moms who don't work (because being a stay-at-home mom IS WORK and they need breaks, too!)
If it's within your budget to hire out help for some things, please do … even if it's a once a week housekeeper, or maybe a teenager who will come in and fold laundry a couple times a week. Whatever you need, seek out help and have it set up ahead of time, so you won't be overwhelmed with all there is to do when you work-at-home.
How did you prepare for your work-at-home journey? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!