Working from Home

working-from-home

Maybe you’re just sick of the commute. Sharing the freeway with crazy people is getting old. I don’t blame you. Idiot sightings are up and it’s hard to get through an intersection in one try with everyone feeding their phone addiction.
Maybe you’re dreaming of starting something special. A service that comes from the heart, dished up for people that you care about. The world has waited too long for this, you say. It’s time. You’re gonna launch it and the fuzzy slippers routine is the way to go.
Whatever your motivation to start working from home, you know it’s not going to be easy. There are obstacles, risks involved, and things to prepare for. The big come-on for starting a small business from home is, “Free! I’ll be free!” Waving goodbye to your tyrant boss will make you feel more independent, but there are many time-sucking denizens lurking in your home-office future.

When I made the leap, my manager Fred told me, “Michael, you’re underestimating the amount of administrivia that our company takes care of for you.” That was the understatement of the decade. Of course, no one article is going to stop you if you’ve decided to make the leap to start your own small business. This article, however, will help you jump with your eyes open. This is my collection of things to think about as you settle into the starting blocks and look down the lane towards the finish line.

Schedule

PRO

  • Increased flexibility. Getting to that soccer game is no big deal.
  • Energy management. Take a nap if you need to and then hit it hard again. No one is watching.

Environment

PRO

  • Casual dress
  • Productivity — your personal work style — is totally up to you
  • Part of your home is now tax-deductible for the business

CON

  • Distractions (kids, partner, roommate, visitors) can steal your productivity
  • Transitions are abrupt. You can go from deep into a deal into holding a sick child.
  • Organization is all you. If you can’t find it now, it will get worse.
  • Feeling isolated. Somewhat offset by networking and social media.
  • New staff likely will not appreciate the lack of office amenities
  • Line between work and family/leisure gets blurred. Work is always available and you must be able to walk away from it.
  • The informal setting can lower credibility with clients and prospects
  • Productivity depends on you being really good at self-management
  • The family loses some living space to make room for your office
  • Family may resent your staff as privacy invaders

Expenses

PRO

  • Lower overhead by dodging an office lease
  • Fewer lunches out (maybe – depends on your networking needs)
  • Lower car-related expenses
  • Lower dry-cleaning bill (casual dress)

CON

  • Must acquire your own health insurance
  • Computer, business phone, printer, Internet, teleconferencing software, accounting software, online file sharing, etc.

Relationships

PRO

  • No boss
  • Less stress because you are in control and don’t feel as rushed

CON

  • Lots of quasi-bosses: prospects, buyers, clients, vendors, business partners
  • Harder to form new relationships without daily contact
  • Less people to learn from when you work alone
  • You wear all the hats: boss,  bookkeeper, customer service, printer repair.

Caution

Make sure you check in with your County and State to make sure that your specific type of  business is allowed to operate from a private residence. Check out the official SCORE guide on the subject.

These links contain overlapping ideas about working from home but they are just too funny to summarize!

One make or break quality of successful starters is having good habits. To see how daily habits shape your destiny, check out The Compound Effect from Darren Hardy. Don’t let the size fool you. This little book is a life-changer.

Make sure you test your business idea out before wasting a lot of money and time on a dud.

Image by Shannon McGee

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