Saturday, August 05, 2006

Are you Ready to Work From Home

Many people I know say "I would love to work from home!" They want no commute, a relaxing work environment, the ability to work in your PJs. In fact I am actually in my PJs as I sit here and type this. :) However, you have to come down from the clouds and really, honestly evaluate your personality and how well you would do in this environment.

You will Be Alone
As much as you might dislike one or two people at your office, it is VERY hard to be all alone, every day, in a room in your house. Nobody to chat with, nobody to bounce ideas off of. Yes, you can build up your networking but it takes a lot of time. Some people might thrive on that isolation, but others will not be able to take it. Really think about times that you had to spend long stretches of time on your own. Did it make you happy, or was it something you had to 'tolerate'? You truly must be happy being on your own for this to work.

Your House will Surround You
For some people this isn't a problem. I personally don't mind at all walking through a messy house to get to my computer. But I know many people who easily get distracted - who start to watch TV, or run the laundry, or do other things. The more that you are drawn away from your task, the less work you will get done - and the less success you will find. I know many people who tried a home office and then had to rent a "real" office space because it was the only way they could make it work. If you are addicted to the TV, or focussed on a clean house, this might not work for you.

You MUST be a self starter
If you are the type that tends to surf the web when the boss isn't looking, you are going to be in serious trouble when you work from home. There won't be anyone to tell you to work - so the temptations will be overwhelming. If you play games or go web surfing, you aren't going to be working. It is your own life that will be getting ruined - but for some people that's just not enough motivation. Some people truly need a boss and guidance, as much as they hate to admit it. Think of the projects in your life. Do they tend to get done on time, or do they tend to drag on and on, never being completed? If you are a go-getter that finishes what you start, then working at home is for you. Otherwise, you really need to develop those skills first.

It Doesn't Come Quickly
Remember, 9 out of 10 business attempts fail, and success builds up slowly. You won't get millions of dollars the first day - or the first month. No matter what you attempt, you have to build up your product, build up advertising and name recognition, build up your network of contacts. Even if you have a head start, it is still going to take time to get everything rolling. You'll need a nest egg to carry you through a few months, and a backup plan if this doesn't work. You must be patient - and you must be tough enough to survive the grumpy people around you who tell you it won't work. You need to put your head down and focus for weeks, if not months, to get this launched. The people who pour in the time and energy to build up huge networks of contacts are the ones who succeed brilliantly.

Network, Network, Network
It's a cliche, but it really is amazing how well you can do in business if you get out and network. Join your local chamber of commerce. Join the small business associations in your area. Join magazines and groups dedicated to your topic area. The more people you know, the more they can give you advice and refer people to you. This is one of the keys to success and it takes a LOT of work - but it is incredibly worth it.

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