Forget what those TV and Internet flimflam artists say about earning pots of money working from home while watching television, napping on the couch and “being your own boss”. The reality of working from home is, unfortunately, the complete opposite of the carefree lifestyle advertised by these get-rich-quick scammers.
The real realities of working from home include:
1. Keeping family and work life separate is not as easy as you might think
Keeping family and work life separate is not as easy as you might think, especially when it involves trying to focus on your telecommuting job as your three year old is happily smearing lipstick on the dog or a small kitchen fire is raging in a pan full of grease. Also be aware that family, friends, kids, pets, neighbors and that ever-growing pile of dishes in the sink will think you don’t have a “real” job anyway and constantly try to pull you away from your computer for one reason or another.
2. Establishing a workspace
Do you have enough room to establish a private workspace where you can complete your at-home job tasks? If you think sitting on the couch with your laptop is a productive workspace–it isn’t.
3. People don’t take you seriously
Be prepared not to be taken seriously when you tell everyone you work at home. Although millions of people earn a living by telecommuting, there still exists an odd skepticism about people who do not actually leave home to go to work. This dubiousness is primarily perpetuated by stereotypes regarding the “easiness” of earning money telecommuting advertised by scam companies offering the chance to make thousands with a “passive income”.
4. Hours just as long as “regular jobs”
While a few people can work at home three or four hours a day and make a living, most telecommuters need to work a full eight hours just like everybody else. Working weekends is another reality that newbies to telecommuting find disheartening and unexpected.
Unless you live alone, privacy may be an issue not easily resolved. Again, this goes back to the idea that working at home is not a “real” job.
6. Effects relationships
Working at home can have the opposite effect on relationships that you hoped would improve as a work-at-home entrepreneur. Family members who see that you are home may resent your inattentiveness towards them or they may think you are spending too much time on your laptop and accuse you of deliberately ignoring them. Why do people think that being on the computer means you are playing games or chatting with a hot babe (or hunk)?
7. Social isolation.
Working as a single-entity business means that you will probably be spending many hours isolated socially. If you are an extrovert, a one-on-one relationship with a computer all day may cause your to lose interest in telecommuting, procrastinate and neglect your job in general. If you think you will miss interacting with co-workers, telecommuting may not be for you.
8. Self-disiplined, self-reliant and extremely motivated
People get up and go to work outside the home because they know if they don’t get there on time, they will ultimately lose that job. Alternately, to succeed in telecommuting, you need to be self-disiplined, self-reliant and extremely motivated–without the fear of encountering an angry boss due to your lateness being the only galvanizing force that gets you out of that warm bed.
9. Presenting a professional demeanor
Presenting a professional demeanor while consulting with clients on the phone means having a private, enclosed work space where barking dogs, screaming children or the annoying songs emanating from the neighborhood ice cream truck is not streaming into your client’s ear.
Keeping your workspace neatly organized and sacred to you only can be a problem in crowded households. Imagine writing a five-page white paper, saving it on your laptop and discovering it missing when you need to send it to a client several hours later. Who’s been on your laptop? And why is there potato chip crumbs on the keyboard?
If you are in good shape prior to starting your telecommuting job, you probably won’t be within several months of sitting in front of the computer for hours each day. When your livelihood depends on completing a sufficient amount of online work, it is difficult to not feel guilty when your butt is not planted in your desk chair.
12. 24-hour endeavor
Thinking that you will get enough sleep now that you are a telecommuter and no longer a shift worker? Reality check–running an at-home business is a 24-hour endeavor. Remember that customers living overseas are usually awake when people in the U.S. are asleep–or supposed to be. Be prepared to answer high-priority emails at any time, day or night.
13.Laptops are like cars
Laptops are like cars–they stop running when you least expect it and when you need them the most. Working at home is not the stress-free experience advertised by scam marketers. Make sure you invest in a spare laptop so that costly interruptions do not jeopardize potential sales or lucrative opportunities.