Many people want to work at home, but there are a lot of scams out there waiting to take your money and give you nothing in return. If you are looking to ditch the office and work in your pajamas, here are the tips you need to get you started on the right track.
1. Evaluate Your Circumstances
First, determine if you are able to quit your current job and go to a work from home career. You may need to hold on to the job you have and slowly build your at-home career from the ground up until you have enough income to work solely from home. There is a saying that nothing that comes easy is ever worth it.
And that rings true for working at home as well. It is a process and you are going to need patience in order to make the transition as simple and effective as possible. This mid period during which you are holding on to your regular job and trying to work on your home-based career is going to be a trying one, but it is a very necessary part of the process.
However, there are other options. You can make the transition immediately, but you better have a safety net to fall back on. Most notably, you should have some rainy day money stashed away that you can support yourself with while you are getting your home career off the ground. This is especially important if you are supporting a family.
Just like with any other type of career, it will take time to build your contacts and gain experience before you ready to take the next step. Once you realize that you are getting more work on the side than you can handle with your day job, you’ll know that it’s time to say goodbye to office life and focus on your career at home.
This will be a very rewarding moment, but until then you are going to have to be patient and make some sacrifices.
2. Talk to Your Current Employer
Many companies allow employees to work partially or completely from home. Your employer may have provisions for this, so don’t give up your current job unless you just can’t stand it.
When it comes to this, the question is this: are you trying to create a new career for yourself, or would you just rather work from home?
If it is the latter, then it could not hurt to ask your boss about it. If you can assure your boss that you will just as productive and efficient from work, if not more so, then there should be no reason for your boss to deny this request.
However, many employers believe that working from home is not conducive to team building and that most companies work better when all of the employees are in the same building.
This really is very individual and it depends on the company and your position within the company. If you have a job in which you do most of your communicating by email and online messaging and you don’t really need to be in the same room with anyone in order to perform your tasks effectively, then you are probably in a good position to ask about working from home.
Of course, if you are someone who works in a position that is very collaborative and involves a lot of meetings and discuss, then working from home might make things inconvenient.
First access your situation and see how independent your job is, and if you feel as if you would be able to perform at the same level from home, your boss might feel the same way. In such a situation, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
Network with friends, family members and colleagues to find the best opportunities for work at home careers. If your career from home is a freelancing type of career, which most are at the start, then you should know that there really is nothing more important than networking.
This is important for finding new clients and finding good clients that might want to work with you in the long term.
First you need to inform all of your family, friends and former co-workers that you are striking out on your own, and you should let them know what kind of services you offer. This way they will know to put people in contact with you if they here that someone is looking for the services that you offer.
Also, getting your clients to give you good reviews on various freelancing sites is another important thing. It’s very important to build relationships with the people that you work with. Not only will it usually lead to more work coming from them, but it also usually leads to these people recommending you to others.
That is why networking is so vital. When you have a career that is all your own, it is all about your relationship and getting people interested in working with you. The more people know about you and what you can do, the more potential work you will receive.
Stay in contact with people within your niche and build online relationships through blogs and message boards within your business niche as well. This type of networking will come in handy too. Even though most of these people will be your competition, it’s still worth getting to know people within your field and establishing strong ties within your industry.
4. Choose a Job You Love
Make a list of your interests and skills and choose a job that meets your needs and abilities. The sky is the limit when you work from home, you can make your own job if you can’t find one that suits you.
If you are going to leave the security and stability of working for a bigger corporation and enter the scary world of being self-employed, then you might as well be doing something that you truly enjoy to do.
Studies have shown that the most successful entrepreneurs are the people who work on things that they truly love, not just things that they believe will make them money. When you are working from home, you are going to need added motivation to keep you focused. Even though working from home can sometimes be a lot more stressful, it also has its downfalls.
For example, there are many distractions that come with working from home that you would not have at the office. This is another reason for doing something that you love. If you truly enjoy what you are doing and you do not consider it to be a chore, then you are going to be able to focus better on your tasks and be more productive, even if your kids are constantly nagging you.
Also, when starting out and only working from home after work while still maintaining an office job, doing something you actually like to do will make this process of working overtime at home a lot less painful. If you are able to find something that is profitable and something that you are good at doing, making sure that you enjoy doing it is the next step.
5. Research Jobs
Research jobs in the fields you are interested in to see what’s out there. If you are interested in making custom items but no one is hiring, consider doing something on your own. When you work from home, you can be the boss, so set yourself up in business if no one else will.
But you have to remember always that being your own boss has its upsides and downsides.
Of course, you are in charge of everything, but let that thought settle in for a bit. You are in charge of everything! This means that the success of your business venture depends on you. So even though you have a lot of independence and do not have to take orders from anyone, you also have a whole new level of responsibility.
But this should not frighten you; it should only make you work harder. No matter what you plan on doing, research is vital. You really need to plan ahead if you are going to make the transition to working at home as convenient as possible and as painless as possible. And research is a big part of that. You really need to explore your field of work and take a look at what is going on there.
Is there a lot of work to be had? Is there money to be made?
These are all things that you need to consider before taking the leap. In the end, it’s all going to be on your shoulders. That is why it is important to plan ahead and to make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into before you go and take that leap into the world of working from home.
6. Choose Job That Fits In Your Schedule
If you have children, a job outside the home, sports or community activities or other things that require your time, you need a job that fits in your schedule. A phone job that requires you to be logged into the system at certain times likely isn’t a good fit. Find a job that offers the flexibility you need.
Also, there are a lot of people who prefer mornings, while there are others that work during the night. This gives you a lot of options as well.
For example, if you are someone who prefers to work at night, then you can try to find work with people who work in different time zones.
It will be convenient for them, because you are working when they are working. But at the same time, it will be convenient for you, because you are getting to work when you prefer to – even though it’s not the norm when it comes to working hours in your country or region.
The hardest thing about working from home is definitely managing your time. When you have a nine to five office job, you don’t really have to think about it. You have to be at the office during this period of time. The freedom that you have at home can lead to productivity issues. That’s why it is good to keep a schedule even when you are working from home.
Set aside time for work and time for personal stuff, and try not to make the two overlap. It might not have to be as strict as it is at the office, but managing your time is very important when working at home successfully.
7. Dedicated Work Space
It’s difficult to concentrate and be successful if you are pounding out work on a laptop in the laundry room, or your supplies are jammed in a closet. Carve out even a small space in your home that is dedicated to your work. This is especially important if you have a family.
It’s hard to explain to children especially that you are working from home.
Most children think that if you are home, then you are free to interact with them, even if that is not always the case. And that is why it is incredibly important to make sure that you have a place where you can go and be by yourself and focus. Also, it is important to tell your family members and let them know.
Tell them that when you are in your work spot, you should not be bothered unless it is an absolute emergency. However, if you are going to do this, then make sure that you are only there working.
If you are hanging out in this area and not really working, then you are sending out mixed messages. You do need a place to work. But when you are there, then you should really work. And when you are done with working, you should exit this area or room of your house. Balancing family life with work is definitely the hardest thing about working from home, and this is just one example.
However, if you are setting restrictions for yourself and providing yourself with a schedule and a certain place where you can focus on work in order to be able to focus on your family later, then you are going to be fine – no worries!
8. Enlist Help
Let you friends and family know what your plans are and have them help you. Older children can take on more house chores, and friends and family members can be informed of your schedule so they give you peace to work. Working from home is a big change for everybody, and it’s going to take sacrifices from everyone in the family as well.
It will be a while before you get the hang of it and fall into a good routine, but you need to plan ahead in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Your family needs to be included in this decision. You need to explain to them that you are actually working even though you are no longer actually leaving the house in order to work. And you have to explain that there are going to be times when you are not going to be available, even if you are a room away from them.
And reaching out to contacts, friends, former co-workers, and other acquaintances is vital for building a career of your own from home. Most people who work from home are working some type of freelance job where they are their own bosses or they are running a business of their own. In both these circumstances, you are going to need contacts and people to help you out along the way.
Networking is more important than ever when you strike out on your own and decide to start working from home. Many people think that working from home means less communication with other people, but it’s actually completely the opposite. You are going to have to reach out to more people than ever.
9. Obtain Equipment and Supplies
Depending upon the job you choose, you will likely need equipment. A computer or laptop is a must. You may need a phone, printer, fax or office supplies to stay organized. Obtain what you need so your work doesn’t suffer.
Many people forget that making the transition to working from home often involves an investment as well. There are probably going to be things that you need.
These are things that you never thought about before, because they were always available to you in your office. So make sure that you have some kind of a budget that is going to be able to get you these vital tools that you are going to need to work from home.
And it’s not just the technology. You might have to rearrange your workspace. Buying a new computer desk might be necessary, and if you are going to spend a lot of time in it, you better be buying a really comfy chair for the computer as well. But at least you are saving some money on gas by not having to commute to work every day, right?
All jokes aside, you really need to plan ahead before to take the next step and start working from home. You are going to have to consider all of things you are going to need to make the transition, and some of that is going to be equipment. Thanks to technology, just about everything can be done on a computer, and you won’t really have to spend a lot of money on regular office equipment, since you are only supporting yourself, not an entire staff.
But make sure you have everything that is necessary.
10. Eliminate Distractions
Shut off the radio and television, close your Facebook and other websites that can pose distractions and get to work. You can relax and surf the Internet once your work is done for the day. This is one of the main problems that comes with working from home.
The distractions are always plentiful. When you were at the office, all you had to worry about was your co-workers, but at home, there is so much more going on.
The biggest difference is that at the office, everyone is there to work. But when you are at your home, you are the only one who is working. It can take a while for family members to really understand that, and that is why you need to talk to them about it first and make sure they know that you are actually working from home and that you should not be disturbed.
And if you are working in an area of your home that you have designated as your workspace, it’s a good idea to get rid of distractions like televisions and radios, unless you need them for work. And there are tons of cool productivity tools available for free online that can help you to focus on what you are doing and not doze off and spend the whole day reading Twitter just because you can.
With the move to the home, you are going to have to work on disciplining yourself more than ever. There is no one monitoring you now, and that is why you are going to have to try and monitor yourself in order to stay productive. You can also tell your family members to scold you when they see you doing something else when you should be working.
11. Accounting Issues
Working from home offers a whole new set of accounting issues and tax deductions. If you aren’t a tax expert, it’s a good idea to retain the services of one so you don’t pay more than you have to. You also don’t want Uncle Sam beating on your door to audit you.
Most people get professionals to help them out when they are doing their taxes anyway, but when you are your own boss, than things can even get more complex.
It is one of the many things that you are going to have to consider, and it is also one of the many added expenses that you might have to incur in order to be able to allow yourself to work from home. You are no longer being paid by a company, and if you are a freelancer that is getting paid through PayPal or similar sites, then you are going to have to fill out special tax sheets that reflect this.
It is a complicated process that you should not go through by yourself if you are not an expert. If you try to do it yourself and you make an error, the IRS could bury you and completely compromise your entire idea of working at home before it even begins to start.
So that is why it is important to take the proper precautions and to make sure that your tax information is straight and that everything is filed correctly and on time.
It’s a good investment to make and you can learn over the years so that one day you won’t have to hire someone. But in the beginning phases, it’s best to get some help.
12. Online Support
Working from home can cause you to feel isolated. Look to online forums and support groups for like-minded workers to keep you motivated and give you advice. It’s not just about feeling lonely; it’s about getting some reassurances that it is all going to work out for you in the end.
If you do not know a lot of people in real life that work from home, you should find some people online to talk to about it.
Once you hear success stories from a variety of people and others showing that it can be done, then you are going to be more confident about your chances to make a career out of working from home. Forums and message boards that are related to freelancing and working from home are great places to not only meet people to talk to about everyday things related to working from home, they are also fantastic places for networking.
These people all network between each other and if you get in good with them, then you will surely see some business coming your way. Of course, once it comes your way, you need to do a good job in order to retain it. But that part is up to you.
Also, when you have a lot of people to talk to online, you don’t miss having co-workers. Sure, you might not be working on the same things, but you can still communicate and share personal information and talk about what you are working on.
Communication is an important part of the business process no matter where you are working from, and you are always going to need to talk to people, whether clients, co-workers or just friends.
13. Professional Memberships
You should also look for support offline. Find professional organizations in your career field and attend meetings and network with others. Even though you are working on a computer from your home and online most of the time, that does not mean that you should be cutting off all ties with the real world.
It is important to maintain relationships with people in your industry and network the old fashioned way as well. On the Internet, you are just a name and an email address, but when you are meeting someone in person, you get to know them better.
Being able to network is what will assure you that you will be able to sustain your work at home position. So that is why it is so important to not take any shortcuts in this aspect of the job. You should never stop learning and following your niche, and it can’t be all done online.
No matter how many blogs you follow, there is nothing that is going to be as helpful for meeting people and learning as going to an actual conference and talking to people in the flesh in order to see what all of the real trends are currently and what is going on in your industry.
Of course, your online persona and presence is very important, but that doesn’t mean that your real life presentation should be lacking in comparison. It is also important to keep your options open. One day you might have to return to an office job, and if that ever happens, it is good to know that you still know people in the industry and know how to go about finding the job you need.
14. Pick a Professional / Business Name
If you choose a writing career, it’s a good idea to choose a pseudonym. You may also wish to set up a business under which to earn money and pay taxes, so you should choose a professional name. It any case, being able to brand yourself well is essential.
You are no longer part of a faceless corporation, you are representing yourself. Even though this seems scary, it really is something that you need to think about. Getting the right name for your company or yourself is very important.
Not only that, but converting that name into a brand is even more important. You are now your own designer, PR and everything else. You are not a part of a working machine, you are the machine.
That is why it is very important to consider how you are going to represent yourself now that you are working for yourself. If you are no good at this, you can always get some help. It is certainly better to consult a brand manager then to do a poor job of it yourself.
Also, there are more and more people working from home every day and the number of freelancers is always on the rise. You are going to have to find a way to stand out from the pack and make your impression on the world all on your own.
It is important to have the right name and the right image to sell your products or services to the right people. Remember, do not be afraid to ask for help with this, because it is probably what makes or breaks most people venturing out into the business world on their own.
15. Determine a Pay Rate
While you usually have to start out working for lower wages than you like and build up to higher pay jobs, you shouldn’t sell yourself short. Know the value of your work, and expect clients to pay reasonable rates so your business remains viable. You are going to have to make your rate according to your living expenses.
This is especially true for people who have taken the plunge completely and are now only working from home. If you are working a regular job and freelancing on the side, then you can afford to work for lower rates while getting some experience and clients.
That is why so many people recommend that you take the process gradually and in small steps. If you are going to be someone who is going to take the leap immediately, then you need to see how much work you need a month and how much you are going to be able to charge for it in order to meet the demands of your expenses.
If you are unsure of what you should be charging, do some research. There are plenty of sites out there with people offering freelance services. Look at what they are doing, find someone who does something similar to what you do and find out how good they are, and then how much they get paid per project.
It is really important to know ahead of time what the going rate is, and then by comparing yourself to other people in your industry in terms of skill and experience, you will be able to determine a proper rate for yourself without selling yourself short and working for less than you would make at your old desk job. By Adam Ferraresi
Adam is an 23 year old professional web developer and an occasional digital publisher at wefollowtech.com, born, raised and currently residing in Dallas, TX . In his spare time you can find him on the basketball court, in the kitchen or at the nearest live music venue.