If you would have asked me ten years ago if I wanted to have a business where I could work from home, I probably would have said no. At the time I did not think it was possible to operate a fully functioning, profitable business from home. One day my son asked me a question as to why I was working so much. When I stopped to really listen, I realized how much time I spent working in the office and at home. It was time to switch gears. I retired from my position and started my own company, Infinity Coaching, Inc.
The call to work from home could occur for a multitude of reasons. It could be, like me, you want a flexible working schedule to work around family commitments. Maybe you prefer to work in solitude, or perhaps to save on the costs associated with working outside of your home (travel, uniform, lunches, childcare). Everyone has reasons that are important to them. It’s important to hold onto these as you examine what life might be like working from home for you.
If you have been thinking about transitioning to work from home, here are four things you need to consider.
Choose A Position
If you’re unsure of where your skills and abilities are best suited, here are a few career options to get you started:
- Customer Support
- English Tutor
- Social Media Manager
- Online Trader
- Ecommerce Store
- Virtual Assistant
This a non-exhaustive list of the job opportunities available to you online that shows you very one important thing. Whatever your experience, there is an online career for you. Take time to think about the things you really like to do. Then begin to research what types of online jobs you can find in that industry. You can also create a business of your own. If there is something you are interested in and you think don’t possess the right skill set, you can always go back to school to get certified in that area.
Education and Training
Just like any job, there is a lot of responsibility when it when comes to working from home. The difference is, you are responsible for managing yourself, including your education and training. If you want to develop the best reputation possible, continuous research, education, training, and practice are vital to your success. For instance, if you want to become an online trader but have no prior experience you may want to purchase a course, follow blogs of successful traders and practice trading on various platforms. This allows you to get to know the in’s and out’s of the role, such as understanding the language and terms used, how to identify the best indicators for day trading. It will also give you the opportunity to see if it’s something you would like to do long term.
Even now, I continue to take courses and attend conferences to stay up to date in my specialty areas. I also take various business courses to know and understand the latest trends. You also should consider setting learning objectives routinely to develop the habit of continuous learning. This will prevent your knowledge, experience and in turn your work from home position from becoming stagnant.
Create A Workspace
Part of working from home means you should have a set space where you keep all your work material. An ideal situation would be a quiet space with a desk, chair, PC and some stationery, preferably in an uncluttered environment to prevent distractions. Creating a space for you to work is essential, however, you are not tied to this spot. A key advantage to working from home is you have the freedom to design your days. So long as you have a laptop or tablet, you can work from anywhere, be it a local restaurant, bench in a park, or train journey to relatives. However, having a permanent spot for you to work from, creates stability. It will help you form a routine for working at home away from daily distractions.
Managing Your Time
Managing your time can be one of the most difficult responsibilities when working from home. There are so many distractions that can get in the way. You will have to be very disciplined to reduce or eliminate the distractions so you can maintain focus. If you don’t learn to manage your time, you can find yourself having many unorganized, unplanned days. You won’t get much work done, potentially losing clients and business opportunities, thus leading to an unsuccessful venture. Remember, you are the boss. You will need to develop good habits that help you become successful in your online position.
Scheduling time gives you a structure to ensure you compartmentalize your life between home and work. Take time to asses what working hours suit you best. For instance, if you are looking to serves as an English tutor and you feel you are most productive at night time, you can adjust your working schedule to tutor at night. This is definitely possible if you tutor children from different countries and the time zones are different.
Consider using a planner to track all of your appointments, meetings, and daily activities. You can use a paper format or an electronic/online format that sends alerts and reminders to your phone. Many of the electronic programs offer color coding so you can distinguish from the type of appointment you are having. Oh, and don’t forget to add your personal time and family events, such as your child’s soccer game to the schedule as well. This way you can block out the time, creating some balance in your life. As your own boss, you will definitely need this time.
Working from home and a strong alternative if your current career isn’t working out. To be successful, working from home means finding a suitable position that works well with the lifestyle you want to create; devising a workspace to help you stay focused, effectively managing your time and dedicating time to researching and educating yourself to gain the best from your online position. With a stable internet connection and PC, the opportunities are limited only by your imagination. Remember, it’s all about success on YOUR own terms!