Moving from the traditional workspace to a home office is no easy feat. Although there are countless professionals who are trying their hands at work-from-home jobs, many will admit that these career choices are difficult. The hard truth is that at-home employment has many perks, but it can also be one of the most challenging endeavors that you can undertake.
Fortunately, with the right amount of planning, it is possible to forge a lucrative and successful career from the comforts of your very own home. Below are five tips that will help you to avoid common pitfalls during this transition.
Establish a Solid Work Schedule
Establishing a solid work schedule is one of the most important parts of transitioning to working from home. Many at-home professionals find it difficult to stay focused, put in the necessary number of working hours, and avoid distractions once they move out of high-walled cubicles.
You will have to act as your own supervisor by limiting personal phone calls, recreational web surfing, and any other activities that take you away from your normal work duties. Once you have mapped out your hours, make a list of activities that will diminish productivity and profitability. These are actions you should avoid, and they will likely include social networking, interacting with family members or roommates, and taking unscheduled breaks.
Create a Work Zone
In order to get a tax deduction for your home office, you will have to create a space that is used solely for the purpose of working. Doing so has multiple benefits. In addition to offsetting your self-employment taxes, this space will serve as the perfect environment for developing and maintaining a productive mindset.
Having a separate space that is solely for working will eliminate the sense that you are always at work when in your own home. It can also help other residents to respect your labors when you are in this space.
Gather the Right Resources
Another vital step in getting ready for a work-at-home career is to ensure that you have everything you need for optimal levels of productivity. Make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection, a computer that is capable of standing up to the demands of your profession, and up-to-date software.
Some of the best resources are actually low-cost, including cloud-based services that will allow you to run your entire desktop online and share vital documents with associates and clients without the use of clunky fax machines. You can also look for fax-to-email services and web-based resources that eliminate the need for costly, cumbersome office equipment.
- Determine Your Goals
One of the major benefits of working from home is often the option of earning unlimited income. Most home-based work opportunities allow people to work as much or as little as they want, which is why this type of work is so appealing if you’re a motivated entrepreneur. Try to set feasible goals for yourself in terms of the number of hours worked each week and the amount of income generated. You can gradually build on these goals without feeling overwhelmed.
Maintain Part-Time Employment Outside of Your Home
For people who will be working on a contractual basis, generating a steady flow of income can be very difficult. Seasonal spikes and slumps in demand are things that all companies experience. Larger businesses, however, can weather slow periods a bit better than most self-employed people.
It helps to maintain a consistent stream of outside income for the first several months of your work-at-home job. This means an emerging small business does not need to immediately be wildly profitable. With a practical strategy for covering your living costs, it will be possible maintain an acceptable quality of life while you work from home.