Seriously Thinking About Working from Home? 6 Proven Tips on How You Can Make the Transition
Have you thought about working from the comfort of your own home? Why not? We are now in the digital age and working from home is an option that has become more available to everyone.
Before computers, working from home was a rarity. Now, with laptops and cell phones, jobs can move locations, whether it be in your home or across the globe. Have you heard of digital nomads? These people travel and work from everywhere.
In July of 2008, I decided to quit my full-time job and focus on my online business. Before my decision to work from home on a full-time basis, I was using a small 24×36 inch desk to work on my day-to-day tasks. It never occurred to me at that time the idea of upgrading anything.
All I know was that I was ready and excited to leave my employment and focus on working from home.
The first two months were tough, (never expected this as well) especially in the mornings. I felt more like I was only on vacation and was getting lazy as opposed to my plan of working at least eight hours a day at home.
My plan was to treat my business like a regular job where I will work full-time hours.
That did not happen in the first two months, in fact, I was working like someone still employed me. I was always getting the job done, but at the same time, I was enjoying my new found freedom too much. Then one day, it just hit me and all of a sudden things changed. The first thing that I did was purchased a new bigger desk and convert the family room into an office.
Yes, there is an adjustment period, and for me, it took two long months before realizing that this was for real and that there’s no turning back.
The freedom to work from home is something most of us have considered. It sounds almost too good to be true, and for some, it may be. Working from home doesn’t have to be such a far off plan; many more employers are open to the idea.
For some, it may be as simple as asking, for other, it may require a career change. If you have a talent or a passion you can even start working part-time as a Freelancer and offer your expertise.
Either way, if it’s something that has piqued your interest, it’s worth looking into. If you’re planning on working from home, this guide is for you.
1. You have to evaluate your current position
Some positions simply require your presence. Others can easily adjust without your physical attendance. It’s impossible to say which category you fall in, but you can ask yourself a few questions that can help determine your situation.
Are you in a consumer-facing role? Does your position require you to be in meetings with clients all day? While you may believe there is no chance your job can adjust at home, you may be surprised what you can do with a few adjustments.
Ask your boss if anyone in the company has taken that path and if they would be open to the idea of you working from home. Be warned, however, most employers are going to want an explanation as to why you’d like to work from your home instead of the office. Either has a good reason, or risk being turned down.
Ask yourself, are you happy with your current position? Do you feel that you’d rather work independently?
2. Slowly transition yourself into a freelancer position
If your company is not able to accommodate your request, you may want to consider becoming a freelancer. This will require you to establish a client base within your profession, expertise or passion.
If you can do this before quitting your previous job, do so. Working on evenings and weekends to establish a stable client base will make the transition much smoother when the time comes. You can also look at freelance websites like UpWork and Freelancer.com where clients post job offers and freelancers can apply for the position.
It’s a good way to establish experience if you are new to the area or don’t have many contacts. If your current position isn’t fit for freelance work, consider developing a new set of skills. You’ll be surprised to find that many freelance sites need good writers, but that doesn’t mean you have to have an English major. It may be as simple as adjusting your current skill set to fit the needs of the market.
If you like marketing as I do, you may start learning about affiliate marketing business or maybe get a life insurance license or work as a real estate agent. All of which you can do from the comfort of your own home.
3. You must work-proof your home
One of the most critical steps to working from home is converting your home into a working environment.
Designate a space in your house as your home office. If you have kids running in and out, TV’s on, and dogs barking at your heels, it’s going to take quite some time to get any real amount of work done. If you can dedicate an entire room to an office, do so. This is exactly what I did!
Remove all distractions necessary. If you have to speak to clients via phone or a video frequently, set up an area that both look professional and possibly noise free. You may also have to upgrade your Wi-Fi speed if you’re on the computer all day.
Consider any additional equipment you may need, a headset, calendar, and potentially a new laptop if your job requires a good computer.
Once you’ve set aside a designated area, use it only for work. You want to be able to easily move into the work-mode mindset when you’re in this part of the house.
4. Make sure to designate a place to meet clients
Chances are, you will eventually need to meet with a client in person. A coffee shop meet up may suffice, but if you need something more professional, look for coworking spaces in your town. Coworking offices are buildings that rent out individual offices and conference rooms to freelancers.
If trying to work from home is becoming too much of a distraction, you can opt for working out of a coworking space every day. If you just need a conference room for a few hours, you can rent out a space for that reason too.
Most major cities have a few coworking options available. It’s best to determine a spot you like before you need it, to avoid embarrassment with a client in a new space you didn’t check out beforehand.
5. You need to keep track of your expenses
If you’re serious about working from home and are not working with a full-time employer, you’ll need to adjust your expenses. First, you’ll need to establish a DBA or LLC for your business. Numerous websites offer this services. Do your homework first. Next, open a separate business bank account.
As soon as you make the switch, start tracking your expenses.
There are multiple apps that can streamline the process for you, but regardless the method you use to track them, just make sure you are keeping track. Recording all your income and work-related expenses is imperative. This can significantly lower the amount of your income taxes.
You can even write off your home office space if it’s used exclusively for work (no kid’s rooms). Do your research on taxes, but establishing an LLC or DBA is a good and responsible way to start.
6. It’s very important to stay focused
It’s easy to want to run errands, hit up the gym, and go for a walk when your schedule is mainly in your own hands. I know because that’s what I did during the first couple of months of separating from my employer. I was having so much of a good time!
A break or two here and there is okay, but don’t get in the habit of letting your weekends run into your weeks.
Working from home requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline and commitment, and failure to meet your obligations can end your new lifestyle quicker than you’d imagine.
Try and create a schedule you can stick to. If you go to the gym every day at 10, that’s fine, but don’t make a habit of going whenever you’re bored.
Prove or better yet challenge yourself that you can be your own boss, and it will pay off. You can work from home and with a little discipline, it will become second nature.