|Posted on March 14, 2013 at 4:30 AM|
The dream of working from home is a strong one. But how often does working from home work for people? I believe that it is much harder than people think for several reasons. The first and most obvious barrier is finding appropriate employment that will support your work from home desires. Many employers simply don't entertain this arrangement, although I'm seeing that attitude change quickly given the difficulty of recruiting talent.
There is an entirely different class of folks trying to make working from home work by pursuing self-employment. These folks have a slightly different dream. In addition to the desire for freedom and independence, they also aspire to develop their own revenue stream to support their work arrangement. If this is your direction, I applaud you. However, there are also several warnings that you should consider to ensure your decision is informed.
1) It is much, much harder to develop your own revenue streams than it is to find a flexible employer who will give you a job from home. There are employers who will employ you from a distance. You will be challenged by not being in the office, but it can be done.
2) Starting your own business brings much greater stress to you and your family. On top of the normal stresses of working from home, out of the office, you will have the added pressure of starting a business. This is not to be taken lightly. You will find many web sites proclaiming that you can instantly bring up a significant income stream overnight with only a few hours of work per day. This is pure fantasy. You should run from any web site that suggests this is possible. As much as you want to believe it, it simply isn't reality. To make working from home work, you will need to put in significant effort and planning.
3) Many people who try to support themselves working from home fail. This is an important consideration as you map your path. Certainly, working for someone else has risks. You can be laid-off or fired for performance. However, when you are out there on your own, the risks are much much greater. You can simply have a bad month or make some bad expense decisions. When you are working from home by yourself, it's hard to know the right moves. Please be aware of the dangers.
If you've gotten to this point and are still convinced that you can make working from home work despite the odds, I have several suggestions for how to get started:
A) Start your home business while you're still working for someone else
B) Do careful research before making any decisions
C) Try to start your business as inexpensively as possible
Keep in mind that very few businesses get off the ground without a few false starts. That's why it is so important to fail as inexpensively as possible. If you can manage to keep your expenses low while you work through the inevitable experimentation that is required to start a business, you have a greater shot at making it. Even better, do this experimentation part-time while you're still on someone else's payroll. If you can have a full year head-start while still working your old job, you will really be ahead of the game.
For those just starting out, I highly recommend DataJobEntry.com as an inexpensive way to start a part-time business before you quit your day job. The key is that it's easy enough that you can start to build out your business part-time while you're still working. This will give you the runway you need to see what works and what doesn't. It will also help you learn what you like and what you don't about working for yourself. In the end, if you take this approach, you are much more likely to make working from home work for yourself.
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