9 ideas to help you decide if working from home is right for you

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Whether you are a stay at home parent looking for extra income, prospective business owner or your boss has offered to let you work from home, the prospect can be overwhelming. Where will my office space be located? How will I separate work and home life? Where is the work-life balance? How do I cultivate business and keep the home office organized? These and other questions will be answered below with our nine ideas to help you decide if working from home is right for you:

1.     Find a business that is a good fit for you. Understanding your personal wants and needs is important. Do you want a business alongside what you are currently doing? Do you want a traditional corporate job with the flexibility to work from home? Do you want to be a business owner? Find people in those businesses and ask questions to help you sift through what is best for you. Maybe your sister-in-law doesn’t think schlepping jewelry around the neighborhood for parties is a good idea. It’s not her decision! You know it is best for your family’s schedule and financial needs. If jewelry parties meet your needs then so be it.

2.     Create a business plan and write it down. No matter the type of business, everyone needs a plan. Whether a business plan for small business owners or goals for your home based business, you need a plan. Why? Because it will create goals, guide your work and make you more successful.

3.     Network. Network. Network. Remember the old saying it’s not what you know, it’s who you know? Whoever said that was right. Just because you have never owned a business doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Thousands of job seekers, for example, have become entrepreneurs. How? They know people who trust their idea, encourage its development and support it. An out of work business analyst realized her dream of being a writer by networking her way to a position with a local author and entrepreneur proving networking works.

4. Space dedicated to work: Whether the corner of your living room on a card table or a dedicated room in your home, it is essential to have a place you can go to do business. Nothing else should happen in this space. If you have a room in your home you can close the door when you are working and open when you are taking visitors (spouses, children, etc.). At the end of the work day you can close the door. You can just as easily shut down the computer if you do don’t have a dedicated room for your home office.

5.     Set office hours so business associates know when they can reach you and family and friends know when you are working. This will help eliminate distractions and create a work environment where you can focus.

6.     Schedule your time & stick to it so you know where you need to be and what you need to be doing on any given day. Some business owners find it helpful to schedule time for administrative tasks such as filing, perhaps an hour or two per week. If you have a project that needs focused energy you can schedule daily and weekly tasks to allow blocks of project time. You will get a lot more done!

7.     Evaluate how you are making us of your time. Are you making best use of it? Are you spending more than four hours on administrative tasks? Is your email inbox in the hundreds? It might be time to get a part-time assistant who can help you get and stay organized.

8.     Communicate your schedule to friends, family & clients. What are your busiest days and times for business? Maybe you are working while the kids are in school; tell your BFF you will call her in the afternoon or evening to get caught up. What times can you meet with clients? What is your plan if they want to meet you at hours that are non-business hours for you? Knowing and communicating are important to your success.

9.     It’s okay to have downtime. Spend time with those you care about including YOU.  It is important to keep business in perspective; putting it to the side to have quiet time with yourself and fun time with loved ones.

Deciding to work from home creates an interesting set of options to consider. We hope we have helped you sort through your concerns and begin to develop a plan that is right for you.


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