I stand on my front porch in little more than basketball shorts and a cut off t-shirt I am pretty sure commemorates someone else’s participation in a 10K run. I almost shovel my cereal in my mouth to make sure it doesn’t get mushy and to make sure no morsel has to swim alone awaiting its fate in my mouth. I see my neighbor doing his morning dance too; one shoe on and one in his hand, stopping only long enough to move his kids bike from behind the car. I slurp the remaining milk in my bowl, pledge to have another cup of coffee, turn, and walk back inside. This is my morning. No concerns about whether I’ll be late or not. No worry that the boss will see me hustling in, disheveled like an extra from The Walking Dead. I am the boss. I am dressed for work. And the coffee is made just right for my tastes.
It seems like the perfect life, no? No one telling you what to do or when to do it? Of course it does. But immature choices like that can help you get fired from such a sweet gig or make you have to close up shop for lack of business and clients. The following 5 strategies will help you make working from home a successful adventure and not a torturous venture!
1. SETUP AN OFFICE SPACE
No, a cubicle isn’t necessary and neither do you have to spring for an office suite from IKEA or Pottery Barn. What you do need though is a dedicated space to work from. It doesn’t have to be a separate room but perhaps a desk in the corner of a quiet spot in the house where you can leave your files, computer chargers, pens, etc. will allow you to be more efficient. No one says it can’t be unorthodox (using a rubber exercise ball instead of an ergonomic, lumbar, chair) and can’t have your entire Star Wars PEZ collection on the edge. But it does need to be isolated from where the kids do their homework, your flat screen TV hangs out, or you had to put your kegerator.
2. MAKE A SCHEDULE
It is best to give yourself a bit of a schedule so you can establish the proper balance of personal and professional time. Working at home doesn’t mean you have to take office calls as midnight or that you can sluff off from clients and head to the beach instead. It means that you create a parameter of success for yourself where you can let your clients know they can depend on you.
3. BE AN EXTROVERT
One of the things you gain from an office environment are relationships and opportunity to converse and interact. When you are working from home – by yourself – you miss out on those opportunities so you have to create them for yourself. To help with this consider using the phone more and email less. When you go out for lunch, speak to people. Point of the matter is you don’t want to lose valuable “soft” skills just because you have a gained the freedom to work from home.
4. BE SMART WITH MONEY
Owning your own home business means you don’t have a company to offer retirements plans, savings accounts, gym memberships, etc. You are now on your own with that. Be diligent and work hard to make sound investments for your day-to-day life and your retirement.
5. BECOME YOUR OWN I.T.
Remember when you worked in a large office and your email wouldn’t work right? You just took it to IT and asked them to fix it. More than likely they did, and quick! Those days are over. Working from home will be incredibly easier if you become your own IT department. Look to something like ODesk to hire your own IT guy or take courses online regarding your computer and devices. They are also available through stores like Apple and Office Max and even through adult learning and night classes.
In addition you may want to take the time to learn more about productivity software that will help you in your quest to be successful while working from home. Look into Apps like JoinMe.com, Go To Meeting, Google+ Hangouts, etc.