Sure, when working from home we save on gas, dry cleaning, clothing, and even contact lens solution. We have no commute, and don’t have to drive in bad weather conditions. But at times you may find yourself wishing that you had somewhere to go besides the next room. And while it’s really pretty mundane to most people, sometimes the simplest outings like a trip to the grocery store, can be a bit of an exciting event or a nice break in the day.
If you are at all extroverted, working from home is not always easy. In the winter months, when everyone is moody and crabby anyway, the isolation factor can get magnified. Even if you are relatively introverted, you may find yourself wanting to spend more time with other people.
BREAK OUT: At the end of the day when most are ready to come home and relax, home-based agents can tire of looking at the surrounding four walls and are ready to get out! The problem for most of us is that it’s hard to leave work alone. The office is always there, after all. “Maybe I’ll check one more supplier.” “Oh my gosh, did I proof that last email?” It’s hard to break away.
If you are longing for a break, I see several possibilities. Take your laptop to a coffeehouse. Coffeehouses do seem to be the new mobile office, and you can have fun while working there. They are a place where you can meet other home-based business owners, and strike up conversations and maybe some business as a bonus. Another option is to schedule lunches with friends or clients regularly.
NO GUARDS: All the sites promise you that you can run successful business from home without a boss, or at least not one looking over your shoulder all the time, yet I’ve had great bosses previous to taking my business home. Bosses who helped me grow, supported my ideas, highlighted my strong points, coached me on weak points, and gave me role models and opportunities. I replaced the traditional boss with “business buddies” or mentors who were willing to let me bounce ideas around and brainstorm with them.
Remember, there will always be someone that you need to be accountable to. If you think a boss is difficult to please, wait until you are trying to please certain clients.
DISCIPLINE: Distractions are hard to resist. Could you throw in a load of laundry? Play with the kids? Call your mother? Stop at the grocery store? While we do have more flexibility than friends who are working 8-5, if we stop working to do something else, we generally have to make up the time somehow, just as you would if you were working outside of the home in an office.
Although the benefits are numerous, the truth is, working from home can be overly romanticized – Work is work!
Most people I know who really work from home, full-time, earning serious income, know that running a business from home requires discipline and rules. If you brought your toddler to work, you couldn’t spend your time chasing after her, could you? No, you are getting paid to perform services for a company. The same principle applies when you work from home. Any promise of “no child care” is not very realistic, unless you are able to stagger your hours.
DOING THE TIME: Don’t be impatient. It’s been almost twenty years since I started working from home. Along the way I have continued to develop self-discipline, worked on gaining the clientele, and every day I challenge myself to learn something new.
POSTING BAIL: To secure the release of (someone – yourself) by providing security. You’re not limited by hourly pay when you work at home. No one has yet made a law regulating how many hours you can work in a week if you work at home. That means more money in your pocket if you’re willing to put in the extra hours to get the work done. But, you have to show collateral and make a concerted effort to grow.
REHABILITATION: To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy. Make your work surroundings conducive to being as productive and pleasant as possible. As an example, my desk faces out to a large window and, when the weather is nice, I sometimes work on my patio.
GOOD BEHAVIOR. Working at home is hard work! But by taking good care of yourself, disciplining your business and creating rules that you can live by, you will be paroled from the “House Arrest Syndrome” and released from that feeling that you are in jail. Set yourself free!
Anita Pagliasso is the author of “How I Made A Small Fortune as a Home-Based Travel Agent” “From Home-Based to POWERHOUSE” and “Anita’s Toolbox for Home-Based Agents CD”(www.redticketproductions.com), President, Host Agency Ticket To Travel (www.travelagentathome.com), Travel Agent Forum Conference Director, and PATH President & Executive Board Member. Finally Anita is also a professional educator with The Travel Institute, www.thetravelinstitute.com.