Okay, kids. Today’s lesson will be “How to Survive And Succeed At Working From Home.”
He-he…I feel like a teacher typing that. But seriously. This is important stuff, so listen up! I WISH someone had told me this earlier…I did find out eventually, but only after feeling like a massive failure for not being instantly successful.
I’m going to share these five tips with you, so if you are just in the early stages of your work at home career, or if you’ve forgotten them because you’re so wrapped up in trying to earn a buck, keep on reading.
Here are five things that you NEED in order to make a successful career when working at home.
Yes, you work at home, but that doesn’t mean you are available to every person that needs you, every time. This is personally very hard for me, because I am MOM, She Who Does All Things. I have a toddler at home, a daughter with autism, and a teen who thinks I don’t know what he’s up to. It’s hard to shut out all those obligations when I’m just working from my kitchen table, but it has to be done.
For me, it means getting up early to plan the day, then sending the toddler to Mom’s morning out three mornings a week so I can focus on client work. That’s roughly 12-13 hours of uninterrupted time (if my husband is at work) that I can push through and get stuff done.
For you, it might mean a room in your home (actual, physical boundaries) that you can go to at set times and work your business. Or, it might mean going to the library and using their free WiFi, or Starbucks, as long as you can shut out the noise around you. (This doesn’t work if you are like me and talk to yourself out loud as you work, lol!)
Treat your business like a business. Set some hours, whenever you can work, and tell the rest of the world to eff off while you GSD (get stuff done.) I know there will be interruptions to your plan, but if you stick to it even 60% of the time, you’ll be miles ahead of those people who don’t.
Okay, kids, here’s where I tell you to NOT be like me. See that photo up there? That’s Coco Kitty, snoozing on my “office”. It’s not even a desk, it’s a table, in the kitchen. (No, we don’t eat off of it, otherwise she’d never be let on there!)
It’s a disaster area, for sure. It’s improving, and will continue to improve until I learn how to never be disorganized again, which will probably be after the kids are grown and moved away.
More importantly, you need to organize your work, your thoughts, and your day so that you don’t wake up, wander through the day, and end it having made no money. I’ve done that. Working for content mills for so long has given me bad habits, because so much of my time was spent looking for work, and very little was spent actually earning anything.
Whatever you do, have a plan in place for your precious time. I can’t always work 8 hours a day, because I have kids and commitments. So, when I don’t make a plan for my time, it gets used up doing stupid stuff like Facebook gorging and website surfing. I hate getting to the end of the day and seeing my time was wasted, and you will, too. Make a basic schedule or list of goals that you need to achieve every day, and stick to it.
I like to tell people I have Adult Onset ADD. I don’t really, but it feels like it sometimes. I’ve always been a pantser, or someone who just does stuff by the seat of my pants. I get distracted way too easily. I love shiny, new things. This is really bad for business if you want to succeed at home.
Focus and organization are sort of like twins. They complement each other really well! Once you’re organized, it’s easier to focus. If you have a goal, you can laser in on that one goal and work it until it’s completed.
Admittedly, I’m still struggling with this one, and I think a lot of people do, even seasoned marketers and writers do. You have to keep being mindful of your focus, or you’ll lose it so easily.
My tips for focusing on your work are simple. Turn off email, Facebook, etc. and just have what you need open. Maybe put a post-it note on the wall with your goal on it, so you can see what you’re working towards, or a photo that reminds you of the reason why you’re working so hard in the first place.
I’ll bet you want to work from home because it means you can do whatever you want, when you want to. Right? I did. Or, I used to feel that way, until I realized you can’t just show up when you feel like it and earn a living online.
Yes, you can get to a point where you only work an hour a day and still earn a decent living, but that won’t happen soon or early in your career. You’ll have to put in the legwork, learning the ins and outs of your chosen profession, and you’ll have to spend time marketing yourself/your product/whatever to get people to give you money.
This is going to mean showing up, putting in the effort, and working your business daily. I rarely take days off, partly because I love what I do, and partly because if I did, it would be so easy to lose what little momentum I’ve built up.
I give up tv nights, hours of aimless shopping, and even time in the backyard with the kids because I need to build my business to a place of strength and security before I can “slack”. It sounds harsh, but I promise you, it’s the only thing that will work. You need to put the time and effort in before you can enjoy success, and that inevitably means sacrificing something.
Writers are not the most confident people. We doubt our abilities often, even when we get great feedback. Any job that has a high rejection rate can wreck your self-confidence, but so can other things.
Whenever I make a product or book that doesn’t sell immediately, I start to doubt myself. That is the killer of all online businesses! If you don’t believe in yourself, how can others believe in you?
You have to believe in yourself and your skills or you’ll give up on your business before it ever has a chance to succeed. Yes, the first few years of most new businesses are the hardest. Many businesses fail because people just give up when the going gets hard and stays that way for a while.
I want to tell you to not give up. Believe in yourself, keep pushing through, and build your business slowly if you need to. There’s no shame in working outside the home while you build your business those first few years. Or starting a business while you’re a full-time employee somewhere. The point is, it’s YOUR business, and you are the only one who can make it work for you. Do it on your own terms, but just do it!