If working from home full time is something you're considering, you should think twice about it before jumping in. It definitely has its advantages—less money out of pocket on commuting and lunches, afternoons off because you just feel like it, and yes, even working in your PJ's from your favorite comfy chair. As great as that sounds, it's not for everyone. I know; I've been working from home for 10 years, and it takes a certain discipline and mindset to make a go of it.
Wondering if you fit the profile of a work-at-home entrepreneur? Think you’d be able to survive the days of unstructured time and day-long freedom? I put together this quick self-assessment below to help guide your decision on whether working from home is right for you.
Work at Home Self-Assessment
1. Disciplined self-starter. Are you able to sit down and get to work or are you the type who fritters away a morning with no idea what you did with the time?
If you chose the latter, procrastinators and perfectionists alike need to think twice. If you need someone looking over your shoulder to stay motivated, working from home is going to be a challenge.
Discipline and time-management skills are essential to working from home because the temptations and distractions are plenty. You need to be able to break big projects into smaller tasks and stick to a project timeline without slacking off on artificial deadlines.
2. Independent spirit. Are you happy working independently or do you thrive in a team environment?
Water cooler junkies be warned, if you look forward to the daily ritual of gathering and gossiping with your coworkers, know that as a work-at-home entrepreneur your social interactions are limited.
Establishing your own social network is vital to your work-at-home success (and sanity) either via social media or through regular networking or masterminding meet-ups.
3. Tech-savvy technician. Are you comfortable wading through the help files to figure out the solution or do you rely on the daily support of the IT department?
Techno-timid types take heed, working at home means you are the IT department. If something breaks, you need to be able to fix it or find the right service provider to do the job right.
Learn what user-forums provide useful (and easy-to-access) information on the most common IT challenges and grab a handful of the “For Dummies” books on the hardware and software you use the most.
4. Strict boundary enforcer. Are you able to shut-off your mobile devices and leave work behind or are you the type who takes work home with you?
Chronic workaholics be warned, it's easy to fall into the trap of working constantly when work is only a few feet away or, thanks to the miracle of modern computing, able to follow you around the house wherever you go.
Create work-life boundary rules, like never turning on the TV during office hours or no work during family time. It’s important to remember the home part of working at home and giving yourself the benefit of downtime.
5. Perpetual learner. Are you comfortable diving in and learning new skills with or without guidance from an instructor?
Chances are that unless you were employed by a small business, and had your hands in a lot of different aspects of the operations, you have a lot of learning to do—whether it’s how to set up an e-mail marketing campaign or how to navigate the corporate reporting requirements.
Seek out entrepreneurial resources, peer groups and business mentors to help you fill in the gaps. The key is being prepared to do the work to learn what you don’t know (even if you don’t exactly know what you don’t know yet).