Would you like to start your work from home career? Converting a part of our home into an office or workspace has been a popular and emerging trend. The go-to term for the office, “home away from home”, used to be the de facto reference for the office where we spent the majority of our adult lives. Our justification was to pay the bills and put a roof over our heads. For those of us with children, we wanted to give them the best life can offer.
These are valid and even admirable goals. However, the rewards of a work from home career are limitless! You will have the ability to control your schedule, command your workload, dictate your terms, maintain family-work balance, make time for yourself and your interests, determine your income and expenses, and set your own professional reputation. Mixed in those benefits, you will get to shape your happiness. You can start your work from home career!
Before you make the leap to home career, begin with a bit of homework (pun not intended). The preparation goes a long way in giving you the best start, saving yourself unnecessary anxiety and having a game plan to stick to when the going gets rough. There is also something important you need to know: some days you may think you lost your mind, that you made a terrible decision, think you should quit before it gets crazier. Even the most confident of us who have home careers encounter these questions.
Know your talents; take inventory of abilities. What do people compliment you about? Which hobbies do you enjoy? What do you do in your spare time? What have you been doing since time eternal? Take stock and be utterly honest with yourself.
Look around you. What collections do you keep? Where do you invest your hard-earned dollars? What makes you happy? In other words, look for the things that bring a smile to your face and gives you a deep, unwavering sense of satisfaction? What have you done that gives you pride? What are you confident about?
Some even suggest that you start to ask the people who know you best about what they think you are good at. Your parents, siblings, relatives and friends can sometimes give you a perspective of yourself you may not be aware of. Alternatively, the reverse is true: they confirm what you have known about your abilities!
Can you turn your talent, skills and experience to your advantage and start your work from home career? Is there a market for your product, skill or service? Who will your customer be? What do you have to do to bring your offer to your customer, or bring your customer to your offer. These are questions that will make up your business plan. No need to panic. Look up your local government for their “community services”, “business development”, “small business”, “self-employed business” or similar terms.
Chances are, your local government wants to help you start your work from home career! Often, they have information packages and business officers ready to help you out. Accept their offer. They know your area, including types of businesses, the market, consumer needs, financial support and other initiatives to help you. Begin to network with them and use their knowledge base to get you started.
If you are in a larger city, look up the “Chamber of Commerce”. See where they can direct you. Make use of public libraries and their “self-help” resources. You will be surprised what you can find. Scour the internet and look for examples of other success stories that make an impression on you. Learn from their experience. Borrow their ideas and then custom-tailor them to fit your home career. Attend seminars or career fairs. Talk to others who work at home.
A home career requires an office. A more pleasant aspect of the opportunity to start your work from home career is fashioning an office area out of your home. You are the best judge of how much of your home can be “sacrificed” to your home career. Remember your family’s spatial needs. If you have teenagers like their privacy and play loud music, you may need to consider converting your garage into an office so there is a “formal” separation of office and home. I used my stand alone larger than usual shed as my office for five years and that worked out brilliantly!
One word of advice is to do this slowly and in small steps. Like a new house, a new office when you start your work from home career will have kinks that need ironing out. What you think could work may not. So, start with a work computer, if needed, and a meet & greet area, if you need to meet with clients. Do not use up your entire office renovation budget in the first six months. Where possible, set a small budget for further office tweaking in the first few years. After all, the saying goes: “slow and steady, wins the race!”
The possibilities are endless! A home career is “normal” and within reach more so today than ever before. The internet and eCommerce has made home careers amazingly simple. All the best to you.