Working from home is a dream for many people. You can finally live the dream of being your own boss, on your terms.
The commute from your bed to the desk cannot be beat, and if you are needed at home, you are already there.
After the first couple weeks, though, you notice that you are not as productive as you thought you would be; you have yet to find that work/life balance.
So, how do you find that balance and run a successful career from home? There are plenty of perks to working at home, but there are also many considerations to keep in mind because success is never guaranteed.
Related Article: 5 Ways To Make Work From Home Options That Work For Your Business
Before you start your work-from-home career, you need to establish boundaries, both physical and virtual; boundaries that will allow you to be more productive.
Physical boundaries include your actual office space: do you have a space in your living room dedicated to your office or, better yet, do you have a separate room that you can operate as a true office space?
Virtual boundaries are, more or less, rules that govern the way you work during the day, including when you should check your email, what your working hours are, and ensuring family members respect your work times and do not interrupt. Sticking to these boundaries and avoiding interruptions, when possible, will help to keep you on track and increase productivity. Without boundaries, there's no structure.
Create a Dedicated Home Office
If you plan on working from home, you need to have a dedicated space to your job, such as an office space. Sure, it is your home, but it is also your place of work and you need to treat it as such. You need office furniture, like a desk and chair; working at your kitchen table will not cut it. Be sure to choose an ergonomic chair for comfort throughout the day.
Don't go too cheap on your office furniture if at all possible. Since you always need to be connected, you should consider using an Internet connection that's separate from your home network.
Internet providers such as Suddenlink ensure you are always connected with the quick speeds required for meeting with clients and co-workers via video messaging.
One of the worst things that can happen to you during your work-at-home career is dropping a client because your Internet is clogged by your family using online streaming services.
Another thing to keep in mind is to decorate your office and use tools to help keep you organized. Install a whiteboard and make sure your desk has enough room for a planner or other scheduling tool so you can stay on top of projects. Keep the door shut while you're working to avoid distractions of people walking by or kids popping their heads in to say, "hello."
Employ a Solid Marketing Strategy
Successful companies do not always have the best product or service; more often than not, they are the most visible to their potential clients and other consumers. So, do not sit back and think having a superior product alone will make you successful, you need to get your products and services in front of people just to let them know you exist.
There's no such thing as overnight success. Those so-called overnight successes are companies and individuals that used successful marketing campaigns to get eyes on their product or service; more traffic equals more sales.
However, if you provide a superior product, once it goes mainstream, you can certainly capitalize on it through word of mouth, and you may even find your business exceeding the overnight successes. In the beginning, though, exposure is essential.
Read this article by Business.com’s own Amie Marse on how you can apply 6 top trends in content marketing to help your work-from-home career succeed.
Take Care of Yourself
Do not work too much. The temptation may be to work more because work is always there. Sometimes, it can feel like you never leave work because work is at home, so you need to ensure that you are taking regular breaks, just like you would in the office.
If you used to take lunch with you, make a lunch like you normally would in the morning and eat it for lunch. Make sure that you go out, even if it is just a leisurely walk in the park. Any activity away from work keeps you fresh and ready to attack tasks with more vigor, increasing productivity.
In some instances, working from home has a whole different range of items to stress about, and feeling like there's never any "you" time is certainly one of them. Take a look at Julie Ellis’ 5 ways to protect you and yours from contagious stress.
Meet and Exceed Expectations
Not everyone who works from home is running their own business; they may be telecommuting from a more traditional place of employment, or working freelance for various clients. Regardless, if you truly want to succeed at working from home, you need to meet and succeed your client’s and employer’s expectations of you.
It does not matter if you work four hours or 10 hours; if you do not get the expected results, clients will move on, and an employer may even expect you to move back into the office. Working from home is still working after all, so do not treat working from home as an extended holiday.
Buckle down and know that you'll likely have to work a little harder at keeping yourself focused. Working from home has both advantages and disadvantages; you just need to mitigate the disadvantages with a little bit of planning and a willingness to work harder than others.
Before you even take the plunge, create an organizational plan that details your working space and hours so you can share it with your family, or keep it posted in a visible area.
Working from home is certainly not for everyone, but if you can make it a successful venture, you're already one step ahead.