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Tips For Working From Home

What You Need to Know For Working From Home

There's a great feature in the May issue of Marie Claire called "Home Work" that's, surprise surprise, all about working from home. It profiles a day-in-the-life of four women in different careers who all work from home, and those women are only a very small fraction of the four million Americans who work from home full-time and the 20 million who telecommute part-time. Making the transition from office-work to home-work is tougher than most would think, and career coach and home-office worker Nicole Williams gives these seven tips for starting business from the same place you sleep.

  • Set boundaries: Even if you live in a studio, create a corner that's designated for work, and spend finite hours in it, based on industry standards and your own rhythms.
  • Don't undersell yourself: Don't undersell yourself: When setting rates, research your competitors and calculate what you need to live on. And know that just because you love something doesn't mean you shouldn't make real money at it.
  • Give it time: You have no team, no assistant. Things take longer now, so give yourself a couple of weeks to figure out your pace.

There are four more tips so just

  • Stagger pitches: Hearing "no" can be deflating, and the last thing you want to do afterward is start from scratch, so always have something in the hopper that you can turn to.
  • Hire yourself a boss: Find a career coach with solid credentials — or an accountability buddy — to help you meet goals.
  • Uninspired? Work through it: You know those days when you didn't feel like going to the office, but you shook off your funk by working? Do the same at home: Be disciplined, and a few hours in, you'll be out of the fog.
  • Don't quit: It's going to take time before you start making money. But if you're realistic and you persevere, there's nothing in the world like working for yourself.


Join The Conversation
tweet-hotpants tweet-hotpants 9 years
TidalWave- thanks for your insight. My schedule is pretty flexible so your idea of breaking up the work day sounds good. These are all great ideas!
juju4 juju4 9 years
In this day of 24/7 access via blackberry, etc. I think employers are taking advantage of exempt employees. I think there HAS to be some kind of limit to the hours that a person is expected to be available, even if they are working from home. And a vacation day should still be a vacation day. My husband works with attorneys, and they were calling us on our HONEYMOON!! (At 8am, no less).
mymaria mymaria 9 years
I just found this special section of dedicated to working at home:
mymaria mymaria 9 years
There are some great ideas in here. I work from a home office 2 for weeks every three weeks and have to say the thing that got me to be the most productive is to set up the office fully and have the tv off, stay away from the kitchen, etc. It made a much bigger difference than I thought it would to have everything all set up. And I would say it is worth the extra expense to go ahead and buy a good printer, comfortable executive or desk chair, good lighthing and any other supplies to make it as close to a corporate office as possible so you feel more accountable. Breaking the day a bit is good too, with taking short breaks every here and there as well. As for communicating with others, I do my best to try and schedule activities for after work, or will alot myself a little bit of time to chat online for some social interaction, or even just going to grab a coffee and interacting with whoever is at the shop.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I'm looking into medical transcription so I can work at home. When I sit down to work I get sucked in and will be able to work at home successfully and probably make more money than working in an office and save money not having to buy clothes,lunch and commute. I also don't really like to be bothered when I'm working so it's nice not to have people I work with talking to you when you're totally not interested in what they are saying.
LizL LizL 9 years
I am due with my first child in May, and I would love to stay home with him, but I am a little hesitant at leaving my job. I belive it can be done with my position. I work in the home office of a large Insurance company, and have known women who telecommmute. I am willing to make it part time. How do I approach my boss about telecommuting?
hkdkat hkdkat 9 years
I work from home 1-3 days a week depending on the week. It is very nice to have the flexibility to be able to stay home when needed and not face traffic or commute time every single day!
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
tweet: can you make your own flexible schedule, or do you have to be available from 8-5? If the former, break up your schedule! Spend an hour or so doing your morning contacts, then make yourself a nice breakfast. Then do some more work, then a nice lunch and maybe a walk. Or a walk an hour or two after lunch. I broke my day up into 2.5-3 hour chunks. Keep the tv off and away from your work area. Put your phone out of reach (so you won't be tempted to make personal calls that might take up more time than you expected). If you start to feel yourself tired or getting distracted, then get up and do something. Clean up the kitchen or something, then go back and get on track. Just experiment with it and see what works for you. You might even want to work from a coffee shop for a few hours to get yourself out of the house. Or if there is a nearby park you could bring papers or something work-related to browse over for thirty minutes.
tweet-hotpants tweet-hotpants 9 years
i just found out that my husband and i are moving (air force- they tend not to give a whole lot of notice!) and my boss said i could keep my job and telecommute! i'm really happy because i hate looking for jobs. Does anyone have any advice on how to discipline yourself to work the full 8 hours a day from home?! i think that's going to be my biggest challenge. i'll probably get distracted pretty easily.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Thanks for the info, SkinnyMarie. I may just have to look into this.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I know a bunch of people who do medical transciptions at home. They make a lot of money, but you have to buy the right equipment. my fiance is a government worker and gets to work from home 2 days a week. I got him a desk and put it in a room away from the tv and he loves it. His office is also next to the FDIC field office for PA and he says that they are never there because they work from home all the time. There are a lot of government jobs that allow you to do this.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Extra cash is always a plus!
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Damn, that's what I was worried about, too. I don't want to get involved in a scam... I'm just looking for a way to make a little extra cash when I have spare time. :(
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I saw something about medical transcription that I might look into. We'll see. The other thing people don't mention about working from home: LONELY! I miss talking to people, interacting, having lunch. We just moved to a new town and it's HARD to meet people when you work from home!
steen steen 9 years
I've been looking into a telecommute job; just something part-time for now, to assist with my full-time job salary but, if I have the discipline, I'd love to find something full-time.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Wow, I would love to work for home but I understand where your coming from Renees3. I've been looking for more than two years at least to find something pt or even ft and there are a lot of scams out there - I am just amazed.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I work for a company that sells foreclosure listings and I do in house advertising for them. Basically there was no way I could work from home, my company didn't do that. But I got a new boss that didn't know how to do ANYTHING and when I told him I was moving out of town (so boyfriend could go to school) he was like You can't Leave! and set it up so I could work from home. I've been wanting to do more from home stuff, since I do have free time on my hands, it'd be nice to do some side stuff, but I feel like there's so many scams out there, I don't know what other legit work from home stuff there is.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
I worked from home, but still through my job at the time, for a summer. It was a small office and everyone basically went away for the summer, but we still did our work at home and communicated wirelessly. I actually liked it and was able to self-discipline myself. I could make myself nice lunches and schedule my day in smaller chunks. Giving myself time to run during the day or take a good long walk to relax. I really enjoyed the flexibility but it does take some determination to get yourself settled into a routine.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I wish I could work from home more often, but I'm not sure how I'd be at forgoing the social atmosphere I currently have here at work.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
What do you do, Renees3? I've always been kind of interested in working from home... but more on the side so I can support my obsessive Urban Outfitters habit. :)
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I work from home and people always think it's easier than it is. Or they say "Ooh I'd be able to watch TV all day" It's really hard to separate home and work life and can be really hard to get motivated.
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