Working From Home – The Self-Employed Guide
Everyone dreams of being able to work from home someday but it ain’t as easy as it seems. It takes discipline and a great deal of perseverance to make it work.
If you think about it, having a regular full-time office job takes care of fixing your schedule for you, establishing your routine, and setting your goals. Your boss, your tasks, or projects help you determine your priorities. Having co-workers makes it easier to collaborate and socialize with people. The management determines who to work with and guarantees the business is profitable.
When you work from home and are self-employed, you don’t get the benefit of having all these things organized for you. You are your own boss and you set your ground rules. There are pros and cons to this setup but as long as you keep a checklist to keep you focused, there’s no reason to fret. Soon enough, you’ll realize (and also reap!) the benefits of setting your own pace at work.
Needless to say, before you can start seeing the value (money wise) from your work, having a checklist is a good start to establishing your routine and setting grounds for discipline. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Plan Ahead
Create your own business plan! You don’t need to spend days doing this. You don’t need to create graphs or any kind of presentation document. All you have to do is to come up with your set of objectives and goals.
Your business plan should include details on what you hope to achieve for the month/year, how do you plan to get there and what are your priorities. Plan ahead and evaluate performance on regular periods - monthly, quarterly, and annually. If a plan did not materialize, review the challenges and determine ways on how you can avoid mishaps from happening in the future. If a project went well, find out what made it successful and be sure to replicate. You need to be able to steer your business to whichever direction it needs to go. To do this, understand your own strengths and weaknesses so that there’s no outcome you have not prepared for.
2. Manage Your Time / Schedule
One of the perks of working from home is setting your own working hours. Easy as it sounds, for many it is the most difficult to manage.
More often than not there are tasks that we prefer to do more than others and those take more of our time than necessary. It’s easy to lose track of time when you enjoy what you do. However, allowing this to happen won’t let you accomplish anything.
Do not attempt to multi-task. Doing two things (or more) at a time will not help you accomplish them faster.
Establish your routine. Allot time for each task. Set an alarm or a reminder and stick to it. Doing so will allow you to stay focused and you’d be crossing off more tasks on your checklist without you noticing it.
Don’t forget to take breaks! There’s no point in working from home if you work yourself to bed every day. Take time to rest in between tasks, when you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
3. Avoid Distractions
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re close to all the things you love. It’s important that you choose which area in your home to consider as your working space. Your working space should allow you to use your tools as needed, have the right ambiance - proper light structure and some peace and quiet.
If you’re a parent, make sure to let your kids know when it is time for work. Hang a sign on the door of the room so that they don’t barge in while you’re working. You can also share your schedule with them so that they know when you are available or otherwise.
As tempting as it may be, do not work from the bed. Set your mind and body ready for work. Working from the bed does not do this and will prevent you from staying focused.
4. Improve Your Knowledge and Skills
Competition is always just right around the corner. Take advantage of free courses, watch videos from YouTube, search the web to stay updated on the latest trends. From time to time, reach out to old workmates or managers and find out what they’re working on.
When you’re always learning, it keeps you motivated and reminds you to always be on top of the game. If it takes you an hour to do them today, if you find a method which allows you to do it quicker while still being accurate, go ahead and adopt the style. When you beat the competition because of what you know and what you can do, you can spend less effort and time in looking for new clients and instead they will be reaching out to you.
Learning about new ways you can do certain tasks will help you get more efficient and manage your time better.
There’s no reason to get stuck at home just because you work from home. Grow your network. Go out and meet new people.
People who work from home often get isolated and depressed. Let’s admit it. Not all kinds of people get to understand the value and set up of working from home. Thus, making conversations difficult and limited.
Don’t let this happen. Reach out to friends, co-workers and socialize. You can also join groups on Facebook or any social media platform and connect with people who have a similar line of work. In doing so, you will find best practices you might want to implement and find people to talk to who would have the same interests. Maintaining your social life will help you boost your mental health and productivity.
Do not limit yourself to this list and build your own based on your experience and what you hope to achieve.
If you have a question about self-employment and what the self-employment program through Vocational Rehabilitation is all about, please contact us! At Portals LLC, we endeavor to empower our clients to reach their employment and independent living goals.