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All of the multi-level marketing companies and infomercials out there have tainted us all. They make us believe that we could work from home – and barely work – and still make thousands each month. In reality, working from home takes a lot of hours and dedication. You will find that you are easily distracted, tasks take longer and you may even earn less per hour or per annual than you did when you worked outside of the home.
While there are definite benefits to working from home, you will only be successful if you stay organized and know what to do to stay on task and in “earning mode” during your working hours. Whether you already have a work at home job and need to refine your skill or you’re thinking of starting a home office, there are some things you need to do to be successful while working from home.
Create an Official Work Space
Your home office is your work sanctuary – and it shouldn’t be on the couch. While you can certainly plug in a few hours anywhere in the house you want, the majority of your work hours should be done in your home office. Plus, you then get the benefit of the home office deduction on your taxes. Creating an official work area will also ensure you stay focused – because the second you sit down in your work area, you know what it means mentally and physically.
Go to “Work” Everyday
Even if you aren’t leaving your home to work, you should pretend that you are going to work. That means waking up, eating breakfast, getting dressed and showing up to your workspace as if you have coworkers sharing that space with you. Getting dressed and ready for the day will make you feel “ready” and definitely boost productivity.
Turn Off Distractions
It can be hard when working from home to eliminate all distractions – such as the toddler that keeps asking for snacks. But, do what you can to minimize those distractions. That means turning off the TV, not checking social media and keeping the kids occupied while you put in a few hours.
Hold Yourself to Your Own Deadlines
You will have clients and assignments. While they may have their own deadlines, you need to hold yourself accountable for not only those deadlines, but your own. Aim for having work done a day (minimum) ahead of your clients’ deadlines. Never work on assignments the day they are due. This is not only unprofessional, but then requires you to rush – which may mean forgoing some quality.
Time Your Personal Life Around Work Life
The benefit of working from home is you make your own schedule, but realize there are limitations to this. You need to plan your professional life around your personal life – which may mean getting up earlier to complete assignments before taking the kids to school or blocking out time for family during your clients’ downtime.
Be Professional, Regardless of Where You’re Working
You may be working from home, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep it professional. You should be diligent with deadlines, professional when answering the phone and give off the impression you’re working from an office – regardless if that office is in the master bedroom.
A good way to exhibit more professionalism is to get a separate line just for your business. You can do this with a virtual phone system. With a business virtual phone service, you can setup a private number (including a toll-free number), for your clients to call you at. It is safer than handing out your personal phone number or even your home phone – so clients are not calling you and your personal number isn’t listed on your website or resume.
When it comes to virtual phone services, you want one that offers phone lines for the at-home worker or office. We suggest you look into our virtual phone system reviews, but also consider the Pay as You Go Plan from Phone.com or the Startup Plan from VirtualPBX.