If you’re thinking about or just starting out being your own boss, working from home, you might want to prepare yourself for some of these. If you’re already on that path just think about how many times you have heard things like
“oh you work from home, I’d love to sit around in my jammies all day”
“Being your own boss must be amazing”
“When are you going to get a real job”
“But you’re your own boss you can just make the time up”
“Well I knew you’d be home”
“Seriously, you’re still working”
“Take a break”
“I get mates rates right?”
“you charge how much?”
“It must be easy working for yourself”
Below are some of the main difficulties when it comes to being your own boss. Especially when it comes to working from home.
You have to be accountable to yourself. The decisions you make, the actions you take are down to you. Deadlines, workflow & structure are your responsibility. Something goes wrong it is on you. You can’t just keep putting things off because you don’t want to deal with them, you’ll end up in a downward spiral before you know it.
Equally when it goes right you can be so proud of yourself and what you’ve achieved.
Just like accountability, when things are going badly it’s a huge pressure on your business and your personal life.
Remember it’s a business you are running. Just because it is from home doesn’t make it any less important to know your numbers.
Make sure you know your numbers, not just at the start but REGULARLY, review and adapt where needed. Set budgets for marketing, resources, advertising, support etc. Work out what is worth investing in and what’s a money drain.
Making money from doing something that you love and are good at isn’t wrong, and certainly isn’t something you should avoid or “deal with later”.
Value yourself and your time.
You don’t get paid for holidays or sick time. Any quiet periods, unexpected bills, investments need to be accounted for etc. You also have to account for your overheads and time in every aspect of your business.
And yes, it’s nice to be nice, it’s nice to help people out, it’s nice to gift someone your product / service but don’t be taken for granted. Go with what is right for you and your people and always remember to value yourself.
Dealing with Disruption
When you work from home there is an unwritten assumption by many of your friends and family that you are always “around”. That it’s ok to just pop in.If you live with others it might also be a bit of a struggle to find space and peace to work.
Make sure that you are clear with people, that this is your business. Make space where you can work effectively, even if that means renting office space, working in the library or local coffee shop every now and then.
First things first – Be your own biggest cheerleader!
There will always be someone, somewhere trying to pull you down. BUT like everything else, there will also be someone, somewhere cheering you on and kicking your ass.
You will find a WONDERFUL NETWORK of people out there on the World Wide Web. You will also find a lot of charlatans and “users”. Don’t just go randomly sharing every ounce of yourself and your business with the first group that looks friendly. Spend some time getting to know people, learn how to network, build relationships.
If you don’t have someone at home that gets the whole business thing, the frustrations, the highs and lows, find someone who does. It’s hard going trying to keep everything in your own head.
Setting Boundaries in a Digital Age
If you run a lot of your work and marketing online, social media in particular, you need to set yourself some boundaries.
People think you’re open 24 hours a day and are at their beck and call. Set up some auto-responders for when you aren’t around. Don’t allow yourself to be available all of the time it will become an expectation.
I’m guessing one of the reasons you decided to go it alone was wanting out of the rat race, to be able to spend more time with family & friends, enjoying your life more. If you’re constantly working and answering messages, calls notifications, you’re making it difficult for yourself.
Looking After Yourself
If you’re working from home it can be sooo easy to fall in to the trap of getting up and starting work straight away.
Unless you have some structure in place you can easily find yourself having reached mid-afternoon and realising you’ve had nothing to eat, you’ve only moved from your desk to grab a cuppa and straight back at it again.
It’s also easy to work ridiculously long hours because you don’t have to head home, because you can sit there in comfy clothes (and yes even jammies).
If you were back in the work place working 16 hour days, 7 days a week, with little to no breaks, you’d be putting in a grievance against your boss.
Please feel free to share your own experiences and tips in the comments below.
If you would like help developing yourself and your business please get in touch