What It's Like to Work at Home
Everyone hears about what it's like to work at home and imagines what it would be like for them. They would wake up, make coffee and walk to the other room to work instead of getting into the morning commute. They could work in their pajamas and take an afternoon off whenever they feel like it. Without a nasty boss to deal with and annoying co-workers yapping on about their lives it'll be great, right? No, not really. Actually, working at home is usually nothing at all like people imagine it will be. Whether it's a home business or a work at home job, the hazards are much the same. Here are some of the most common work at home myths.
Myth #1: You'll Be More Productive
Not in a million years. You will be much less productive. Not only do you have to do everything yourself, especially if you own the business, but none of your friends or relatives will take you seriously. People will constantly drop in, ask you to babysit and call you in the middle of the day just to chat. When you tell them you have to work, they will seem a little confused. Friends may eventually decide to humor you or they may decide you're a nut job and stop speaking to you. Family members will never, ever understand. They will be highly offended when you say you can't stop work to go shopping for kitchen towels.
When you work at home, you will be faced with a million distractions that simply don't exist in the workplace. The housework piled up around you will actually look pretty inviting when you have a looming deadline. There is also the call of snacks and errand breaks that take you away from your work. You still have to make money from home, but you'll end up putting in longer hours to do so than you would if you worked for someone else.
Myth #2: Working at Home Means No More Boss
If you own your own business and you're running it from home, it feels great at first to not have a boss standing over you. But, gradually you realize that you do have a boss. You actually have lots more bosses than you did before. Your customers and business clients are the difference between eating and starving to death at your desk. They are all your bosses and they can be much bigger pains than your workplace boss ever was.
Myth #3: You're Building Valuable Business Experience
You may believe that running your own home business is great work experience that will be highly valuable to any future employer. Since you're doing so many tasks, including inventory, accounting, bookkeeping, IT and marketing, it will look great on a resume someday. You couldn't be more wrong.
Employers look at your time as a home business owner as a gap in your resume. Seriously. They won't take any business seriously that you yourself own, no matter what type of business it was and no matter how much you earned. It can actually keep you from being able to get a job later, even with your new and improved skills.
Myth #4: Flexible Working Hours
When you work at home, you make yor own hours, right? You can just take off for an afternoon if you want to and make it up some other time. You are in charge of your hours and how much you work. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You are actually much, much less in charge of your hours than you were when you worked for someone else. You can't take a sick day and know that the other people in the office will get everything done. You work when you're sick, you work during your vacations as well. With no office to take care of things, you have to take care of all of your customers and clients- even if it's Spring Break or Christmas Eve.
Myth #5: The Business Deductions Mean More Profit
Think of all the deductions! The home office deduction alone should make it worthwhile, right? Wrong. The home office deduction is a red flag to the IRS. You are much more likely to be audited if you take this deduction. Then, any mistakes you've made in your record keeping and accounting will be on trial.
Not only that, but taking the deduction means that your business owns part of your home. If you were to be sued, your home could be lost, even if you are incorporated. To keep your assets safe, you have to incorporate and not take the home office deduction. This costs thousands in filing and accounting fees each year, not to mention the amount of time you have to take from your business to keep the records. And on top of that, you have to find time to make a living.
If you really want to work at home, you think can put up with the yelling bosses, the constant hardware expenses, the distractions and the scoffs- go for it. Just don't say you weren't warned.
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