Work From Home Struggles
I am sitting in the library right now surrounded by screaming kids and I'm thinking, "Great, I already was having an unproductive day."
Sometimes you can write these days off when you work from home, but if you do that too often, then you can end up taking a huge hit on your motivation, productivity, and income.
However, the kids did get me thinking about an article to write about the biggest struggles of working from home.Lord knows I have faced (and still do face) my share of struggles.
Over the years I have seen a pattern in people who have failed online, and I have to admit that there are many things that can influence your success or failure when you work from home.
Following are the five biggest struggles I have seen in others and in myself.
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1. Work-Life Balance
Working from home means that you do not have an office to go out to, unless, I suppose, you are making a ton of money and can rent out an office.
Although, you can go to the library or a coffee shop, but if you are trying to focus on something, and you don't want to be distracted, it is often better to be in a place of quiet like an office.
Many people have an in-home office that they work from, and it is important to try to make this office a place of work and not just another room in the house.
However, even though it is supposed to be your office, it is still a part of your home. This means that you can easily get drawn into the office to check emails, stats, and all kinds of other work-related issues when you are not supposed to be working. And you can easily get drawn out of the office to check on kids, pets, or the latest episode of Dr. Phil when you are supposed to be working.
Also, because your office is at home, you can easily spend extra hours working. I know I have worked well into the night on many occasions and came out of my office to find my husband asleep.
In addition, because you make your own hours when you work from home, you have to schedule in some days off or you could easily end up working 7 days a week.
Things that I do to separate work from home is:
- Keep the office door shut on non-work hours as a reminder to stay out of it and focus on personal life.
- Schedule at least one day per week where I do not work at all.
- Ensure I get everything I need to get done in scheduled work time so I am not left thinking about what I need to do 'after hours'.
- Keep distractions out of the office when I am working (phone, dogs, etc.)
A happy and healthy life is all about balance, and in addition to achieving goals in life, it is important to be able to spend time with your family and give yourself some 'you' time in order to be happy at work and in life.
2. Motivation To Work
I would have to say that this is the second biggest struggle when you work from home - at least for me. It can be very hard to stay focused and motivated when you have many distractions around you.
The phone, TV, and surfing on the web can all take time away from your work and cause you to stop taking action on your work.
The negative thing about losing motivation is that you stop working towards your goals, which ultimately decreases your income. For most people who work from home, their income is a direct result of how much energy they put forth towards their work; therefore, lack of motivation can be detrimental to your income.
Besides distractions, your ability to get things done can dwindle when there is not a boss looking over your shoulder or any coworkers depending on you to get your work done. When you are doing it solely for yourself, it can be easy to fall behind on what you need to do.
The best way to keep motivation high is to keep your goals in mind. For example:
Have a short-term, medium-term goal, and long-term goal that you are working towards. By having a short-term goal (something you want to accomplish in a week or two), you always have something to get up for and work towards.
In addition, because your short-term goal should influence your medium-term goal (something you want to accomplish in 1-6 months), and your medium-term goal should influence your long-term goal (something you want to accomplish in 6-12 months), you can easily stay committed to a bigger cause.
For instance, when writing an eBook, I may make a short-term goal of writing 10,000 words in a week. Of course, that goal will help me reach my medium-term goal of 50,000 words, which in turn will help me reach my long-term goal of finishing the eBook. Without the goals, I am likely to not write anything in the week or month! (I know, I've done it many times.)
3. Where To Focus Your Attention
There are many different things you can do when you work from home. Making money is a matter of deciding what route you want to take and sticking with it. If you try to exert your energy in too many different directions, then you end up getting nothing done - fast.
The problem is that most people who work from home have many ideas and business ventures that they would like to explore, and choosing one or two can be very hard to do.
Personally I struggle between ghostwriting, writing eBooks, focusing on blogs, and even writing on HubPages. In addition, inside of each of those avenues for making money, there is a lot of little things that need focus such as social media and interacting with others online.
Often, it can be overwhelming when there are so many things you want to do, and this cause you to lose focus and, sometimes, even just give up.
I often feel like I am missing out on some big opportunity because I am focusing on one thing or another, but if I don't stay focused on one or two tasks then I will never get anything done.
A guy named Mark Joyner has developed a productivity tool called Simpleology, and one of the first things I learned from him was that in order to get things done, you have to put your energy on a specific target. It is much easier to accomplish a goal when you are focused on it, but it is hard to hit a goal when you are focused on many different things. Your energy gets displaced in many different directions in that case, and your target gets very little of the energy you are putting out. Therefore, it is important to stay focused on your targets if you want to hit them and succeed.
4. Following Crappy Advice
In order to succeed online you have to be in a constant state of learning. Understanding what works and what doesn't is important to success no matter which route you take.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel when you work from home, as there are many successful people that you can learn from. However, sometimes there are unsuccessful people who give crappy advice that leads you down the wrong road and takes away from success.
For example, when I first started trying to make money online, I found an ad titled "Make money by entering simple data online." It seemed to be a data entry job, and since I had done data entry offline, I figured that it was a real thing that could be done. However, after I signed up to learn how to do it, I quickly realized that it was not just 'simple data entry'. It was affiliate marketing, and it required a lot of work if you were going to make any money.
After many years online, I can now see that I was led down many wrongs roads while trying to become successful as an affiliate marketer, which is why eventually I just stopped trying to be successful as one.
If I had found someone in the beginning who knew what they were talking about, and had given me awesome advice, then I might be making really good money as an affiliate marketer right now considering I would have years under my belt - but crappy advice was what I found instead.
My point is, if you can find good advice, and follow a blueprint of success, then you will have a much better chance of succeeding in the area you choose to work at as you work from home.
The best way to do that is to follow the chatter. If you hear about Mark Joyner, for example, then ensure that you do some research on him before you jump into his programs or follow his advice. If he has helped many people, and is receiving some praise, then you are on to something, but if he talking out of his ass, and only has fake reviews posted on his site without actually being talked about in forums and other non-promotional sites, then you may want to look elsewhere.
5. Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone
Another one of the work from home struggles that can hinder your success is being able to push past your comfort zone. It can be hard to do things that are scary, but that is exactly what is necessary in order to succeed.
In my offline job I never had to push my comfort zone. I did the same things everyday, and there was nothing really scary about my job. At home, however, I have to make my own success which means doing things that I am not comfortable with doing.
It is apparent that the most successful people who work from home are those that are willing to take risks and face their fears. People who sit back and try to make things work without actually doing some scary things have very little chance of succeeding.
For instance, I spent years avoiding interacting with other bloggers as an affiliate marketer. I was scared to talk them and create joint ventures, and in the end it contributed to my failure with affiliate marketing. Relationships are essential to succeeding online as it helps you build your name, your reputation, and your brand. You will notice that anyone online who is successful has relationships with other people, and I was unable to push past my comfort zone and try to build these relationships.
The great news is that if you are willing to push past your comfort zone, you will experience many new possibilities and grow as a person both in business and in life.
There Are Many More Work From Home Struggles
In the end, these are just five things that be a struggle when you work from home. There are other things can influence how much success you will find.
In addition, you may find that some of these things are not a struggle at all. For instance, you may be someone who has no problem pushing past your comfort zone and going for what you want.
If you have any work from home struggles that are not mentioned here, please share them in the comments below!
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