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What It's Like to Work at Home

Updated on November 11, 2011

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.

Start a Home Business, If You Must


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    • Laurie Stroupe profile image

      Laurie Stroupe 9 years ago from Ararat, VA

      My husband has worked at home since 1999 and I started a business this year. We love it and wouldn't give it up voluntarily for anything. That's not to say that you aren't absolutely right about everything. It's not like you think it would be. But for us, we love being together (for some couples, that could lead to divorce). We love being out of the rat race. But the hours are very long. For me, there's no such thing as a day off (my husband at least still has a boss and fairly regular hours). Pulling myself away from work when there is so much to do is one of the biggest challenges. For my husband, it's dealing with all of the interruptions from me, the kids, and those who drop by.

    • how2start profile image

      how2start 9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Nice Hub!  I've had my own business working at home, then going to an office, then back to home again. 

      Working at home does have a lot of the drawbacks that you mentioned.  I had to move to an office since working at home became so unproductive.  And the move helped a lot. You just get a sense of "work" well-being when you get up, get ready, drive to the office, and start working there. I guess its like going to a gym to work out compared to working out at home.

      Working at home does become a lot about self discipline and will power.  You'll have to treat it like work, keep your focus, and take care of business.  It can get so tempting to go for a little nap, watch some TV, or go grocery shopping for dinner.

      But you'll need to overcome them to be effective at home.

      Of course, once you can hit a nice income each month and eliminate all of the wasted time activity like mentioned in the book FOUR HOUR WORK WEEK, I think its great.  Don't need to drive through traffic, work in PJs, and not much disturbances.  :)

      Great Hub!