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Overcoming Work at Home Challenges
I was watching an old episode of King of Queens where the husband, Doug, interrupted his wife, Carrie, while she was working from home. Her job allowed her the opportunity to work remotely for a certain amount of time. After speaking with her boss on the phone Carrie went to retrieve some work documents in the bathroom only to find her husband and his friends starting up a poker game once she returned to her work space at the dining room table. Doug and his friends cleared off her files and laptop, turned up the music, and soon the dining room where she was working was turned into a makeshift game room. Needless to say she was upset and kicked her husband out.
This is was an extremely funny scenario from well imagined writers of the show. I can imagine the distractions many work at home moms and dads experience every day. I face a lot of distractions when I am working from home. Many of my distractions come from my small children, usually from misbehavior. I manage to find ways around the distractions, nonetheless they are still frustrating. With all of the distractions that can occur when working around two small children, there are still some advantages in working at home:
- Spending time with children
- Homeschooling children
- Make extra money for the household
- No commute
- Save on gas
- Save on childcare
- Be your own boss
- Better flexibility
- Work anytime of the day or night
Along with advantages comes disadvantages. I wouldn’t necessarily call them disadvantages, but you will find there are challenges with everything good that comes your way.
Friends and Family Dropping by Unannounced
Those that are close to you may have a tendency to want to be around you more especially if they know that you are at home all the time. Some work at home moms find difficulty with their friends and family members not supporting their efforts. Surprisingly, there are people who do not believe in the notion of working from home. Really, working from home is more than a notion. It is real. There are plenty of people that are making a decent living from their home office.
The remedy for family and friends not taking your work seriously is to set strict boundaries. Make sure they know your working hours and when you are available for visits, otherwise you will get a lot of traffic coming in and out of your house when you should be working.
Also, friends and family could be taking your work less seriously because they have yet to see a great financial return on your effort. They might be looking for some sort of proven success. The best way to get your friends and family to show you some respect for what you do is to become a huge success. Your experience will be a lesson for them if they ever needed to find work at home.
Not Having a Business Line
Most entrepreneurs that are in the beginning stages of their business may not have a lot of money to invest in business services or supplies. This includes a telephone line. Having a business phone line will save you from receiving a lot of telemarketing calls at irregular times of the night. If you are unable to get a business line right away you can hide your number by using Google voice. You can set up voice mail and text messages directly on the service. Just rout the Google voice number to the phone number you want to use. The phone will ring to your cell phone or landline, but you do not have to answer it as Google voicemail will allow receive their messages, then you will be able to contact them at your convenience.
Going Stir Crazy
Anyone that stays confined to one place for a long time is likely to go stir crazy. The Webster dictionary defines it as a psychological disruption due to imprisonment or confinement. Well, in this case it isn’t to that extreme. However, you can begin to get feelings of boredom, frustration, and anxiety.
To keep from experiencing cabin fever, you can schedule times when you do errands outside the house or go to the coffee shop to do work. Break up the boredom by attending networking events, joining social groups, and attending business seminars. Not only will you beat boredom, but you will make new social and professional contacts.
Many work at home individuals have income goals that need to be met. They are in a race against time to get bills paid and create a nice living. The money may not be coming in right away, and depending on the jobs they are applying for they could be spending their time fighting scams or waiting to be approved for freelance projects. Staying motivated requires you to find inspiration that will replenish all of the output that you give to finding work. Your inspiration can come from music, for example. Sometimes it helps to take a break from all of your work to focus on something else. You might be able to get new ideas, and those new ideas will keep you motivated.
Lack of Exercise/Health Issues
I know about this all too well. I suffered an unexpected health crisis last year that put a halt to all of the writing that I was doing online and my home business. I had to make the unfortunate choice to stop working on any projects in order to take care of my health. I was sick for nearly 7 months. I lost my motivation for getting new customers. I lost my will to write proposals on Elance. I also found it difficult to start over again with new projects. The advantages of working at home should allow for more time to be able to take care of your health. Do the things that are necessary to stay healthy; that means eating right and get plenty of exercise. It is tempting to sit in front of a computer all day long without having any significant exercise.
Freelancing and not Getting Jobs
Are you bidding on jobs at Elance or Freelancer and still haven’t gotten a job? Well, you are in the same boat with so many others. If you are not finding the success you would like on those sites, it is time to start trying something different. Try changing your approach as you bid on jobs. I made the mistake of cutting and pasting the same information into the bidding form. You will want to research the client to find out if they have received any negative reviews. Find out if there is any good feedback from those that have completed jobs. Structure your bids to suit the needs of the client once you learn more about them and what they expect. Sometimes they will leave a link to their website for more information. It is beneficial for you to research their website and connect with them on a personal yet professional level.
It is inevitable that you will run into challenges as you grow into your position as a work at home professional. Set goals and stick to what works.