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7 Tips to Working at Home Successfully

Aug 17, 2007
Working from home can seem like an enviable situation. We all are familiar with the reasons we'd like to make it work. Being home for the kids and saving on day care costs are just two of the first things that come to mind. It can be challenging to make it work however. Here are seven tips that can help you succeed at working at home.

1. Especially in the beginning months, don't get too hung up on the numbers. That is, if you don't make much money right at first, and you probably won't, think about what you are saving. You are saving on child care, eating out, clothing costs, gas, and many more expenses you have when you work outside the home. Think of these savings as part of your income and be encouraged.

2. Make an effort to keep regular "office" hours. Of course, it may take a few months of working from home to discover when your hours tend to be. For instance, maybe Saturday afternoons and from 4:00 to 8:00 a.m. on weekdays will be when you can get the most work done. If you need to contact people, you will have to work a more conventional schedule, but afternoons might work out better than mornings. You really won't know until you've seen how your own family and personality fit into the scheme.

3. Consider dressing up a little, especially if your business requires making phone calls. You won't feel very professional sitting there in your fuzzy robe and uncombed hair, and it might show through in your voice. Get dressed in something you wouldn't mind being caught dead in, and put on shoes. You'd be surprised what a difference shoes can make in your attitude and efficiency.

4. Advertise! Even freelancers need to let people know they are out there. A good rule of thumb is to spend about one fourth of the time you work on getting the word out. It doesn't have to be expensive. A small ad in the want ads of the local paper, or announcements on Internet bulletin boards can make a big difference. (Do be aware that some online message boards prohibit advertisements.)

5. Get organized. Organization will make you more efficient and ultimately reduce the number of hours you'll need to work. There are many great online resources and books that can help you if organization is hard for you.

6. Don't get discouraged but learn from your mistakes. You will make some flubs, but they can be your richest source of education when learning the ropes of your new work at home business. The only people who don't make mistakes are those that don't do anything.

7. Separate work from home. Do this mentally even if the kitchen table has to double as office and family meal location. Be there for your family. Don't let work preoccupy you every waking minute or you'll miss out on the real reason you're staying home. Similarly, don't let the family's little urgencies keep you from getting your work done. Finding the balance can be tricky, but it is essential for a work at home situation to be successful.
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