When You are Working from Home

Working from home

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by Jayaram V

This essay is about importance of self-discipline and not to be complacent when you are self-employed or working from home.

When you are working from home or working for yourself, very likely you may fall into the trap of complacency and lose the big picture. Especially, when you are working alone, and no one is there to give you advice or inputs about your performance, you have to be extremely careful. A few early successes may make you feel comfortable and overlook important problems and concerns that may cost you dearly.

It is not easy to work alone and be your own boss. It is what many people dream of doing, but it has several challenges. If you have a lot of bills to pay, debt problems, and no alternative income, you have to think carefully before you even decide to be self-employed. For young people, it may not be a problem, because if they fail, they can always go back to a day job or choose an alternative. However, if you are old, if your family depends upon you, or if you have limited income, you have to see whether it is worth taking the risk.

When you are on your own, you have to know how to motivate yourself and overcome your fears and self-doubts. It is a big challenge to keep your negative thought away and stay positive, hopeful, and cheerful. When things are not going well for you, you should have a few tricks up your sleeve to energize yourself and rev up your spirits. When you face setbacks and failures, you should be able to recover from them, and move on towards your next goal.

Discipline is an important area, which can make a lot of difference to your work. To enforce discipline, you must set standards of behavior and a code of conduct and abide by them just as you would do in any organization. It means that you must be honest with yourself about your actions and decisions and know when you are wrong.

For example, do you want to smoke sitting at your workplace, or do you want to drink alcohol during the daytime when you are conducting an important business? They are important ethical issues about which you must have clarity according to your choices, priorities, and lifestyle. You cannot be effective in any field unless you are committed to order and discipline, and unless you maintain professionalism in your work ethics and remain focused. It is important not to take too many liberties with your time or finances without considering their consequences.

Working from home and being your own boss seem to be the easiest decisions when you are unhappy with your current job, or when you have a serious problem with your boss. However, such considerations should never be the reason you want to be on your own. You must have a business idea, a higher ideal, or a noble purpose to plunge into the uncertain world of a self-employed person. You must have strength and conviction to continue on your chosen path, despite any discouragement or disapproval that you may get from others.

Self-employed people do not enjoy social status or recognition unless they are celebrities or have enough money to support themselves. In meetings and gatherings, they may feel awkward or out of place since they may not find friends with whom they can easily relate. Some people are good at telling others what they have done or accomplished, but if you are not one of them you will have trouble speaking about yourself.

Another important challenge which you may face as a self-employed person is with regard to your finances, how you keep track of your expenses, and how you separate your personal expenses from your professional ones. You can potentially run into tax problems, if you mix them up. Secondly, since in the early stages your income will be irregular, you have to plan in advance how to manage your expenses, balance your budget, pay the taxes and honor your debts.

Many small businesses fold up when contingencies arise, and they cannot bear extra expenses. Government regulations can also have a crippling effect upon your limited resources. Unless your work has a high potential of becoming a successful venture or earning profits, you may not be able to secure financial support from outside. In the early stages you may experience more anxiety and even depression if your family does not support you or believe in your vision and goals.

Even after you overcome initial problems and are on your way to achieve success, you may still need to be on guard, keep your focus, and not lose your momentum. It can happen if you get complacent. When you become your own boss, you have to act like one, and keep your controls tight. Know why you have decided to be on your own, and what you want to accomplish. Have daily goals or a task list. Make sure you finish them. Spend at least a few quiet moments every day to review yourself, how you did for that day or for that week and whether you have met your goals. As for the breaks and leave, take them as you would have when you work for others.

It is also important to organize your work. Follow a filing system whereby you can easily locate information. Keep your computer data safe with regular backups. Have your own work space and make sure that is clean and free from clutter. Some people suggest that even though you work from home you have to dress as if you are working in someone’s office. Those who do not like to work from their homes for one reason or another, rent a shared office space and work from there. It may be good option if you want to network and do not mind rent and the distractions.

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