Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Challenges and Rewards of Working from Home!

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

We appreciate being able to "Work from Home"!
We are still grateful for and excited by 
running our own "home-based" business and, for us, the wonderful flexibility and feelings of accomplishment 
far outweigh any "cons".
Here we take a look at what some other real "work from home" business owners have to say about their experience.....  

Running a business from home 
comes with a unique set of rewards 
and challenges.  

Issues like isolation, work/life balance, and professional perception are heightened for the home-based business owner.

To research this piece, we reached out to our network of home business owners for their opinions on the challenges and rewards they face. We soon found similar threads among the many answers we received.

One of the most common problems mentioned was the tendency to not set definite “office hours”:

“The biggest drawback I face with working from home is ending the business day. There is always something else on the list to be done. It's a vicious circle to be sure!”
Penny Perasso, (Promotional Products & Graphic Design)

The feeling that you are “always at work” is a hard one to break when you are constantly “at the office”.  We have learned that, barring a special project or rush job, it is important for us to simply stop.

If you are working from a traditional office, there would definitely be a more or less set "quitting" time. So you need to treat your home office the same way. No one can maintain their health and sanity without down time.

Another challenge is fighting the misconception that when you work at home, you are not “really working”

Justine Pretorious finds she is often “labelled with a stereotype that I don't really work if I work from home.” 

Not being taken professionally without a traditional office can definitely be a concern.  
When we started our business in 1996, there was definitely a prejudice against home-based businesses. However, we believe this is changing. As more and more small businesses are being run from a home office, and much of that business is done online, the need for a “brick and mortar” office is lessening.

Many times when you work from home it is also hard to make others understand that you are not automatically "available":

“Neighbors, family and friends think I am not doing anything important and always ask me for favors.... I learned how to say no very quickly!!”
Veronica Nourse, Cupertino Soap Company

Setting boundaries is absolutely necessary. As Ellen Mattli, Owner of Mattli Mechanical Commissioning Business explains:
“I definitely have to set firm boundaries and ignore calls or emails to get my work completed.”
You need to let others know 
you are unavailable 
during “working hours”.  
Stop yourself from taking personal calls or answering that email from a friend - do exactly what you would do if you were “at the office”.

Self-discipline is also a challenge:
“It takes tremendous discipline and focus to manage business and home life. It is too easy and convenient to go golfing on a nice day. Sit outside and enjoy the weather.” Anthony Mannella, Director of Compliance and Enforcement, CAIRSS Corp.

Diane Bianchi, who has owned a variety of small businesses, has found what works for her, and many others agreed:
“What I do is totally plan out my day with time frames for each activity and I stick to it, no fail. Since I started doing this I get a lot more done, and no goofing off!”

Perhaps the biggest concern 
home-based business owners face 
is the isolation.  

Many expressed that not being able to run down the hall to bounce ideas off a co-worker or get support are definite drawbacks.

“In the corporate world, I could walk down the hall to the graphics group for advice. Now I'm it, for both strategy and application.” Karen Runtz, Director, Marketing and Communications, Sunbelt Business Brokers (Canada)

However, as a group, many have found ways to combat this:

“Even though I am a solo entrepreneur, I hire a bookkeeper, hire a marketing consultant, work with a printer..... This is my virtual team.”
Ann Gatty, Business Learning and Life Coach

And Darcy Nybo, a Freelance Writer makes this suggestion:
“If you get a network together of people with businesses like yourself, you'll find it makes life much easier.”

Coline Walther, Sole Proprietor at The Virtual Virtuoso, seconds that:
“I try to make it to as many networking events as I can, and meet friends for coffee or lunch once week.”

Establishing a professional network, 
whether in “real life” or online, is a great help. Reach out to local business groups. Find groups on Facebook and LinkedIn 
that interest you. Whatever you choose, you will have opened up yourself to a whole new support system.

What it Takes to Run a Business from Home!  "Tweet This"

Despite these challenges, 
the majority of Home-Based business owners have found great rewards running their business.  

The number one perk cited was flexibility. The ability to set your own hours, work in “less than professional attire”, and run your business “your way” cannot be paralleled.

“I can take time out of my day because my schedule is what I make of it. So when I need a “brain break”, I can change what I am doing...without anyone monitoring me”. Bette Novak, Board Certified Coach, LifePath Assoc., LLC

Many also noted the 
cost and time saving benefits.  
No commute time is definitely a favorite. Mentions of not missing the hour or more drive to and from work and sitting in traffic were common. There are also the expenses saved by not needing lunches out, a large professional wardrobe, or parking and toll costs:

“The first thing that is positive for working at home is I am saving the cost of rent for my office, phones and parking fees.”
John W. Wenzler, Owner at God’s Grace Publishing LLC

Running a Home-Based Business 
is definitely a big undertaking.  
It comes with great responsibility and commitment. However, we believe the rewards outweigh the challenges.
Having full control over what, when, how, and why you do what you do is exciting. You are the master of your own destiny ~ and that is something to be cherished!

Authored by

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