By Ana Lewis
When I first started my business, my main objective was not to make money, or to pursue a personal passion; it was to have flexibility. I wanted to have the option to parent my own children, to be “room mom”, to go on their field trips with them, to attend their games and to be a part of their lives. I was a single mom in 1998, and my children were growing quickly. I spent four years going to an office downtown in a nine-to-five job from 1994-1998, and it wasn’t the way I wanted to spend my remaining time with my children.
Some people thrive in a nine-to-five job, where they can get away from the rigors of home life and parenting, but that environment only led to added exhaustion and stress for me. I wanted to be there for my kids. Being a mom and now a grandmother, working at home continues to be the most comfortable place for me.
For those of you who are thinking about or even actively planning to transition to working from home, below are some helpful tips to get you on your way. It’s easier now than ever to work from home — or from anywhere — so you can live your life in flexibility bliss.
1. Dedicate an area in your home that is your work space.
It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be yours. I used to have my office right in the middle of the house and it was one of the first things you saw when you walked in the door. I now have it in a separate building on my property and it is more like a sanctuary to me than an office. I LOVE my work space now. It’s quiet and I can leave my multitude of half-done projects ready in place for me to address them as I want.
2. Create a work schedule that works for you.
Follow your own circadian rhythm. No one is watching you and judging you if you get your work done at an unconventional time. If you’re a night owl, work then. I am a morning person. I have most of my energy early in the day and that is when I get most of my work done.
3. Communicate well and often.
Answer your phone and your emails. Make sure and let people know that you are honest; that you will pass on news, good and bad; and most of all, that you will be there. (See #4.)
4. Be present.
Don’t stress about money or that upcoming job that you do or don’t have. Live your life in the present moment. You will do a better job there. Remember that money is an infinite resource and live your life in prosperity and abundance. No. Matter. What. When I first started, I only had one client, but by believing in myself and having gratitude for my newfound flexibility, I knew the work would come and it did, and does.
5. Believe in yourself.
Remember that you don’t have to be famous to have a positive impact on yourself and others. Just do you. Know yourself and ask yourself what things, on a daily basis, you love about your day. Make alterations when needed, and try to do better next time. Know in your heart that your beautiful life is all yours and only you can make the improvements you desire.
Mostly at yourself. None of us are perfect and all of us make mistakes. Each of us has different objectives and gifts to share. Don’t be afraid to fall, because guaranteed, you will.
7. Manage your money.
Learn this part very carefully and clearly. It will save you lots of grief later. Make sure you have enough savings put away in case all hell breaks loose and you have to depend on it for six months or more. Put all of your money directly into savings, and withdraw a set monthly amount to cover your overhead. Be strategic and strict about it. Learning to manage your money will be the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.
Obviously I am still working at home and loving it. All of our staff at Co-Op Web are work-at-homers and it is an environment we thrive in. If you have any thoughts on working at home and would like to share your experience, let us know. We would love to hear your feedback.