You love the idea of being able to work at home and relish the notion of spending more time with the family, but you’re just not sure this is the right road for you. Don’t sweat it – you are not alone in your doubts. Just about every woman who has ever launched a successful at-home career has faced them. Still, it’s smart to be sure.
Working at home does require a lot of dedication, discipline and patience. It’s just not for everyone, and that is perfectly okay. There are a few things that should be carefully considered if you’re intending to become a work at home mom. Even if you are a stay at home mom, adding a career into the mix can change things a bit. To make sure you’re going in a good direction for you, it is important to review such things as finances, family support and your ability to cope with the prospect of working at home. Some moms thrive in this situation, but others wither.
FINANCIAL POSITIONING MATTERS
If you’re planning on leaving a paying job to work at home, having a good handle on your finances will be a must. In most cases, it will take some time to build up a business or freelance venture enough to replace a workaday job. Beyond the capital needed to launch the business, you will also need a nest egg to cover the startup period.
How much money to set aside will be dependent on a number of factors, including:
- Your monthly bills
- Understand just how big your contribution is to the family’s budget on a monthly basis. Make sure to have figure covered for at least a few months. Three months can do the trick, but it’s a conservative (and safer) choice to shoot for six to even 12. Keep these figures separate from what you’ll need to give your business venture a fighting chance as success, as well.
- Anticipated extra expenses
- Establishing a business at home can take a little upfront capital. Beyond what is needed to cover the family, you’ll also want money for equipment, marketing, licensing and so on. A small business loan might work in some cases, but for many at-home operations, you’ll be on your own with startup costs.
- Projected “red period”
- While business plans might not always pan out exactly on schedule, have a good understanding of your particular venture’s anticipated period of running in the red. You’ll want to make sure you have the money available to cover this period and keep growing the business. Be realistic here.
If finances are standing in your way, consider seeking out loans, activating a savings plan or just working at your business part time at first. There are ways to make your dream happen even if the cash isn’t available as quickly as you’d like it to be.
FAMILY SUPPORT IS CRUCIAL
Going into an at-home work venture without solid family support for the idea can prove to be a huge mistake. If family members do not understand that work time is important or that work calls shouldn’t be interrupted with blaring rock ‘n’ roll music from a teenager’s room, than an uphill battle will need to be fought.
To make sure your family is onboard, ask yourself these things:
- Have I discussed the idea thoroughly with all family members?
- If you haven’t, you will want to do so. Making sure everyone who is old enough understands that just because you are home doesn’t mean that working hours are any less important is vital for your chances at success.
- Will older family members provide backup during emergencies?
- Work at home moms still need to attend meetings, meet deadlines or get out and network. When the need for serious focus time presents, it is imperative to have someone who can step in and take care of childcare and/or household duties.
- Will family members pitch in?
- Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you can or should handle everything. It will help you immensely if family members will pitch in with chores and do their part to make sure everything in the household flows smoothly.
Working at home after being out in the world can be a bit of a challenge for an entire family to adjust to. If you’ve been a stay-at-home mom, the challenges can be even greater. After all, everyone is used to having you there to help them.
Moving into an at-home career means that even if you are there, sometimes priorities will have to shift focus. If your family is truly onboard, you will have an edge in whatever endeavor you pursue.
SELF DISCIPLINE GETS THE JOB DONE
It will not matter at all how much money you’ve socked aside to get started or how supportive your family is, if you can’t motivate yourself, you’re in trouble. Self-discipline is one of the most important traits to have when attempting to launch at at-home career. This goes for telecommuters who will work full-time for companies as much as it does would-be entrepreneurs.
To make sure you have what it takes on this front, consider asking yourself these things and answering with frank honesty:
- Am I motivated?
- If you don’t have the motivation and drive to get up in the morning and get to work, an at-home business will be on shaky ground from the start. While half the reward of working at home is to be around more for the family, you will still need to operate with drive to enjoy business success. Just like raising your children, an at-home career will require time, attention and some serious nurturing.
- Can I set hours and stick with them
- When you own the operation or work as a freelancer, you can set your own hours. Actually doing so can be a very big help in making sure life is balanced out better. Of course, you can knock off early to play with the kids once in a while, but you will need stick-to-it-ive-ness on a more-or-less regular basis.
- Can I resist temptations?
- One of the issues that self-discipline can overcome involves resisting the temptations to do other things beside work during working hours. When no boss is breathing down your neck, it can be all too easy to watch television, play on the computer or even tackle housework instead performing work-related functions. Give in to temptation too often and your venture might not fly.
Depending on what type of business you plan on pursuing, you might find yourself cutoff a bit from other people. Computer-based careers, for example, can have you working at home and never actually getting out and seeing people beyond the family for days on end. While this is not a problem for many, it can drive some women bonkers. Make sure you know where you stand on the issue before you move forward with a career choice that could put you in this position.
If you want to deal with the potential problem of isolation head on, there are some things that can help. They include:
- Joining networking groups
- This is an excellent way to get out of the house on a weekly or monthly basis. Plus, it can assist you in making sure your business gets its name out there.
- Accepting local clients
- Even if your business happens to be computer-based, there is nothing wrong with accepting and soliciting local clients. This can get you out of the “office” once in a while and help you grow your business, too.
- Planning off-time activities
- It can be extremely beneficial to plan off-time activities that do not involve staying in the house. Even a trip to the park with the children every few days can keep sanity in check. Grocery runs do not count!
- Volunteering at your children’s schools
- Even volunteering once a week, month or for every field trip that crops up can get you out of the house and help you meet other people. This can also serve as a great way to show your children how much you want to be involved in their lives. After all, if the business is yours, a “boss” won’t be able to say you can’t take off two hours every Tuesday to lend a hand at a school.
Making the choice to work at home can be an excellent one. To make sure the move is right for you, however, do take the time to examine the ups and downs carefully and answer questions about yourself and your situation honestly.