How to Work from Home – Challenges I’ve faced and how you can avoid them

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Are you wanting to work from home? Working from home seems like a dream, but it has many challenges. And I’m learning this all first hand.


Work from Home - Challenges i've faced


I am by no means an expert on this because I’ve only recently starting working from home.

But I’m going to share the challenges and issues I’ve faced, and hopefully you can learn from them. From one beginner to another.


There are a couple affiliate links in this post. For more information check out my Disclosure page.



Table of Contents

What you’ll learn in this article:


Some challenges I’ve faced working from home include:

  • Time Management
  • Home Office Organization
  • Work/Household chores differentiation
  • Finances

What I did/can do to overcome these challenges, and how you can learn from my mistakes.


The Boring Pre-amble about me being a MORON

A New Year brings new challenges.

At the end of last year I left my steady job to start working at home. I was sick of the “day to day” grind at my old job. (You know what that’s like right?)

And this has forced me to face some of my biggest weaknesses head on.


The stupidest thing I did was quitting my job and not knowing what I was going to do for money.

I don’t blame you if you click away right now because you’re saying, “This guy is a frickin’ moron.”

But I’d had enough.  

I knew I wanted to earn some money online but I just wasn’t sure exactly how.

When I questioned myself for quitting I found this note in my old notebook. “…when I work at that soul-destroying job I don’t have the time or the energy to create better online work.”

That helped remind me. That is why I never had anything set up: I was so burned out that I’d go home fatigued and mentally exhausted.

I did create this website a few years before I quite my job, but you’ll notice that my publishing was very erratic: only a couple posts a year. I was too tired from my work to put the work in here.

[In case you’re wondering I had a bit of money saved up so my children aren’t starving (yet)]

It was important for me to tackle: organizing my office, becoming more efficient with household chores (including meal planning), learning time management, budgeting and personal finance.

Basically I needed to learn productivity and organization of my physical space, my time and my finances.


This is an ongoing process and I’m still trying to get better at this.

With no one telling you where and when to be somewhere, it means you have to step up and be productive. 

It’s all on you.

People get paid because they produce value: they are productive. If you aren’t producing anything you won’t get paid.

If you aren’t bringing value to someone else’s life then you won’t get paid.

Plus, leaving behind a $90,000 per year job for an uncertain future means I need to watch my personal finances closely. Unfortunately I am not a trust fund baby. Everything I have I’ve earned so no golden spoon is feeding me.



 


Time Management

This has been the biggest challenge I’ve faced in learning to work from home.

These are some issues I’ve already faced working from home for just a few months.

  • not working enough
  • working too much (not turning off the switch because you’re always in your “office”)
  • doing household chores and “puttering around” when I should be working
  • booking appointments for things like car repairs, haircuts, doctor’s appointments, etc… during the day when I should be working

And these are just some of the time management aspects of working from home.


Guard your time

People will think because you’re working from home that you’re NOT REALLY WORKING.

Guard your time. Image by monicore from Pixabay

“What do you mean you can’t pick the kids up?”

“Can I get your hand for just a minute?”

“Can you bring your car in for maintenance at 12:30?”

These aren’t exactly malicious questions (unless they’re coming from your ex), but you will face a lot of this.

And other appointments will start eating in to your time. “Yeah I can get a haircut today at 1pm.”  And little things like this add up, and take up a good portion of your day.

If you have been a long time employee like I was then you were told where you had to be, and when you had to be there, and what you needed to do while there.

This isn’t the case when working from home. It’s on you.



Create a schedule

I’m 4.5 months in to working from home and I’m still not good at this. I make a schedule but then I don’t stick to it.


Work from HOme - important to have a schedule
Image by rawpixel from Pixabay


I need to make a schedule and stick to it and treat it like my family’s meals depend on it (because guess what…they do!)

My teenage daughter helped me create a schedule on a whiteboard, and it worked really well.  When I used it. That’s the key. You need to create a schedule and stick to it as close as you can.


Your Goal: create a schedule that allows you to get your work done


You don’t want to be taking your work “home with you” after you’ve completed a day of working so set a schedule that allows you to complete your tasks.

I’ve labelled this as “Your Goal” to get your attention, but it’s something I really need to do to.



Your Goal: develop the “processes” that will lead you to success


I recently heard in an Amy Porterfield podcast that you should concentrate on your work processes, and not on the goal.

Example: If your goal is to make $5,000 per month to replace your salary don’t concentrate on that goal, but instead concentrate on developing and practicing the processes that will get you to your goal.

If you make money blogging, then concentrate on the processes you need to succeed.

This may include keyword research, outlining your article, writing your article, getting good pictures, writing great headlines, etc… If you get good at these processes you are increasing your odds of success.


You need to identify and develop the processes that will allow you to reach your goals.




Home Office Organization

Having a dedicated work space is important. Get “your space” in order.

I heard that Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income started out with just a desk in his living room.  You need to start with something.

They say you should reserve your bed for only two activities: sex and sleep.

I think the same should be said about your home office space. You should reserve that space for work.

So when you get in front of your desk you start working.

Your brain makes the association between the physical space and the activity of working.

Believe it or not this mess is what I worked in. This was my home office. It wasn’t a very inviting place.

I really do believe that this impacted amount of work I accomplished in the first few months of the year. Such a cluttered disaster. I hated writing in this space therefore I didn’t get near as much work done as I should have.

Work from Home - Messy Home Office Makeover

This is what I transformed it into. (I should have done it WAY EARLIER.)

work from home - DIY Home office Desk

Yeah, the floor isn’t perfect, but just look at the difference. Look at what it was before, and how it makes you feel just looking at it, then look at the after picture. (Click here to learn how to build the DIY computer desk.)

It has made a world of difference for me.



Your Goal: create a dedicated work space that suits your needs




Work/Household Chores Differentiation

This could probably tie in with Time Management, but it was a surprising problem for me.

It wasn’t something I expected.


Image by Julio Cesar Velasquez from Pixabay


I thought, “I hate doing most household chores so why should they concern me now?”

Well I realized that working from home and always being around a messy kitchen or piles of laundry started to bug me more than they ever did while I was working.

The first few weeks of working from home were strange because suddenly I was wanting to tidy up.

Which sounds great right (and I’m sure my girlfriend loved it), but tidying the house doesn’t “ring the cash register.”


So by all means keep a tidy house if you want, but don’t do it on your dedicated “work” time.


Your Goal: keep your work time as work time, and reserve chores for your “off” time





Personal Finances

I used to make over $90k per year. But money doesn’t buy happiness.

But money does buy food.

I’ve had to tighten the reins on spending: the usual cutbacks like less eating out, less coffees, trying to drive my car less (price of gas has really gone up), and trying to make less expensive meals.

Even my home office makeover was completed for about $50!

So to help reduce the risk of making your own way, and working from home, then watch your personal finances.


Your Goal: Track your spending for month and you may see some surprises in there.





Advice I’ve Give my slightly younger self (like me from 4 months ago)


Slow down to speed up

I always feel like there is a giant boulder rolling behind me (a la Raiders of the Lost Ark).  And that I need to move fast, fast, fast.

work from home - boulder chasing you...slow down to speed up
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay


I always needed to do “something”, or create something. My savings are dwindling…

But if I would have slowed down, looked behind me and noticed that the boulder was well in the distance, then I could have caught my breath and evaluated.


I should have taken a course to expand my online skills. 


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I’m not saying you should over-analyze everything. And you don’t need to “feel ready” before you start…you just need to start.

But I am saying that the more you learn and become competent doing something (so improving your processes) the better chance you’ll have of reaching your goals.

Learn from those that have done what you want to do.


Example: if I would have slowed down and taken a course on Search Engine Optimization then perhaps I could be bringing in cash working for other businesses…helping them to optimize their content and putting food on my table too.

Example:  if I would have learned more about social media marketing…even spend a couple days learning the basics I would have vastly improved my “reach” and got my content in front of people that are interested in it


There are lots and lots of online learning opportunities. One of the easiest way to learn something is search for it on YouTube. There is a crazy amount of free information on YouTube.


One area I’m still sucking at is project management. That is what I’m going to take time to learn about. 


Your Goal: What about you? What do you need to learn? To get better at? To improve?



 

Summary

1) Probably a good idea to know what you’ll do to make money.

  • It would have been very helpful for me if I had a clear idea of what I was going to do after I quit my job.
  • If you’re unsatisfied with your job take some time to brainstorm ideas on how you can work from home.
  • If you’re thinking of making money online check out the book I recommend below.


2) If you want to have an online business but you don’t know what to do, I’d recommend you check out the book “Choose” by Ryan Levesque.

  • I bought it a few days ago and I wish it had been available several months back when I first quit my job. 
  • In the book he gives advice on choosing a niche that suits your personality and choosing the “correct” niche
  • He has made money in diverse topics such as Scrabble-tile jewelry and Orchid care
Choose book by Ryan Levesque
Click on the image to view on Amazon

As I mentioned, I only got the book a couple of days ago so I haven’t made a million bucks from it yet, but I’ll let you know if I do!!


Remember if something has been done online before its okay because it hasn’t been done by you.

And you have your own unique skills and characteristics that you bring to your readers, listeners or viewers. 


3) Identify and develop the Processes that will help you achieve your goal.

  • I’m fairly certain it was in episode #255 of Amy Porterfield’s “Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast” where she talks about establishing the processes that will help you reach your goal


4) Create a work schedule to guard your time and allow you to actually perform the processes you’ve identified.

  • You’ve identified your processes (the activities you need to regularly do in order to succeed) now you need to make time for them and make sure they get done


5) Create a home office space that suits your needs

  • I’ve learned that this has made a huge difference to improve my work from home productivity
  • I like being in my office now: I’m way more productive and creative too


6) Be careful of your finances…it’s way different when you don’t know where your next cheque will come from

  • Being an entrepreneur and working from home has risks…manage the risks


7) Do this mental exercise…fast-forward a year and what advice do you think your future self would give your current self?

  • This may sound way too weird
  • But I don’t want my future self to look back and say “you blew your chance…you blew through our savings…you got nothing to show for it.”
  • This helps me make sure I get my act together and get better at facing these challenges I’ve outlined.



I hope this has helped you in some way.


Hopefully you can learn from my work at home mistakes and not have to struggle for months like I have.


Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Tim

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