Working at home isn’t as wonderful as it’s cracked up to be all of the time. There are definitely drawbacks to working at home–huge drawbacks. It’s up to you to determine whether the bad outweighs the good. But, it’s good for you to know in advance what the pros and cons of working for yourself. That way are so that you can be realistic about what you’re getting yourself into.
The Dark Side
Work and home life often collide – Due to the lack of regimen, and no clear delineation of work versus time off, you’ll find yourself working odd hours to accommodate the needs of your family. I never feel like I have a day off, sometimes.
You’ll do a lot of work for free – Much of the work you do for your business is not billable (hello, invoicing!), and it will feel like free work until you start making a profit. It can be hard to push yourself to do things that aren’t producing income right now, but you must push through so that you can keep your business running smoothly.
Family will ask you to do stuff (since you’re not doing anything) – Not just family, but sometimes friends will ask you to do their chores. It never ends. I mean, just because I’m home, it doesn’t mean I’m sitting around doing nothing. Some days, I have a hard time starting dinner because a deadline is looming…
You’ll crave being out of the house – It’s freedom for me, especially when I can go shopping, even for small stuff, without the kids. Target is arguably my home away from home for this reason. I need alone time!
You WILL get distracted – The pull of the Internet or television is too strong for even the most studious of people at times. When I don’t want to do a particular task, house cleaning is my distraction. It’s up to you to set up a good working schedule to help you avoid this pitfall. Need help with online distractions? Try these tips.
The Light Side
No more living by the clock – If you arrange your business right, you can wake up naturally without an alarm forcing you to get up when your body isn’t ready. You can also go to bed when you want to. It’s freedom not to always live by the clock.
No more traffic jams – One of the best perks is avoiding rush hour. You won’t have to do that anymore, and it will be a relief, most especially on bad weather days when everyone else has to trudge through the snow or the heat wave. Plus, I find that the more I drive in rush hour, the more road rage starts to affect me.
Fewer work-related interruptions – Office chatter is bothersome and it makes finishing work difficult. Not to mention, there are a lot of office meetings that are totally unnecessary.
You really can work in your PJs – Hell yes!. You can wear PJs, yoga pants, or a moo-moo; no one cares! It’s your business and your house. Although, I do try to shower and look somewhat decent on some days…some, anyway.
A flexible schedule – If you have a parent-teacher meeting, you don’t have to ask permission to go. If you want to go to the salon, go for it. Whatever you want to do during the day is up to you, as long as you find time to also get your work done (I mean, you still need to get paid). Your schedule is your own.
The Final Verdict
For me, the drawbacks to working at home are eclipsed by the benefits, but it isn’t for everyone. It’s up to you to determine if you have the personality for it. You’ll need to rein in family and friends who want to take advantage of you, as well as yourself, to stay on track for creating a healthy and profitable home business. You’ll know when it’s right for you. I know I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!