Many people want to work from home. Few know how to actually make it work.
Working from home isn’t glorified playtime. It isn’t a chance to goof off. For the successful, it’s an opportunity to do what you love and reap the benefits of being at home.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around social media and the web in general. In fact, when you see a flashing banner advertisement with the phrase “work from home,” your natural inclination is to avoid it like the plague. I don’t blame you.
Frankly, I’ve had enough of the misinformation, and I’m ready to set the record straight. Here are the seven work-from-home myths that I’m most tired of hearing.
1. “Only IBMers can work from home.” About a decade ago, this may have been true. In fact, I used to know a guy who worked for IBM, and sure enough he was one of the privileged few at the time who worked from home. Obviously, the tech landscape has changed drastically in the last five years, causing an explosion in the work-from-home movement.
2. “You can’t make real money.” When I tell people that I work from home, I often detect skepticism in their reactions. Most people are polite and act like they think it’s great, but deep down I know better.
With the development of Elance.com and oDesk.com, the future of freelancing has never been brighter. Jobs from design and marketing to accounting and strategy are all online waiting. In fact, since oDesk’s founding in 2005, freelancers have earned over $1 billion online. Sounds like “real money” to me.
3. “It’s a scam.” Sure, there are a lot of work-from-home scams out there. In fact, before I stumbled onto oDesk, I had heard the same spammy radio ads that you’ve heard. Luckily, I never fell for any of them and instead spent my time building my oDesk reputation. Dozens of happy clients later, I’m busier than ever and proud to say that I never spent a dime on any gimmicks.
4. “I would never be able to stay focused on work.” Most commonly, people wonder how I can resist the call from -- well, anything that seems more enjoyable than work. The incomplete honey-do list. The dripping faucet. The fridge. Staying focused on work is all about boundaries. In all honesty, is your current cubicle all that effective at keeping your attention?
5. “My kids would never leave me alone.” Your home office should ideally be separated by a physical boundary. If having a room set apart isn’t feasible, consider partitioning off a section of your room with a wall divider.
Beyond that, it is important to set clear expectations with your family. During work hours, you’re “at work” -- even though you’re technically still at home. Get buy-in from your spouse and ask for his or her help to keep these boundaries.
6. “Clients won’t take me seriously if I work from home.” As long as you provide value, clients don’t care where you work. Most of my clients use freelancers from every corner of the globe. Once they hire a freelancer, location and office configuration is seldom ever discussed. The only exception to the rule is if the freelancer’s Internet or cellular connection is undesirable, which can create friction for the client.
7. “I’d feel weird working in sweatpants.” That’s your problem. Personally, I can’t relate. You may want to talk to a psychologist about why you have such a deep attachment to wearing slacks.