Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Do You Have What it Takes to Work from Home?

Common perceptions held by people in the working world of those who work from home:

1. They do not earn any money.
2. It is not a real job.
3. They do not have to work hard.
4. They have tons of free time to do anything they want, or help anyone they want.
5. Anyone could do it.

If you are considering working from home full or part time, you need to examine the difference between your perceptions and the reality of the work at home world.

Let first take a look at money because, let us be honest, that is what you are really wondering about anyway. There are people like Christina Hayford, National Vice President of Arbonne, a cosmetics company that sells products via work at home sales consultants. Hayford works about 20 hours per week from home and earns $250,000.00 per year. It took her 4 years of hard work and dedication to get this point. But the average Arbonne sales consultant who qualifies for commission, makes $888 per year. Arbonne is a Multi-Level Marketing company or MLM. 97% of people who try an MLM fail. You can make a reasonable living working from home, but it is not guaranteed.

So many people fail when working from home because of the second perception listed above. This perception is true, it is not a real job, almost any work from home “job” is in reality a business. In most cases, you are not an employee who is assigned tasks and paid by the hour or project. Generally you are an Entrepreneur, a self employed business owner. If you approach it with the mind set of an employee who will sit back and wait for someone to tell them what to do and when, you will never lift a finger and never earn a dime. In short you will fail.

This brings us to perception number three, you do not have to work hard. Well that really depends on your definition of hard work. Most people perceive hard work as something distasteful, something they do not want to do because they work hard in a job they do not like. Most people who work at home choose a business they can get excited about, something they will enjoy. So while they are working hard, it is labor of love, something they enjoy. Because they are enjoying what they do, and doing it from the comfort of their home instead of in an uncomfortable, unfriendly corporate office, it appears to the unhappy that what they do is easy.

Since home workers really are working hard, they do not have an abundance of free time. Often times they do not work set hours. They might work during morning play time, afternoon naptime, after bedtime, when they can not sleep at two in the morning and on the weekends. They may work for 10 hours on Monday but only two hours on Tuesday. This flexibility of work hours allows them the freedom to do things that a typical 9-5 job does not. This results in the appearance of a wealth of free time, when in fact it is a carefully planned distribution of work hours, family responsibilities, and chosen activities.

Finally is the idea that anyone could successfully work from home. According to 2006 US Census data, 3.9% of the United States work force worked at home. If anyone could successfully work from home, 97% of people who try MLM would not fail. If anyone could successfully work from home, more than 3.9% of our work force would stop commuting. The fact of the matter is, that to work from home you must be highly self determined, self disciplined, and organized. You must be able to create business goals and a plan to achieve them. Then you must wake up each morning and avoid the temptation to sit down and watch TV or pursue a hobby. Without anyone telling you to, you must take steps each day to follow your plan and achieve your goals, often while caring for children, loved ones, and a household at the same time.

Before you “quit your day job,” consider these points and take a long honest look at yourself. People can and do succeed while working from home, can you?

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