There are many opportunities to work from home, yet many people fail to make a decent income from doing so. This is not always down to tackling the wrong type of work. More often, people fail because they make the mistake of not approaching the task in a professional manner.
Here are 10 essential things to do if you want to succeed:
1. Work to a schedule. You may have the flexibility to set your own working hours, but you should allocate a set time every day when you are working.
2. Set aside a workplace. Try to find somewhere where disturbances will be at a minimum. Make sure your family appreciates that when you are in your office, you are working.
3. Get legal. When you work from home, you are using your home partly for commercial purposes. You need to tell your insurance company about this. You will also most likely need to register with various local, state and federal agencies. Think about getting limited liability.
4. Stay in the loop physically. This is especially important if you are working at home as an employee. Attend regular meetings to find out what’s going on, so you will not miss out on opportunities.
5. Stay in the loop electronically. Use networks to let others know about your professional skills and qualifications. Use blogs to establish yourself as an authority. Each time you complete a new project, update your online profile.
6. Keep your skills updated. When you work from home, you may miss out on training opportunities that previously would have been arranged by your employer. Now, the onus is on you to keep your skills up to date.
7. Get commercial insurance. Your home policy may give you limited cover for commercial activity, but you need to be fully protected to avoid ambiguity. For example, if a courier delivers an item to you that relates solely to your work, what would happen if the courier had an accident in your home? With proper insurance, you will know you are protected.
8. Plan financially. Your income may be less regular, but your outgoings still come around like clockwork. Draw up a budget so you know you can pay taxes, utility bills etc. throughout the year.
9. Be diligent in bookkeeping. Treat your work as a business. You are entitled to claim business expenses against tax, but you must be able to document these.
10. Plan for the future. You need to create your own plan for retirement, and find the cash resources to pay into your scheme.
These are just some of the things you can do to work from home more efficiently. Common sense and discipline are the main requirements.