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There are definitely things I wish someone had told me to consider before taking the plunge as a work-from-homer, despite having a personal office outside my home. I may not have really listened because I tend to be stubborn and insistent on doing something once my mind's been made up. But having prepared for these realistic expectations, I may have been better off...
Figuring out where you will work is incredibly important when working from home. At the very least, you'll likely need a space that's set aside where you can keep your laptop/computer, notebooks, phone, and other supplies. It's great to be able to work from a home office – a room that's off-limits to anything that's not work-related. Just remember that this space must be for work only and free from distractions like TV and your home phone.
If you can swing an independent, private office, I highly recommend it! As I mentioned, I did have an office away from home for a few months. It was so worth it. But now I have puppies to stay home with. Although I hope to one day get an office again. It's a great way to force yourself to get out of the house, meet other people, and keep a somewhat regular schedule.
There was a period of about six months when my husband and I both worked from home in a 300 square foot apartment. Needless to say, one of us typically spent most of our days at a coffee shop, but regardless, this wasn't a long-term solution. For about six months after that, we each had our own, private offices, which was the most ideal situation. Then we got puppies and gave up our offices to be home with them more. Fortunately, we also moved to a bigger place that enabled us to both have our own individual desk space as well. It's still not a perfect situation, but it's workable. So what is workable for you? Can you work in the midst of rough-housing dogs or screaming kids? Do you need to convert that extra bedroom to an office? Should you look into renting office space?
Every work situation has its ups and downs, its good days and bad, and even good months and bad! I've faced several such cycles during my time as a self-employed consultant, but I'm so in love with the self-employed lifestyle that it would be really hard for me to give up. When you come across difficult times or encounter frustrating roadblocks, remember to keep it all in perspective.
So if you do start to work from home, don't get discouraged. Something may work OK for a period of time (like working from a 300 square foot apartment!), but after a while you might need a change. Be aware of these phases, and don't let them get you down. If you plan right, working from home can be a great experience!
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