Home office - Part 3

Archive for the ‘Home office’ Category

Top 10 keys to work at home success

Working at home brings both rewards and obstacles. Via eMoms at Home comes a list of the top 10 keys to work at home success. Tip #10 rings true for me:

In order to become successful in your chosen field, it is important to study the people who are already successful, especially if you don’t have a lot of personal references as to what that would be like.

When I started out as a consultant, I interviewed several successful marketing consultants to find out about the field. I used their advice to hone my business plan. I also started networking at professional events, so that I could build my reputation and meet others with whom I could exchange information and contacts. This helped tremendously.

If you’re not a networker, check out building a business network for introverts.

Related to work at home success

Consultant Journal brag: Lifehacker mention

I’m not sure how many of you read Lifehacker — it’s one of the top 1000 websites — but my article on home office isolation was just featured on the front page of Lifehacker. Check out Lifehacker’s discussion of home office isolation.

Do I feel isolated in my home office?

Following yesterday’s post on home office isolation, a few readers wondered if I feel isolated in my home office. I don’t. At least, I don’t right now. When I first started out in consulting, I did feel isolated from time to time. However, over the years, I’ve learned to balance my week with meetings, telephone calls, email, networking events, social activities and other activities. I often collaborate with other people on projects, so I have that feeling of being part of a team, too. When I was new to working from home, I had a tendency to focus on my work and feel guilty if I took time off for mid-day social activities. Now I see those activities as part of my work-life balance. I’ve also made an effort to connect with other people who work from home, so I can share the rewards and frustrations of self-employment. But am I isolated? Not at all. Besides, I have a steady stream of emails from my Consultant Journal readers!

Tips for dealing with home office isolation

Is isolation making you wonder if it’s time to leave your home office? Working from home can sometimes be isolating, making it hard to stay motivated. I recently mentioned that shared office space can help. If there’s a solution like that in your community, go for it. But here are some other tips for dealing with home office isolation:

Nine tips for dealing with home office isolation

  1. Go for a walk. Get out every day.
  2. Buy a light book. Reset your routines and perhaps your mood.
  3. Create some routines. Buy a latte every morning at the nearest coffee shop. Go out for lunch. Take a lunchtime yoga class. Go for a jog. Incorporate some of the structure you’d have in an office setting.
  4. Rent cubicle space. I’ve seen cubicle rentals on Craigslist for $10 an hour.
  5. Share an office. I know a group of medical professionals who rent out the receptionist’s desk because they have no use for it. 
  6. Work from the library. Take your laptop and grab a desk.
  7. Work from a coffee shop — lattes, WiFi and lots of small business owners.
  8. Share another home office. I know a couple of graphic designers who share a home office. It helps them feel like they’re in a regular office environment.
  9. Invent work that keeps you out of the home. I teach university-level courses. I have friends who teach at community centres. Come up with ways to get out of your home office and get paid for it.

Update: Lifehacker has picked up the above post on home office isolation. One commenter there wanted to know why on earth I’d suggest renting a cube for $10 an hour. If you’re the kind of person who can’t stand working in a coffee shop and you can’t afford to rent an office, renting a cubicle for $10 for a couple of hours once a week or once a month may be well worth it. If the cube comes with free local phone access, you may also save on cell phone charges.

Is it time to leave your home office?

Working from a home office can be a great setup. But, for many people, there comes a time when external office space makes more sense. Here’s how to tell if it’s time for you:

  • Isolation is getting to you. In spite of pursuing activities outside your home, going to business events, meeting with clients and otherwise getting involved with you community, you still feel really isolated at home. Shared office space may be the solution.
  • You hate working from home. The distractions — noise, kids, TV — and relaxed atmosphere make it too hard to focus. Coffee shops and the library don’t help. If that describes you, it’s time to get out of your home office.
  • You need to hire staff. If bringing on more staff and moving to an office will deliver more profits, that’s a great reason to move.
  • You’d like to look more professional. You’re in a position of regularly meeting clients and you need to bring them to your office to look at projects or equipment. Taking clients to your home feels uncomfortable — because of privacy, security or image issues. You no longer find that coffee shops, client offices and restaurants fit the bill. If this is you, you need to consider rented space.
  • You want to store supplies and equipment. If you haven’t got the space at home and a rented storage unit is too inconvenient, opt for rented office space.

If these situations describe you and you haven’t been able to solve your problems through any other means, it may be time to consider renting office space. Of course, that may be as simple as a drop-in cubicle or shared office space — or as fancy as a downtown office suite.

Related:

Tips for dealing with home office isolation

Should consultants try telecommuting?

One way to start working from home is to take up a telecommute job. Even established consultants may enjoy the regular cash flow, structure and stability of a telecommuting position. And, if you’re just starting out, a telecommute job lets you build up some savings and try out working from home. Once you’ve got your feet wet, you can take the plunge to full-time consulting.

By working at a telecommuting position, you’ll have flexibility and independence. You may be able to move your work hours so that you can meet with clients for your consulting business. You can see if you even like working from home. (And, if you don’t, you can save up to rent a desk elsewhere!)

Even though I do consulting on a full-time basis, I hear great things about telecommuting from my friends who do consulting as a side business. So, if you aren’t at the point where you have enough clients to go full-time, check out telecommuting jobs.

"Should consultants try telecommuting?" from Become a Consultant at ConsultantJournal.com.

Telecommute jobs | Work at home

Telecommute jobs – work at home jobs that let you telecommute can be a great transition from full-time office worker to work at home consultant. Work at home telecommute jobs give you the security of a regular paycheck, along with the support of the company that employs you.

If you’re interested in many of the reasons to become a consultant, you think you should become a consultant, but you’re not quite ready to make the commitment, consider a work at home telecommute position. In most cases, the easiest thing is to convince your existing employer to let you work from home one or two days a week — if not more. This may give you the opportunity to see how you like the format of work from hom jobs.

However, if what’s stopping you from consulting is that you’re short of ideas, consider doing a personal inventory to generate consulting business ideas. And remember, you can always consult part-time, as a side job.

Posts related to telecommute jobs

"Telecommute jobs | Work at home" from Become a Consultant at ConsultantJournal.com.

Consulting from home

Consulting from home isn’t quite the same as working in an office. Some people worry that, if they start working from home, they’ll feel isolated and depressed. Well, some people would feel that way anyway, but isolation is an important factor to consider. Rather than using it to rule out becoming a consultant, look at it as a consultant should. In other words, identify the problem and work out a plan for managing it. A financial planner I know has a rule that he must leave his home for an hour every day — he’s on his way to being independently wealthy at age 40, so he must know what he’s doing. So, listen to him and work out a plan for becoming a well connnected, non-isolated consultant.

"Consulting from home" from Become a Consultant at ConsultantJournal.com.