By Wendy Betterini
If you've just begun your search for a work at home job, you
probably have a beautiful concept of what working from home is
like. You probably imagine yourself waking up whenever you
want, sliding your feet into fuzzy slippers and shuffling to
the kitchen to get some coffee, then shuffling along to your
office to put in another wonderful day at work, then later
going to the mailbox to pick up your weekly paycheck of
thousand dollars. I hate to burst your bubble, but it doesn't
work that way. Actually, let me clarify that and say it
always work that way.
The truth is, working at home is usually a lot harder than
working in an office somewhere. Scammers and hyped-up business
opportunity ads have given us the belief that working at home
is oh-so-easy. We just relax on a tropical beach, then go
collect our paychecks. I'm sure you've seen ads like that.
Those of us who already work at home know better!
Here are some things you should consider before jumping into a
work at home job:
How much do you want to earn? - If you want to work for an
employer as a telecommuter, be prepared to earn less than you
would at a job outside the home. A job that pays $11.00 an
in the regular workforce might pay $7 or $8 an hour at home.
There are exceptions of course. Some jobs, like virtual
assisting, web design and graphics, medical transcription and
coding and other professional jobs will probably pay more than
a simple data entry or customer service job. Many work at home
jobs don't pay hourly either. For data entry work, you might
get paid per piece, and for telephone jobs you might get paid
per "talk minute" (only those minutes you are actually on the
phone with a customer.)
Do you need benefits? - The majority of work at home jobs do
not provide benefits like health insurance or life insurance.
Again, there are exceptions.
Taxes - There are companies that will hire you as an actual
"employee" and they will take taxes out of your pay. But some
will only hire you as an "independent contractor," and you are
responsible for paying your own taxes.
Work availability - If you are hired as an independent
contractor, it's important to understand that your employer is
not obligated to provide any work for you. Most companies have
busy seasons and slow seasons. During a busy season, you might
be working 40-50 hours a week, and then the slow season
and suddenly you're fighting to get even 10 hours of work per
week. If your income is especially important to your
definitely keep that in mind. However, many people choose to
work more than one job at a time. If one slows down, they
simply start working more for the other.
How motivated are you? - If you are the type of person who
usually needs a kick in the rear to get moving, working at
will be very hard on you. You have to be extremely disciplined
to sit down at the computer, log in and actually WORK each
There are so many distractions in the home that will pull you
away from work if you let them. You have to be very focused
set a schedule for yourself, just like you would at a job
outside the home.
Do you mind solitude? - Working at home can be lonely. If you
thrive on social interaction, working alone can be difficult
adjust to. However, you can ease this by spending time with
friends frequently, or joining some online groups to chat with
like minded people.
Flexibility - Some employers require you to work a specific
schedule, while others might be more flexible, allowing you to
choose your own hours. Give some thought to which type of
schedule would work best for you. When I first decided to work
at home, I made the mistake of choosing a job that had a rigid
schedule, and I hated it! I had forgotten that that was one of
the things I disliked about working outside the home - living
by someone else's schedule. Think about how you work best, and
Childcare - So many mothers want to work at home so they can
raise their own children, rather than sending them to a
daycare. However, working at home with small children
is no easy task! It's not impossible, and it depends greatly
the ages of your children and what type of work you are doing
at home. If you work a telephone job, most employers will
require a very quiet background, which is impossible if you
have small children. You also can't stop working every few
minutes to entertain the kids, unless you want to put in a
long day at the computer to make up for all the interruptions.
There are certainly things you can do to make it easier, like
have a neighborhood teenager come in for a few hours to watch
your children while you work, or work only when your spouse is
home and can keep an eye on the kids.
Choosing work that fulfills you - This is SO important! Right
now you're probably thinking, "I don't care what type of work
do, as long as it brings in a paycheck." I guarantee that
attitude won't last long. Like I said, you will need to be
extremely self-motivated and self-disciplined to work at home,
and your job will be a lot easier if you actually like what
do! Think about the type of person you are, and the type of
that suits you best. Are you creative and free-spirited, or
nose-to-the-grindstone efficient? Give some thought to your
"vision" of working at home, and try to find a job (or
business) that will complement that.
Do you even want a "job?" - When some people decide they want
to "work at home," they don't want a regular J-O-B at all.
they want is the freedom to set their own schedule and do work
they love. It's certainly possible to find those qualities in
job, but it can be difficult. If this describes you, consider
starting your own business instead, focusing on your existing
talents and abilities. I think many people shy away from this
idea because it seems so overwhelming. But people do this
day! It's not hard at all. If you don't know much about
but have an interest, start learning! There are so many great
resources on the internet today. If you're still not sure what
type of work at home is best for you, get out a pad of paper
and a pen. Write this sentence along the top of the page: I
want to work at home because . . . and then write down as many
endings to that sentence as you can think of. If most of your
answers have to do with freedom and passionate, fulfilling
work, a "job" might not be the best thing for you.
Regardless of what type of work you decide on, understand that
working at home can be difficult and challenging. But for most
of us who do it, it is also wonderful. Personally, I wouldn't
trade it for anything! And once you find the right job or
business, you will probably feel the same.
If this article has given you the impression that working at
home might not be for you, remember that you can change if you
want it badly enough. If you're not very motivated, work on
that. Give yourself little challenges every day and strengthen
your level of self-discipline. If you need health benefits,
keep searching for a job that provides them, or research other
possibilities like affordable health insurance for the
self-employed. If your resolve is strong enough, you can make
it happen! Never give up on your dreams.
About The Author: Wendy Betterini is a freelance writer, web
designer and owner of www.CreativeWorkAtHome.com, a
resource center for home business owners and telecommuters.
Visit today for information on how to make your work at home