It’s been almost exactly one year since I was laid off and started doing business for myself on the internet. Within the past year, I’ve learned so much about running an online business, internet marketing and how to be profitable online. Not only that, I’ve learned a lot about myself and life in general too. Although I love what I do and feel very fortunate to be where I’m at today, living this kind of lifestyle does have it’s hardships.
Now, you may be wondering why the hell I’m writing an article about reasons NOT to quit your job and work from home, which contradicts the very existence of this blog and exactly what I do. The point here is just to help you realize exactly the kinds of things I have noticed after transitioning from corporate world to working from home for myself. Many people view the kind of lifestyle I’m living as “the dream”, but as with anything, there are hurdles and obstacles to overcome, which I’m about to share with you. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t do anything—that’s up to you. These are my opinions based on my own experiences, and you can formulate your own conclusions about them.
5. YOU Make ALL the Decisions
“Do this,” and “Have this finished by…” were some of the most common day to day phrases I’d hear while working 9-to-5. Maybe if they’d ask nicer…but that’s not the point. When I finally was able to work for myself, I had the freedom to make my own decisions, and mold my businesses exactly how I wanted.
The thing is, there are some days when I get stuck, or wish I had someone who knew more about a particular subject to point me in the right direction. Especially when it comes to legal or tax type decisions for my business, there’s a little more weight involved in my decisions as a business owner, so more research needs to be done in order to make the right decisions, which can be a little stressful at times. Working in a large company, there are people specialized to make these kinds of important decisions, but when you own your own at home business, it’s all you.
4. Your Schedule isn’t Set in Stone
Hmm, isn’t that a good thing? You can wake up anytime, leave the house anytime and still get business done when you need to? Yeah, true—but there’s something to be said for the 9-to-5 and how you know (usually) that after 5pm, you’re done for the day as far as work is concerned.
For me, I’m constantly thinking about my business and how it could improve. I’m constantly checking emails, working on new projects, blog posts, and product creation. I may not have to wake up by a certain time, but I find myself working at odd hours of the day, sometimes just because I have free time.
Instead of 9-to-5, it’s 10–11:30, then 2–3:30, then 6–7:30, then 9–12am (it varies each day, but I think you get the point). The discipline it takes to create a set schedule so you don’t overwork yourself (since your office is right there at home with you), is hard to master. This is something I personally need to work on. I don’t want to be that dad who is always in his home office when the kids and mommy are watching cartoons or playing together in the living room. No way.
3. It’s Harder to Get into “Work Mode”
Again, it takes a lot of discipline to work from home and there are many things that are working against you from being productive.
For example, when the computer reads 2:30pm, I know that Family Feud is on. At 2:30 every day, I stop whatever I’m doing and listen to what 100 people think are top ingredients for salads are. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure. My point is that working from home is TOUGH, especially if your house isn’t really set up for a home office. A bedroom or a den would be nice, but for me—I have a little niche in the corner of the kitchen, which is adjacent to the living room—where our TV and dog are usually.
When I was working 9-to-5, I woke up early, took a shower, and put on some nice clothes which automatically put me into “work mode”. I drove to “work”, which is where I would “do work”. Duh.
At home, I get up, head straight for the computer and check my email—all in my PJs. If I slack off, no one is there to tell me to wake up and get back to work either.
2. No Fellow Employees
When I was working 9-to-5, some of the people I was working with became some of my really close friends. We all had common goals working for the same company and we developed relationships based on our experiences and any commonalities we had. The bond we had was fun, and it made us work even harder.
While working from home, it’s just me. I do have my wife and puppy here with me so I’m not entirely alone, but there’s something nice about “cooler talk” and working together as a team. Pushing each other, taking breaks with each other, and even learning from each other is something I definitely miss. Although I do have VAs and people I work with from all around the world, it’s just not the same. I think this is the thing I miss most about the 9-to-5.
1. The Benefits
While working from home, you obviously lose the benefits from working for a larger company. Medical, dental and a 401(k) with employer match are probably the top three that we’re all concerned about, but there are other things like paid vacations, company outings, free lunches, possibly paying for continued education, etc.—all of which you’ll have to get or do on your own when you’re self-employed.
I am taking care of these types of things on myself (which I’ll get into in later posts), but there’s MUCH more work involved and it can be a little more costly too. When working 9-to-5, all I had to do was opt-in to the health care program or check a box for my 401(k), and it was pretty much all taken care of for me by the HR department.
As you can see, setting up your own business isn’t just creating your own products or services to sell…there’s A LOT more to it that involves your business and your daily life too.
My point here isn’t to scare you from taking the leap and starting your on entrepreneurial ventures—no way. Taking bold actions and starting my own company was the best decision I’ve ever made. I just wanted to make you aware of some of the things you might face if you choose to do start your own business, and hopefully give you an early enough warning so you can decide exactly how you’ll address each of these things in your own quest.