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Home » Run Your Business

The Pitfalls of Working From Home

Last week, we published a great guest post by Murray Lunn from Murlu.com on How to Start a business in your spare time. If you’re starting a business in your spare time, chances are you’re going to be doing it from home.  So in today’s guest post we’re honoured to feature a great guest post by Alex Whalley from Alexwhalley.com.  Alex has recently quit the 9 to 5 to focus on his own business and in this post he shares some of the challenges in working from home.

Today, Alex Whalley is our Friday Follow (#FF) you can connect with him on Twitter by clicking his name.

Over to you Alex:

Before you start getting into the mindset that I am against working from home you should know that this is far from the case, in fact I recently quit my fulltime job and took a part time one so that I could spend more time focusing on my internet business so that one day I may indeed work from home on a permanent basis. But this move to spend more time working on my business has seen a lot of unexpected challenges and has made me realise that being your own boss is not all itís cracked up to be.

I’m the best boss in the world!

If I was an employee under the Alex Whalley Corporation then I would think my Boss was the most awesome guy outthere. He lets it slide when I don’t complete tasks, he doesnít mind if I take an extended lunch break and he turned a blind eye yesterday when I didnít come in at all. What a champion. Yeah well the problem is that I am the Alex Whalley Corporation and so the only person who suffers when ëmy boss lets it slideí is me!

The Biggest Pitfall of working from home is YOU (well, in this case itís me but you get the point) and YOU are an obstacle that you are just going to have to overcome. If you have never worked from home or been your own boss before then the sudden change is going to be a shock to the system. Looking at my own situation, I think the reasons for the initial struggle can be broken down into three elements:

1. Lack of structure

When you go to work at a location other than your home, from the moment you wake up and jump in the shower you are doing so within the safety of a structured routine. This routine gets you in the mindset of working whether you like it or not, and so it is easy to do what needs to be done. This is work after all so there is no use complaining, just knuckle down and do it. And you do, or at least I did. Every day, day in and day out and I never had a problem with motivating myself to do it either.

2  The Home Mindset

This is what I still struggle with and it relates to what I just said about the structure of the ëwork dayí and how it gets you into the working mindset, because when I am at home the mindset does not want to switch to work!  It’s easy to say so, but the knowledge that every day I am working toward my own financial freedom is going to be motivation enough and you’d
think so wouldn’t you. I certainly did and believe me I’m a motivated SOB so it was quite a surprise when I found the motivation of my own freedom was not enough to get me to work solidly for the hours I intended. The other challenge is the fact that this is your home. If you have never worked from home before then there is no association between your environment and actually doing some work. You go from looking at the partition at your old place of employment and going oh yeah, I gotta do that report by tomorrow, to looking at the wall and thinking I really need to get around to painting that, in fact now that I think about it, the garage needs a whole new coat, and those shelves I saw at The hardware store…..and before you know it you forgot what you were supposed to be doing. And this leads me onto the
last and probably most obvious and prevalent problem:

3.   Distractions

I am sure that those who have chosen to work from home permanently didn’t just do it for the money (or chance thereof). The motivation behind these moves is inspirational and varied, but more often than not it is so more
time can be spent with the family. This is one of my driving forces and ironically the same reason I am not getting as much done as I would like. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and two beautiful children very much, but the distractions that I now have in my new work environment make it hard for me to focus. I am not saying that my children are jumping up and down on the keyboard while I am trying to work, far from it in fact – but I think again it boils down to the mindset having to shift. When you are at work then all your distractions are generally work related so itís easy to stay on task but when you are distracted at home by your family then it is most definitely not work related! Two things happen here that are not very good really as the distraction takes you out of work mode so even if it is a brief interruption it still takes a while to get back into the zone that you were in prior, and then on top of this, the distraction is from your family so it’s personal now whatever it was is going to weigh on your mind and prevent you from ever really focusing properly again!

But it’s not just the family that provide the distractions. Again it relates to the mindset having to shift but in the beginning everything around you is a possible distraction. Sure you could argue that the same could be said for work, but at work it’s generally all work related, at home nothing is related to work until you can shift your thinking.

There is no magic fix for this but it is something I believe can only improve with time, and as I work on being a stricter boss and settling into a routine the momentum will start to build and before I know it I will be writing a post about how I lost my house to my work.

Alex Whalley is the author of Alex Whalley.com where he writes about blogging, niche site marketing, and keyword research techniques. Alex recently quit his fulltime job to tackle niche marketing fulltime and uses his blog to catalogue and document his experiences with making money with niche sites and search engine marketing. If youíd like to see how easy it is to build, market and monetize niche sites check out his blog. You can also Follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his RSS Feed.