MSNBC has an interesting article on the challenges of working from home in a piece entitled “Barking dogs and other home office issues” . The article describes some of the issues when working on a home-based business, as follows:
- Kids may not easily adjust to the fact that their home-business owner parents are not available and cannot be disturbed.
- Interruption from kids — despite the closed door policy and “do not disturb sign” on the door
- Budgeting the time to ensure that adequate time is spent with the kids.
- Guilty feelings for limiting interaction with older kids, even parents.
- The difficulty of saying “no” to distractions
- Worry that customers might discover they work from home and think they’re not professional enough
- Risk of burdening professional relationships with personal issues
- Feelings of isolation with no one to interact with
- Lack of support staff to help with administrative things such as invoices or even IT support
As a home-based business owner, I’m sure that you have experienced any (or all) of the above. In the article I wrote years ago, “Challenges of Working at Home” and in the other articles in our Pitfalls in Starting a Home Business section, the point is to stress that working from home and starting or running a home business is NOT easy.
Many people underestimate the skill, discipline, perseverance and huge adjustments that need to be made when you decide to start a home business. They think it is so easy; so simple. Afterall, how hard is it to work in your pajamas?
When I started working from home, I would sit in the home office aimlessly surfing the Web or doing something other than working, only to realize that I’ve wasted half a day and accomplished nothing. There’s no boss to tell me what to do and when to finish the work, so I’ve got to dig deep and find ways to help me be more productive.
Then my husband and I started to have kids, and boy oh boy, working from home became so much harder. I wrote the piece How to Survive Life as a Work at Home Mom about what helped me balance family life and the business. The recommendation in the MSNBC article of putting a “do not disturb” sign on the door is not something my 24-month old baby will understand or follow. When the door of our home office is closed, he will bang on the door until we open it and let him in.
Just accept that anyplace in life will have its challenges. The key is how you work around these difficulties and accomplish what you’ve set out to do. But next time someone thinks that working from home is easy, tell them the challenges that home-based business owners face!
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