Working from home is a bigger challenge than you think!

By Henry Brown

For lots of people the idea of working for yourself from home sounds like something of a dream come true. After all, what could be better than being able to work without having to deal with morning commutes, stuffy offices, and your boss staring over your shoulder every minute of the day? And sure, whether you’re a freelancer or you run your own business from home, there are a lot of things to recommend it. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy all of the time. In reality, working from home can come with a host of challenges that many people aren’t aware of before they start. This can often lead to people making mistakes that could potentially tank their entire business.

With that in mind, here are some incredibly simple things that many people who work or run a business from home tend to forget to do.

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Sticking to a regular schedule is an incredibly important, if slightly challenging, aspect of working from home. The lack of regular office hours or specific deadlines can often make it very easy for people to end up falling into the trap of working whenever they feel like it. Sure, that kind of freedom can be extremely positive in a lot of ways, but if you’re not careful, you’re going to end up staying up late working in order to make up for time lost during the day. It might sound counterintuitive to the whole purpose of working from home, but setting yourself a specific, regular schedule is often the very best thing for being able to work as productively as possible.

A good filing system

One of the biggest problems a lot of people come up against when they’re running their own business is that they are suddenly responsible for keeping track of all of their files and of important items like expense receipt. Being able to quickly put together accurate client invoices and having everything you need when it’s time to do your taxes will be much easier if you have a good record keeping and filing system. Without this, you’ll end up creating far more stress for yourself han is really necessary.

One of the best ways to deal with this is, of course, to hire an accountant. However, if you’re running a very small business, then that’s not going to be the most financially viable solution. In that case, you need to make sure that you have your receipts and invoices all stored away somewhere secure and organized. That way you’re not going to end up scrambling to find that one important expense receipt when tax return season rolls around.

Properly functioning equipment

No matter what kind of business you’re running from home, you’re going to need the right equipment, even if it’s just a computer, scanner, and printer. Of course, you may also need some more specific equipment than that depending on what your business is. You simply can’t afford to allow these kinds of things to end up going wrong or breaking. Make sure that any antivirus or firewall software on your computer is fully up to date to protect your business from cyber criminals and that you get your equipment checked and maintained as often as you can. Even things like making sure that your printer is full of ink or that your computer isn’t running short on memory can make a huge difference to the levels of productivity in your business as a whole. It’s easy to take functioning equipment for granted, but if you do, then you’re setting yourself up for some serious problems further down the line. Nothing is worse than to have to run to the office supply store during the middle of a big project with a looming deadline.

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One of the things that a lot of people like to imagine when it comes to working from home is the idea that they can spend all of their time working in their pajamas without ever even getting out of bed or off the couch. And sure, there’s a certain enjoyment that can come from doing that in the early days, but the novelty wears off surprisingly quickly, and it turns out that working from your bed isn’t the best way to be productive. Setting up your own dedicated workspace is incredibly important. One of the very best things you can do is to embrace a standing desk, or at the very least a desk where you can adjust the height. Not only that but something like an aluminum balance board can help you avoid getting too stiff or having any problems with your posture when working at a computer all day.

The ability to promote yourself

If you’re running your own business, you can’t rely on regular work in the same way you might if you’re an employee of another company. This means that your business is never going to survive if you’re not able to promote your business as effectively as possible to potential customers and clients. Self-promotion can be pretty challenging to a lot of people and marketing is the kind of thing that takes a lot of hard work and effort. If you’re not going to be able to put in the time and effort required to get your business out into the world, then there’s a good chance that you’re not going to be able to sustain it at all.

Of course, these are far from the only things that you need to think about when running any kind of home business, but they are some of the most likely to be forgotten. The truth is that trying to run a business, even a small one, by yourself means you have to deal with a lot of different things all at once. If you’re not ready to do that, then the independence that comes with working from home might not be the dream come true that you always imagined.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.



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