If you’re getting restless in your office job, you might be wondering if striking out on your own and working from home could be right for you.
After all, the idea of rolling out of bed, commuting to the next room, and spending the day in your pj’s sounds like the ideal situation, right? Well, that depends.
Here are some questions to consider before you make the big move.
Do you have the willpower?
Sure, having your home as your office has some pretty awesome perks, but it also comes with some potential pitfalls you should be aware of.
Working in the same space that you live in means having the willpower to ignore the laundry, the dishes, and of course, your bedroom. Crawling into bed “just for a few minutes” can turn into a daily habit that gets in the way of productivity if you're not careful.
If you want to be efficient, maximize your financial gains, and meet your deadlines, you have to give your job just as much attention at home as you would if you were in an office.
Which brings us to the next point ...
Do you have the physical space to work from home successfully?
Ideally, you should have a room that can be converted into an office. In this space, you need to be able to fit a desk, computer, file cabinet, etc.
It should also be well-lit and have an energizing feel. Do not put yourself in a space that is dark and dreary. You’d be surprised how much this type of environment can affect your creativity and productivity.
Are you good at selling yourself?
If you’re working for an employer who has given you the option of telecommuting, then this is not as much of an issue. But if you’re going to be self-employed and need to hustle for work, you better be good at selling yourself because the work isn’t going to just land in your lap.
Before you jump in with both feet, you might want to test drive whether the gig economy is right for you.
Try freelancing on the side to see if you have what it takes to cold pitch. If you find that you enjoy the freedom and challenge that comes with chasing your own work, you will likely enjoy working from home.
Can you handle rejection?
If you’re the type of person who can hear “no” several times a day and still get up the next morning excited to work, you’ll do just fine. But if rejection knocks you down and prevents you from moving forward, you’re going to struggle on your own.
Are you self-directed?
It’s easy to answer this question with a resounding “yes,” but before you check this box, make sure you understand exactly what it means to be self-directed.
When you work from home, by yourself, it’s just you and your computer (or whatever product/tools you need to do your job).
Being self-employed requires you to perform and produce, all the time. There’s no punching the clock and hanging out until the day is done.
Bottom line is this: if you’re not working, you’re not making money.
Does having an unpredictable income make you nervous?
Before you turn your world upside down, make sure you fully understand how unpredictable working from home as a self-employed person can be.
If you’re used to having a steady paycheck that comes each month regardless of the work you produce, get ready for things to change.
Being able to set your work schedule — and consequently, your income — is exciting and invigorating, as long as you can push past the feast-or-famine work cycles.
If you can develop the right money mindset, you will be able to make your income predictable. It just might take a while. (And if you’re not feeling it within the first few months, don’t panic. It took me 10 months before I really settled in and found my groove.)
Are you a people person?
There are three personality types that most of us fall under: introvert, extrovert, or ambivert (which is a combo of the other two).
An introvert typically does great working from home. It’s the extroverts and ambiverts that tend to struggle.
Extroverts often need a work environment that is full of people. And ambiverts need both alone time and social time. If you consider yourself an extrovert or one of these “mildly extroverted” ambiverts, you might want to seek out social interactions if you're going to work from home.
Getting out of the house and being a part of a business group or professional networking group, and of course, hanging with your friends and family will help you recharge and feel connected.
Can you get your own benefits or get benefits elsewhere?
Being your own boss means no automatic health benefits, no sick leave, and no employer-sponsored retirement programs.
Before you quit your day job, make sure you can get access to health benefits either through your spouse/partner or through private insurance.
It’s also a good idea to meet with a financial planner and go over investment and retirement options. There are quite a few plans you can qualify for if you’re self-employed and work from home.
Can you separate your home life and work life?
Many people bring work home. But it’s a lot different when your work lives in your home, all the time.
If you struggle with keeping “office hours” at home, you might want to think twice about turning your spare bedroom into your work space.
Working from home not only requires discipline to get out of bed in the morning and get the job done, it also requires you to be able to shut it down when your work day is done. This is especially true if you have a family.
Finding the right balance between work and home is essential if you’re going to be successful — no matter where you work.
See also: Is Financial Freedom Really Attainable for Millennia's?