Thinking About Working from Home: Transitioning from Work to Home

Two years ago I began my journey of transitioning from working out of the home to beginning a home-based business. I had been working in the dental field for almost five years. Through the encouragement of my family I began to look into working from home. I am still learning a great deal from my mistakes but am blessed to be walking in the vision of my heart. Here are some thoughts I can share from my journey so far.

1. Have the support of your family.
Are you married? Then it would be wisdom to sit down with your husband and talk through the effects working from home would have on your family and marriage. If your husband is not in agreement and in support of your desire to work from home, I would not begin now. Instead I would stop and be prayerful about the matter. If you are single and live at home you will also want the whole hearted support of your family. You will need their help and patience.

2. Be prepared to work hard.
If you plan on having a job or business that succeeds I can say you will be working hard to get there. You will be your own boss! That may sound great, but it means the money you need and success of your business will depend entirety upon you. If you are disorganized or lazy, have a difficult time motivating yourself to tackle the task at hand, you are going to struggle. It is much easier to have a boss or manager telling you what to do. You work a set amount of hours, then leave. Your work is done. They continue with the tasks and headaches of running the business. Now all the responsibility is yours. You are it.

3. Research before you start your business.
Your business can’t run itself. I wish it could. I can get carried away with dreams about product expansion, or marketing ideas. The reality is you need more than ideas, you need facts! I would spend time researching your business ideas. Read books on accounting, business management, marketing, and bookkeeping. A good book to start with is “Business for Beginners” by Frances McGuckin. If you are looking into any web based business start looking into the things you should be learning. Do you need basic html? Will you need to learn web design?

4. Don’t count on your home business being able to replace your current income right away.
If you, or your family, are absolutely dependent on your current income this is something to think on seriously. Is there a way to save for the months as the business builds? It may be you could keep your current job and start up your home business on the side. The exception to this thought may be a service based business like a home daycare. If you have all your customers lined up your transition could be much easier financially.

5. Stick to your budget!
It’s easy to get carried away thinking you could use items 1-67. Resist the urge and only spend money on absolute necessities. You probably won’t need accounting software and a brand new computer the first week of business. As you earn money you can invest back into the business.

6. Have a business plan prepared.
I had a business plan as I worked on coming home, and I would have been in a mess without it. I have revised it a number of times but the basic shell is still there. Check into local laws. Do you want to open an online bakery? Your city may not allow you to operate in your home kitchen! Consult with an accountant in setting up your financial plan and books. I cringed at the thought of paying for the accountant’s time but she has saved me a great deal of money because my business is set up correctly, and my ledgers are in order.

7. Be constantly learning
My business is an online store and things are ever changing on the web. I have been blessed to learn from others who share their wisdom, books, business e-newsletters, and more. I did not know enough about computers as I began. That has been a problem from day one. I’m starting to take online classes from my local community college for web design so I can take care of my own website updates. There are free and low cost learning options out there for many subjects!

8. Have a schedule
Keep yourself on a routine as much as possible. You may have to set schedules around your children. What works for one woman may not for another. Be flexible as you learn what schedule works best for you and your home.

9. Prepare yourself for the day as if you were going to work.
If you have worked outside the home as long as I have you will understand this one. I had a routine every morning as I prepared for work. I can’t sit down at the computer to work and have sloppy hair, PJ’s, and miss breakfast. Before I start working at home I am prepared as if I would walk out the door that moment and be gone all day. Then I feel like I am really “at work”.

10. Don’t be discouraged!
The day may come when you feel like throwing up your hands and giving up. Remember to be in prayer about your work or business. Find a business mentor who will encourage you. If you are on a low budget you will be working even harder at marketing. Realize from the outset this home business may take sometime to get rolling. You may want to join a WAHM forum or group. If your business doesn’t take off you will have a lot of lessons you learned to try another business venture!

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