Follow these five tips to start working from home in 2020 and make your dream a reality

Many people have dreams of working from home full-time. If you can periodically telecommute with your current job, you already have an idea of the additional flexibility as you don’t have to commute or get distracted by the water cooler talk that cuts into your productivity.

Having worked completely from home since 2013, I never want to get a full-time job outside the home again. While I used to drive an hour each way to work, I can now spend that time with family, working, or just relaxing.

Like investing, the sooner you start working from home, the easier it is to accomplish your goal. Even if you have to start small, you’ll be ready to scale your workload when the right time comes.

The Coronavirus showed us the importance of working at home, in fact it made it mandatory. If you want to start working from home to get a better work-life balance, you need to follow these tips.

What Working from Home Isn’t

Let’s first review what working from home isn’t.

There are some great perks to working at home like more flexibility with your work schedule. You spend significantly less on gas and vehicle maintenance because you no longer drive, and more time with your family.

On the downside, working from home has a few potential disadvantages:

  • You must be self-disciplined
  • You will most likely take an initial pay cut
  • No longer have access to corporate medical and 401k retirement benefits
  • You might work more hours to establish a stable client base

The last two concerns might be moot if your spouse still works for a traditional employer. You also won’t have a boss looking over your shoulder to ensure you get your work finished, if you need the structure of an office environment or don’t have the discipline to stay off Facebook at home, these habits need to change.

Of course, not all work at home jobs are the same or come with the same terms. I’m talking mostly here about the kind of jobs you get that start as work from home rather than the traditional office jobs that include work at home time. If your current job switches to work from home, you should be able to avoid many of these.

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What’s Your Work from Home Passion?

Before you can transition away from your current job, you need to figure out how to make money from home. You will have the most success with an online-based job because you can work for anyone in the world.

Some example of work-at-home jobs include:

In the 21st century, you can literally make money from doing just about anything online. If you need help figuring out your passion and skills, ask your family and friends.

Again, the COVID19 pandemic has taught us that any job can be done at home and many employers are coming around to see the light. A lot of people are talking with their boss to adjust their schedule to working at home two days a week, even in some of the non-office type jobs.

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Don’t Plan on Quitting Your Job Overnight

Most freelancers don’t have the luxury of quitting their day job on Friday and working full-time from home on Monday with a replaceable income or long-term client list.

This is why I still work part-time at a regular job. While my goal is to gradually transition to 100% home-based employment as my side hustle turns into a full-time income stream, I still need some extra money to pay the bills at the moment.

If you talk to most entrepreneurs, they will tell you that before their side business became self-supporting, they worked two jobs. Because it can take several years to reach the point where your work-at-home income can replace your current income, that’s why it’s so important to find something you are passionate about pursuing.

If you’re only casually committed, the temptation to quit and continue working for an employer will seem to be the easier route. While not every job can be home-based, many more people could work from home if they realized the need for patience from the start and didn’t give up out of frustration.

Keep Your Expenses as Low as Possible

One notable downside to working from home is the smaller starting salary as you build a client base and gain experience.

One reason why I didn’t start pursuing a work from home career sooner was the lower pay. I was going to go from earning $30/hr to $15/hr until I gained more experience and rebuilt my salary. Once we figured out how we could spend less money, we could afford to make less money and still live within our means.

Look where you can trim expenses so you don’t have the stress of having to make a potentially unrealistic paycheck if your side hustle is still very small. Maybe you have to wait until you pay off your credit card bills, car loan, or mortgage before you can truly afford to quit your job.

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Learn How to Network Your Home Business

I’ve worked from home for two years now as a tutor and freelance writer. What I can tell you is that you will have slow months and busy months depending on how many clients you have. If you have never lived on a variable income before, it does take some adjustment.

To keep your monthly income as predictable as possible, I recommend advertising your services on a freelancer platform like Upwork or Fiverr and pitching to potential clients; the latter option is usually more financially lucrative (fewer fees) and stable.

The quickest way to boost your income and expand your client list is to network. As a freelance writer and personal finance blogger, I regularly visit other blogs and eventually build a relationship with guest posts, comments, and emails. Some of my best clients have been a result of networking, just like my best traditional jobs came from who I knew more so than what I knew.

I don’t say this to brag, but word-of-mouth recommendations are usually the most effective method of advertising, getting a job, finding a handyman or family doctor, etc. Think about how much research you do before you buy something; you ask friends that own the product and read Amazon customer reviews more times than not.

In addition to networking, also start a blog or create a Google Docs portfolio that you can send to potential clients to look at. As a blog owner myself, I get several “pitches” a month from people that provide little more than their name and email address, there’s only a vague mention of what services they offer that can improve my blog. More times than not, these pitches go directly to the trash can.

Working from home is easier than ever to pursue in 2020. I highly recommend anyone to try it out, even if it’s only a few hours a week until you can build your personal brand and can eventually afford to leave your current job.

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Deciding to work from home is one of the best career decisions I ever made, and I hope it is for you too! Make 2020 the year you realize your dream of a better work-life balance and more time with your family. Use these tips to start working from home this year.

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