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Career Reality – Do You Have What it Takes to Work from Home?


Imagine being able to roll out of bed each morning, slip into your bathrobe, and take a leisurely stroll down the hallway of your home, with coffee in hand, to your office? When most people think of working from home, this is what they imagine. Yet, the reality is all together something else. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the work from home lifestyle from a real person who has accomplished this for eight years.

Why has working from home received so much attention?

There are several reasons why telecommuting has been getting a lot more attention and press in the last few years. One may recall the recent controversy over Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Meyer, a working parent herself, who announced early in 2013 that all remote employees would be required to stop working from home and return to the corporate office environment. This did not sit well with the thousands of working men and women around the world who work out of home offices – especially those with small children at home.

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Fact is, the use of a remote workforce is on the rise around the world, with some 3.1 million people working from home at least part time, according to most recent reports from the Telework Research Network, a watchdog organization that highlights the shift to telecommuting. Since the start of the Great Recession in 2007 and until now, there has been a marked increase in the number of people who either work for employers or as independent contractors for businesses worldwide. People are looking for true work life balance and telecommuting often provides that experience. 

The reality of working from home

Just like any other career choice, working from home or telecommuting as it’s often referred to, has its own unique set of pros and cons. The responsibility of making a living out of your home office is a big one, filled with challenges that most people are not prepared for initially. It can also be a highly productive way to excel in your career. Here are some of the experiences that working from home can offer you for your career and personal life that you need to be aware of going in.

#1 – Prepare to work MORE hours.

While you may be dreaming of sleeping in, or working just a few hours a week to earn a full time income, this is not reality with telecommuting. In fact, you may find that you work more than the standard eight hours a day. As a work from home professional, I regularly work 12-hours per day, six days a week.

#2 – Success equals lifetime learning.

Got a college degree and think that is enough to support your home career? Think again. To make it as a work from home professional, you must keep your skills and knowledge sharp at all times. Participating in online courses and certification training, and having access to tutorials about career-related topics are all a part of the work at home professionals regular life.

#3 – Career may be dictated by your family.

When I personally started working from home, I had to try several types of careers at first. This was due to the fact that I was raising my special-needs son who made it challenging to take on tasks that involved talking on the phone for hours at a time. A career at home means you may have to find a way to work with your current family structure and daily activities.

#4 – You are your own IT, accounting, and legal department.

As a home based professional, you’ll find that when something goes wrong (like inevitably it does) you are the person who gets to deal with it. This can be anything from getting a virus on your computer to managing client problems, accounting and tax issues, and even heading to small claims court to collect on debts.

#5 – Getting rich? Not going to happen!

Anyone who goes into working from home with the idea that he or she will become filthy rich is in for a major disappointment. There are no “get rich quick” schemes with bonified legit work from home careers. You have to put in the same hard work to get something out of it that every other hard working professional does, if not more, to earn a good living.

Tell Us What You Think

Thinking about working from home or know someone who does – do you think this is something you’d like to do? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

More from PayScale

Career Round Up: What Would You Give Up to Work from Home?

To Telecommute or Not to Telecommute?

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Tess C. Taylor
Read more from Tess C.

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Forgot to mention paying your own taxes and health insurance.  Paying your own taxes as a sole proprieter or independent contractor is about 30% of your income. The biggest challenge is seeing those checks from clients come in and knowing that you REALLY need to be putting 30% of that aside because when taxes come due QUARTERLY, then you better have that money to pay or else the IRS will charge fees and interest for late tax payments.

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