What topic is more predictable around a coffee table or over a cocktail table than work? Inevitably, people will start to discuss their jobs and inquire about others’ areas of employment. It’s a good way to guess at someone’s personality or interests if you’re meeting them for the first time, and there’s a lot you can infer from someone’s employment status.
The people with really cool careers like camera stuntman or White House interns tend to get a ton of questions about how they landed the job, what it involves, and so on… to the point where they feel semi-famous. Believe it or not, those who work from home often get the same kind of attention. After all, most employees have daydreamed about working at home in their PJs.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about working from home.
1. How do I find a work from home company without being scammed?
The art of sniffing out scams before you fall for them requires a mixture of common sense and experience. Some people are just constantly tempted to take the easy way out, and if this describes you, you should know that it makes you a likely target for smooth-talking salesmen who want to show you the fast, easy shortcuts that don’t really exist.
Treat every “opportunity” with skepticism until it’s proven to be legitimate by several outside sources – don’t rely on testimonials provided by a company, for instance. Always Google the names of the company and any individuals you are dealing with to find any complaints that have been written about them.
Finally, remember that you should never have to pay to get a job – it’s the other way around, just like in a traditional job!
2. Are work from home jobs really hard to find?
It’s not all that hard to locate a real work from home job, if you know what you’re looking for and if you’re willing to work in certain fields. It’s hard to work from home in retail, for example. There are a lot of work from home jobs available in fields related to technology, for example.
Some people have enough experience in a field that they can become consultants; this is easy to do from home for a number of different industries. Others prefer to break in from the ground level of an industry, but this is a little harder. If you’ve never had a job before, this is probably the best option, though there will be hard work involved, just as there would be in any other industry.
Medical transcription jobs are easily available, for instance. Virtual assistants are always in need, and if you have techie experience in building websites, installing WordPress, or other such jobs, you can easily do these tasks for a little money.
3. How can I effectively work from home if I’m always being distracted?
Many work from home employees find themselves distracted and annoyed by numerous things, from nagging spouses to ringing telephones. The key to effective work from home, as you may have guessed, is to eliminate distractions.
The majority of distractions you will experience when working from home come from two primary sources: internal and external distractions.
External distractions are, in a way, easier to tackle. You have to be firm with people about not letting them interrupt you when you’re working, which may require anything from setting certain work hours to not answering the doorbell during work time. Turn off phones’ ringtones, get out of the house to work if household members won’t leave you alone, and so on. With some creativity and persistence, any distractions coming from external sources are easier to minimize.
Internal distractions are far more pervasive, however. They will creep into your workdays until you find yourself staring into the distance and daydreaming for half your workday or watching TV because you feel like you can’t concentrate. There are plenty of methods to try handling these with, from the Pomodoro technique which involves hyper-focused blocks of time alternated with breaks to “simply being disciplined” (a common piece of advice from those with more experience in training their mind to ignore internal distractions).
4. What are the main reasons I should choose to work from home?
The reasons for working from home are as varied as the people who do it. Some people choose to do it to save money, as the costs of working in a traditional job can include everything from a few thousand dollars per year on lunches to much more for childcare.
Other people simply don’t like the traditional working environment, full of office gossip and incredible un-productivity, idiotic coworkers and aggravating bosses. The litany of complaints against traditional jobs make for a convincing argument for working from home.
Perhaps you’re not too bothered by all of these things, but you simply want more job security. The common illusion is that working from home is less stable or secure, but really, many employees who work from home have commented that they find it far more secure and stable than a traditional job, because they are less tied to any one specific company.
It’s much easier to work for two or three companies or individuals (or more), then replace any clients you dislike or don’t get along with. If one lets you go or drops off the radar, you simply look for more clients… or, ideally, have more lined up to replace them.
You also have more control over your salary, particularly if you choose to be a freelancer. You can raise your rates any time you feel you can justify it, rather than having to justify it to various levels of bosses, management, and human resources personnel who are intent on maintaining a tight budget.
Work at home jobs may not be for everyone, but they have a lot to offer to driven and dedicated professionals who will approach them with the same attitude as a traditional job. Plus, you’ll find yourself the envy of unhappily traditionally employed acquaintances everywhere!