Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Want To Work At Home: The Possibilities Are Endless

The typical dream image of the person working at home almost always involves
pink fuzzy slippers, an over-sized coffee mug, and a relaxed atmosphere.

While I can admit I've been known to work in my PJs and slippers, it's important to realize that "all that glitters is gold". There are some very serious pitfalls that have to be avoided in order to make working at home a profitable reality for anyone who is willing to give it a try. To this end, there are usually two avenues available to anyone ready to give it a go: self employment and telecommuting.

Before we move ahead, lets explain the differences between the two. First off, telecommuting means you are still employed by a company. You might be working at home but you are technically still an employee and bound by the company rules. As a self employed person, you are running your own business (and responsible for all aspects of the business including invoicing, accounting, managing workload and client relations).

While both of these options will allow you to stay at home in pursuit of profit, they each have their pitfalls. Before you decide to embark on either one of them, make sure that you weight the pros and cons!

For example, while so many late night commercials are filled with smiling
mothers who are seeing their little ones off to school only to return home
at a leisurely pace to sell a product for an international company. It is important in this situation to remember that you are selling a product and you will be required to handle customer concerns, complaints and even compensation if the product doesn't work for them as claimed. Before starting in this kind of a business, understand what the product does, how it does it and most importantly what the return policies are like. When you are starting any business, understand the legal ramifications. When you own your own business, you open yourself to potential law suits if things go wrong. Make sure you consult both an accountant and a lawyer to ensure you and your assets are protected.

While this may make you now consider telecommuting, keep in mind that this field has its pitfalls as well. For example, while your boss in the office will appreciate your hard work and dedication when she or he sees you burning the midnight oil to get a project finished, she or he will most likely not have the same appreciation for your efforts when you do the same thing at
home. Remember there are still bosses out there who believe if they can't see you working long hours, you must be slacking off (even if your results tell a very different tale.) Conversely, if you do manage to achieve the almost impossible deadlines while telecommuting, the odds are good that you will be facing tighter and tighter deadlines. Since you are most likely not an hourly employee, this means that you may end up working 20 hours in one day, and still only get paid what you normally would. As am employee, you earn a salary which does not always translated into profits when you are working long hours.

So, what should you do?

Sit down and find out exactly what it will take to make your work at home dream a profitable reality. Weigh the pros and cons of each option and make sure you have a clearly defined plan for your business or telecommuting solution. Do not too quickly lunge at an opportunity that at second glance is little more than an anchor weighing you down.

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Working from home shouldn't be a distant dream. Make it a reality: