A work from home job is a dream for most people, but they often fail to realize just how much discipline it takes to be successful at it. You don’t just wake up and go to work. It takes structure, discipline, and support to make this work for you and your family. So, without further ado, let’s jump in to the 4 ways you can successfully work from home!

Create a Schedule

I cannot stress this enough! It’s important to have a schedule that you follow in order to provide yourself and your clients with consistency. Be sure to let all of your clients know your schedule so that they know when they can expect you to be available for work. A schedule is also important for you and your family so that you don’t get sucked into workaholic mode. Trust me, it’s very easy to become a workaholic when you work from home. I got sucked into that for years and it was hard to break free.

Your schedule should include both your professional and personal time. Not only does this conserve paper, but it also allows you, and your family, to see when you have time away from “the office”. Include everything you do daily – from waking up to helping the kids with their homework (if applicable). I’m not advocating that you schedule every second of every day, but it’s important to know and understand where your time is going during the day.

Setup Your Office

Making sure you have all of the necessary equipment to work from home is going to set you up for success. Fortunately, you don’t need a lot to get started.

Image credit: WeHeartIt

Here’s a list of the required office equipment you need:

  • Desk and comfortable chair
  • Computer (laptop or desktop, Mac or PC)
  • All-in-one printer (includes scanner)

As you get settled into working from home, you’ll determine what other supplies you need. For example, I use a whiteboard to help me keep track of certain things but that’s not a requirement for everyone.

Be sure that you make your office space as comfortable as you can because you’ll be spending a lot of time there. It’s also important to make sure that your space is well lighted so that you’re not straining your eyes.

Know Your Software

Working from home requires that you’re familiar with many different software applications. Some of these applications are required while others are desired. But, it’s important to at least be familiar with all of them. I’m not going to list all the software you should know; just the important ones.

  • Google Apps
  • Freshbooks
  • Dropbox
  • Asana

Depending on the line of work you’re in, the software necessary will be different. If you’re a bookkeeper, you should definitely be skilled in Quickbooks Online or Xero. Conversely, if you’re a web designer, you should be highly skilled using WordPress.

Take Time Off

It’s important to take time off to re-energize yourself if you want to be successful with anything. Don’t work 24/7 – you’re more likely to make little mistakes that can cause big issues down the road. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, I rarely work weekends anymore. If I do, it’s because I’m bored and don’t have anything else to do. That doesn’t happen very often but it does happen. It’s so easy to work all the time, especially when you’re just getting started, but you’re not really making any headway by doing that. Eventually, you’ll start to build resentment toward your job and then you’ll start flaking during the work week. That’s not good for you, the business you’re building, and, especially, your clients.

It’s not that difficult to be successful working from home but it does take some finesse. I’ve made a lot of mistakes during my time working from home, and some of them have cost me dearly. My husband actually threatened to throw my Blackberry in the river one day because I was always on it working. It wasn’t until then that I realized I was working way too much. I was missing out on so much with my family and that wasn’t fair to anyone.

Do you have any tips for being successful at working from home? Feel free to share!