Top Five Working-from-Home Mistakes- Guest Post Jessica Bunyard

Updated on: by Miranda Grimm

I have been working from home on and off for the last 13 years. And while I have made a lot of slam dunks in that time, I have also made a lot of mistakes. It is hard to balance work and family, especially when you are your own boss. Here is a list of  my flubs in the hopes that they will keep you from making your own.

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1. Depending on my “favorites” list to keep me organized

More than one computer has crashed, leaving me crying over my lost links. Keep a notebook and be very dedicated about entering the web addresses to all your work sites. It is also a good idea to jot down the sites you use for inspiration and relaxation. That favorites tab is a great tool when you need to keep track of a lot of sites but can be hard, if not impossible to retrieve when your hard drive goes kersplat. Now that I mention it, it might not be a bad idea to get a backup drive for all your photos, articles and other hard work…just saying.

2. Failing to keep track of all my earnings

There are amazing gals and guys out there who don’t have a problem with this but I am not one of them. Though there are programs available that help, they do not seem to work for me. Instead, I jot all my stuff down longhand in a notebook. I also keep a zipper folder for keeping all of my receipts, business expenses and mileage information. This stuff adds up and there is nothing worse than a total home search and hours on the internet trying to get it together at tax time.

3. Over-booking

This is the biggest pitfall of working at home. It is so hard to say “no” when there is money to be made. But when we give ourselves more work than we wanted, we are missing the point of working for ourselves. Decide how many hours a week you want to work and then stick with it!

4. Losing site of my goals

It is important to make a work-at-home plan for yourself. Ask: Why do I want to work from home? What did I hate about working for somebody else? What do I want to gain by working for myself?

Set goals for yourself and make them a reality. If you turn you lose sight of what made you love working at home, you have missed the point.

5. Getting stuck in a rut

One of the biggest problems of working from home is that we are often left to our own devices when it comes to motivation. When I start a new at-home job or project, I am a power-house of excitement… at first. Once the newness has worn off, I get restless and lack inspiration. I belong to several groups and blogs of other work-at-home friends that help motivate me during the slow times. I also find that keeping a wide range of jobs gives me the flexibility to freshen things up. I can work as a tutor during the school year, make jewelry during the fall and winter season, take wedding photos during the summer and write whenever the mood strikes me. Add that to my work at Demand Media, my little home at Hectic Domestic and teaching craft lessons on occasion and I have plenty of variety. I guess it pays to be ADD ( oops, I meant “creative”) when you are a work-at-home-er.

 

While being an organized and self-motivated person is very helpful to someone who works for themselves, it is not absolutely necessary. You simply have to acknowledge your weaknesses and take steps to overcome them. Like me, you are bound to misstep a little along the way and that’s okay. Just make sure to make it a learning experience and to keep going. Seek advice from old pro’s like Miranda here on Work-at-Home-Adventures and enlist the help of your family and friends. This at home gig is a pretty fantastic thing. You CAN make it work for you and your family.

 

Jessica Bunyard is the mother of two young boys becoming men. She is a writer, a creator and a student of Indiana University. She has recently began a fantastic blog titled Hestic Domestic where she shares great coupons and saving strategies!

 

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Anna

May 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Great tips here! I agree that having a hard copy of important things like links is really important. Computers can’t be counted on to work forever, unfortunately. I also agree about the overbooking. If you try to take on too much, you’ll end up not getting anything done.

Jessica

May 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm

My latest over-booking goof… I agreed to write five stories for my local newspaper and the deadline was during FINALS WEEK!!! I don’t know what I was thinking. Going to college at my age is hard enough by itself.

Jess

May 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I think it’s also important to do things you like doing..not just doing them to make money. LOL. I tried transcription today, def not for me. But that is why I like this world. I may never of had the chance to try transcipting something…otherwise!

Robert Truitt

June 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I agree with you Jess. It is important to do things that you enjoy doing. I have been doing transcription for a year now, but I have found out that its really not my thing to do. You can make money from it but I just said forget it get and went to customer service. I have been doing outside work as customer service and I found it really interested and decided to do it from home.

Brandi

May 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Hey jessica- I currently have a WAH job but its with convergys. i am looking for other things and I was wondering where you are working? I’m a little confused by a few things. you said to keep a notebook of all the places you are working.. does this mean you work when and where you want?
I am def. stuck in a rut, ugh, it is so hard to be motivated to log into work and be yelled at all day..lol.
I’m sorry these are really dumb questions i’m sure but i’m dying to know!

Jessica

May 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Hello Brandi,

Your questions are not dumb at all. Like I said in the article, it is hard to enjoy working from home if it becomes just like your old “real world” job. First, yes, I do work when and where I want. I have worked for many places over the years, much like Miranda (our site owner)with her little “eggs” she keeps. These are small gigs that don’t necessarily make up the majority of our income but provide a little boost every now and then. These are the ones that are easy to lose track of. Currently, I am working (whenever I want to log in)for Demand Media as a TQA http://wahadventures.com/?s=tqa
and I have a blog, work as a writer at Associated Content/YAHOO! http://wahadventures.com/?s=associated+content
and have a few “real world” freelance gigs. I nearly always have some writing jobs going on. Some of these have been for pay, others for publicity and some for trade. I have worked as a forum moderator and also sell handcrafted jewelry and photos online. There are a lot of little treasures to find but a lot of dead ends as well. When you do find a gem, be sure to write it down in that notebook so that you can find it again, even if it’s years down the road. A site you are bored with today may come in handy in a few months. Keep searching Miranda’s site. She is a fountain of knowledge and can be your best resource. Also, feel free to ask as many questions as you like for myself and the others on this site. Many of us have been at this for a while and can share tips and leads with you.