The Work At Home Lifestyle – Is It For You?

by Liz · 52 comments

This is a guest post by Liz from EtherSpeak, Inc.

Rolling out of bed, stumbling into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and booting up the computer before even brushing your hair – this is the image of a stay at home blogger.

It’s an unfair characterization and unfortunately this image is cast on bloggers and other home based workers.  Yet, is this image really unjustified?

Have you ever asked yourself how you tend to present your business image to family and friends?  Maybe some of these perceptions are not accurate – but it comes down to just that – perception.

Perhaps, if this is the case for you, it’s time to start treating the home work environment a bit more like a typical work place.

Although working from home can lend itself to various comforts, it can sometimes inadvertently stimulate an environment which promotes a less than professional and serious atmosphere, thus making an individual wonder why they just simply aren’t getting everything on their To Do list done (if they have one), or why business hasn’t brought in the traffic or revenue expected.

Learning to exhibit the same behaviors and ways of thinking one would have with an outside job should be the first step to turning your work at home environment into a more productive and structured business model.

(image source)

How Are You Marketing Yourself As A Professional?

Without professionalism, the odds of your business succeeding are greatly diminished – at least for the long haul.  Professionalism is in essence a form of marketing as it has to do immensely with presentation and first impressions by clients – albeit your readers or customers – is something to take seriously.

Professionalism is more than appearances; it is a way of thinking, a way of living.   How do you decide to tackle your To Do list, handle an upset customer or a negative or rude comment left on your blog?  If you’re serious about your business, the answer should be… professionally.

The Value Of Consistency With Your Work Schedule

Having a known set time to start working helps define your work day.  Knowing that you begin at 1PM every day lets you know when you need to eat lunch, it lets you know what time you’ll be ready to break for dinner.   It lets you know when to get the most important emails out, it lets you know when it’s a good time to work on new material – it is in essence a heads up on what to expect throughout your day.

The greatest benefit to having a consistent schedule is that it creates an environment in which you can plan and prepare for the items you want to accomplish.  This is a form of organization and if held to properly, you will eventually see an increase in productivity, creativity and a decrease in stress.

The Importance Of Professional Business Supplies And Equipment

What do office supplies have to do with blogging or any other at home profession?  Easy – it has a lot to do with it because it all comes down to business image – from the phone service to the letterhead.

Just as you need to keep a professional appearance and attitude, so should your business materials and equipment.   Promotional materials are more than free giveaways, banners, etc., anything that is tied to your business is a reflection on who you are and what you do.   It’s important to take seriously.

For example, if you work from home do you use your home line to make business calls? When a prospective customer gives you call, do you really want the call to go to a home answering machine?

Using the phone as an example, there are a few options one can choose.


This international company Skype has revolutionized the telephony industry by changing the way phone calls are made over the internet.  Everyone knows about Skype – it’s extremely low cost and even free when made from one Skype user to another.  In addition, it works through an internet connection allowing users to avoid paying for additional phone lines.

The only disadvantage to Skype is that you need to buy additional Skype compatible hardware such as headsets and phone handsets if you don’t want to always use the computer.   However, the costs are still relatively low and can often fit in the budget of a small business.


For the medium size businesses (such as real estate brokers, or SEO firms) they should consider a more advanced form of VoIP called SIP (session initiation protocol).  This is different than Skype because it uses a different set of protocols for sending and receiving signaling packets over the internet.  It is more secure and can provide regular telephone quality service – sometimes better since it is digital.

The downside is that you need to go through SIP trunking providers just as you have a telephone provider.  This service ranges in price and is usually based on the number of call paths, or in some cases by the number of minutes – like a cell phone.

Cell Phones

A third option is to use your cell phone.   The obvious negatives are all about the quality of the call.  If you expect to do quite a bit of phone calling with other business members or clients or prospects, make sure your cell phone has impeccable service, otherwise you’ll come off looking terrible.

However for those who rarely do any phone calling because their work is strictly behind the scenes such as SEO marketers, link building services, web developers, etc., a cell phone would probably suffice.

Staying Focused Is Skill, Not A Gift

In his book Midas Touch, author Robert Kiyosaki talks about the importance of focus.  It is something we have to learn, just as even Donald Trump, had to learn.  For example in his book Mr. Trump recalls how he learned early on the dangers of a lack of focus.

Instead of focusing on managing his business deals, he lost focus and turned to other things.  As a result he noticed that his business was hurting and he had to reevaluate where he was putting his attention.  Once he did, his business began to turn around for the better.

Focus is not something we are born with – we have to be disciplined and learn to master the art of focus.  Many of us work well over 10 hours a day and to suggest we aren’t focused can be insulting.  But it’s not always about being unfocused, it’s about being focused on too many things.

Whether turning your attention to party nights on the town rather than meeting a deadline, or deciding to expand the business into an additional direction, the fact of the matter is that we must stay focused on the task at hand.

At the end of the day, evaluate what you have accomplished and what you did not complete which was on your To Do list (hopefully you have one).  If you find yourself coming up short, take to heart the principles discussed above and try adjusting your own perception of working from home.  Creating a professional atmosphere, being armed with proper business tools and maintaining a focus driven attitude, you will be able to do more and achieve more than you thought possible.

About Liz

Liz is the Marketing Manager for EtherSpeak, a business providing IP business services. She has been engaged in blogging and SEO and enjoys writing about business topics for her work and on the side.

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Liz March 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Working from home takes discipline and isn’t right for everyone. It can take awhile to find your own way of working that allows you to be productive. If a person gets easily stressed, working from home or for themselves is not right for them.

stella March 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

I found it so hard to concentrate at home with the family and the craziness that family life is! I will always take an office over working at home… too tough to do otherwise.

Bharat Patel March 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Well i would really like to tell you about my story as well. I am currently studying and also doing blogging stuff. My family is really not happy because i am not doing the “office job”.

My parents are telling me that the society “i mean the people around us” thinks i am not helping my family by working. even though i am earning good enough because of all these issues my family is not happy.

I really feel like renting an office and working from there so that my family can be happy of this. A life of blogger is really not that cool as well all think at least here where i live. Working from home is not that easy as we all think.

Morris May 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Working at home is hard i imagine, i would think there are a lot more distractions that you’re not ready for. I did not even think about the professional side of things, i could see where it could be thought of as a faux pas.

Danai May 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I think the most important think to be aware of what you are signing in to, when starting working from home. I totally agree that staying focused is a skill, and not many people have it.. I really like your post, it’s very informative!

Jessica May 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm

For some reason, I am not used of waking up late. Even if I work at home I see to it that I wake up early and do my online job. I do believe that, when I work early then I finish all my reports early. This means that I still have extra time to socialize. Even at home I am trying to organize all my stuff. It’s like office inside my house. Funny thing about working at home is that my neighbors are curious where I am getting all my money without leaving the house, coz during weekends I go home from supermarket with bags full of groceries.

Michael September 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Jessica.. seems like you have learnt to maintain a balance between professional & personal life while staying at home. Thats a good thing. I think I can learn much from you.
BTW Liz… you have done a great guest post. And presented a true story and circumstances of a home-based-worker. Though, its more tough to work at home.. but it is just a usual human perspective that it is a very easy job which is not the same.

Mathew May 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I have to admit, I’m really bad at working from home. I think it takes a lot of self discipline, which I just don’t have. Working from home provides so many distractions, and with nobody looking over your shoulder it can be easy to procrastinate. If I can get into the office, I’ll prefer to work there, just because I know I’ll get so much more done.

Dave July 3, 2012 at 9:50 am

Hi Liz! No truer words have been spoken! I’ve been working from home for nearly 10 years and it is still not easy to stay focused! You have to have real determination to stick to schedule and keep focused! Having friends and family on board to respect your schedule is key if you want to accomplish anything! Presentation and having the proper equipment, as you mention, is very important as well.

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