Anything that leans toward being too comfortable, in my opinion, is a red flag. The comfort that comes with working from home is dangerous. When I hear people get excited about working from home I feel I need to warn them. Easy access to too many comforts is not good -- at all. Working from home could be a disaster when you consider the potential impact on quality of life, marriage, kids... not to mention the overall success of your business.
The level of discipline it takes to work from home and generate solid results is intense, and most people fail at home because of this one fact. The home is filled with constant distractions: spouse, kids, pets, and not to mention your favorite La-Z-Boy to take a nap. The few who can discipline, segregate and manage their business from home, can find working from home extremely productive, but it is only for the most disciplined.
When working at home, consider that you will be constantly walking trough a gauntlet of distractions. These things can and will throw you off your game. An article in Forbes magazine reported that 30 million Americans work from home at least once a week and that number is expected to go up 63 percent in the next five years. Then there are 3 million Americans who work from home every day and out of them 54 percent say they are happier. I guarantee they are happy because they are more comfortable but, are they more productive?
When the kitchen is 10 steps away and the TV is on with the push of a button, of course people are going to like it better. Working from home is a bad idea and a bad business plan for 99 percent of people. Seeking comfort over financial freedom is what separates the most successful from the moderately successful. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough. The economy can be brutal and competition fierce. Keep in mind that half of all business fail in the first year and that number is rising. Too many people go into business ill prepared and then try to do so from home for the wrong reasons. That being said, working for yourself and from home -- for the rare few elite who are incredibly disciplined and have strong boundaries, can be extremely rewarding and successful.
First you must have a dedicated work space where nothing but work happens. Create very strict boundaries where there are no dogs, kids, and no spouses allowed. If you work with your spouse, they need to not be your spouse while in this space. Their focus is fulfilling their role at work. The door needs to remain shut with only those that have top clearance allowed access. When you walk into your home-work space it should be sacred and strictly about work. You should walk into this space the same way you would if you were walking into a bank for to acquire a $50 millionloan. In your mind, if your home is like a recreation park, the home office needs to be like a battle zone.
Have a family meeting and get agreements to clear boundaries from the start. Get a written agreement from everyone at home that no interruptions are allowed and your space is OFF LIMITS.
Switch your mindset. The main motivation for most that work from home mindset is flawed. The goal of the home office set up is to increase the quality of your life by producing more at work, not by being more comfortable. This comfortable concept will eliminate any chance of a person reaching their full potential and possibly even surviving as an entrepreneur. Just look at the number of failing companies that became comfortable and now cease to exist. It is vital that you understand you work for you. You have to manage yourself. You have to wear two hats -- boss and employee.
For those who want to work for themselves and know they are not yet disciplined enough to work from home, consider using an executive office space provider like Regus.com. This provides a low cost solution offering the space, the boundaries, and the professional setup without an intensive capital outlay. This is what I did when I started my first company until I trusted my discipline and had developed very strong boundaries.
Now that I have prepared you with all the warnings, having a home office set up can be great. It certainly has benefits saving time and money which can be reinvested into the business. Just make sure to take an honest look at your work style and goals for your business and make sure all decisions are based on working towards goals and not towards comfort.