Starting a work from business is exciting. Of course, with COVID-19 making many people remote workers whether they want to be or not, it makes it seem as if working from home could be easier than you thought. The fact of the matter is that while there are a lot of perks to working from home, it's often (pre-pandemic) romanticized by direct sales folks out to sign you up as their underling. And, just for the record, I have no issue with most direct sales companies or reps as long as they are honest about what they're doing and what they're offering.
I can tell you from experience having worked from home for years and having hired brand new people to work from home that get a wake up call about what it's really like, that people give up way too soon. Here are 5 reasons why that happens.
You Realize It's Actually Work
I've hired several writing assistants and virtual assistants over the past few years. They start out all eager beaver. As time moves on, I hear from them less and less. Eventually, I get a text message or an email that states they didn't realize that working from home was actually going to be...work. Being self-employed in any capacity is work. You wear all of the hats. I work from home. I own my business. It is my responsibility to:
Market my business
Meet my deadlines
Come up with blog ideas
Write the blogs
Look for additional work if I feel it is warranted to meet my goals
Maintain all of the around-the-house stuff that is part of being a wife and mom
Create the invoices
Reconcile the invoices
Handle any last minute issues that come up
My days could last as long as 15 hours. I handle the majority of my own business affairs. Even if you plan to outsource something to a virtual assistant or other professional, you need to understand the basics of how things work because you are the one who is responsible for your business.
You Aren't Making Progress As Quickly As You'd Like
Repeat after me: there's no such thing as an overnight success. I don't care if you're in direct sales, a copywriter, an editor, a programmer, a translator, a graphic designer, or starting a product-based business. There is no such thing as an overnight success. You can thank Disney, the media, and internet for giving you this ridiculous idea. No one woke up overnight with instant fame. No one woke up overnight able to fire their boss.
I taught college from 8 am until noon every day and then worked as a paralegal at a real estate law firm from about 1 pm until whenever I left. I built my digital agency on the side of that. That meant I woke up really early, went to bed really late, and worked a lot of weekends. I did that for a solid year. And before that? I took over a year just looking around online and researching. I wasn't even sure if I knew I could do any of this. I mean, I knew copywriting existed. I knew editing existed. Duh. But from home? I mean, did they really let just anyone do that? Like, without special qualifications? I read lots of books. I did a lot of research. I am a research oriented person (duh - I'm a paralegal). So, I will not say that was a waste of my time, but it certainly didn't help me make progress as fast as I'd like.
I've watched people quit working from home because they didn't make the progress they thought they should make...but frankly....
You Aren't Devoted to Making It Work
I felt like I had no other choice but to make this work. If you haven't read my story about why I had to make this work, you can do that here. It wasn't that we would starve if I couldn't find clients. I had two other jobs. I won't spoil the story for you. You can go and read it for yourself.
The truth of the matter is that most people think they want it, but they don't really want to work for it. They aren't truly devoted to it. They don't want the pain and the frustration (and the anger and every other negative emotion) that comes with the territory of owning a business. The first negative thing that happens? They quit.
If you're like everyone else, you start out thinking that you're the anomaly to the SBA's statistic of business failure. Most small businesses, including work from home businesses, fail within the first two years.
I know...you don't think it'll be you. Yet, the first big hiccup in your plan? The first time something seriously unexpected happens? You'll probably be done. Me? I cried about it and then figured it out. Failure just wasn't an option.
You Hang Out With the Wrong People
I don't hang out with many people...and that's by choice. Sure, I'm also extremely introverted and find people to be absolutely exhausting most of the time. But if people like to talk business, I'm usually all about it.
Spending your time with the wrong kind of people, either online or offline, won't do you any good. It will zap your energy and your enthusiasm. You'll develop that "do it later" mentality. And your business will become less of a priority...and eventually, you'll give it up. It's important to surround yourself with the right kind of people.
You Lack Self-Discipline
The only way you can truly become successful in business is to develop the necessary self-discipline to take action on a daily basis. It is your responsibility to do whatever it is that needs to be done for your business. If you're not careful, ten minute "breaks" turn into one hour breaks...those turn into two hour naps...which turn into half a day off...which turn into "I'll do it tomorrow..." And before you know it, it never got done and then you feel overwhelmed because you have this entire list of crap you know you needed to do...and you didn't.
No matter how many tools you're given, motivational speeches you listen to, or business gurus you follow, the only one who can fix your self-discipline problem is you. And that's by doing the hard thing: doing the work when you don't want to do it.