Many people dream about being able to work from home. They think about the advantages of eliminating commute time, saving money on gas, and being available to better meet family needs.
One of the big advantages of becoming a life coach is all the flexibility it provides in terms of working hours and location.
What most people don’t stop to consider, though, are the challenges of working from home. These include a sense of isolation, fewer chances to interact with others, distractions such as children or pets, and the importance of maintaining a structured schedule.
There are some things you should consider carefully before you become a life coach and rush right in to making the change to work from home.
You need to find out – do you have what it takes to work from home?
Physical Requirements to Work from Home
There are some basic physical requirements needed to work from home. Your needs will vary somewhat depending on your profession (an architect needs a lot of drawing space while a computer programmer needs more computer space, for example).
As a life coach working from home, you need to have room for your telephone, computer, a printer, a file cabinet or two, and perhaps a small copier or scanner. And of course, you will need some sort of desk or tabletop working surface.
Look around your home and take some measurements to determine how much room you actually have.
Think about the traffic flow in your home and how that impacts your ability to concentrate on work. Will your workspace be in a location where it is relatively quiet? Can you close a door if necessary? Is your workspace in an area where you can leave your work out in the evening or do you need to put it away to avoid curious little hands?
Take into account the power outlets, telephone jacks, broadband or DSL components, and other physical things you need. If they are not already in place, can they be installed for your? How much of these expenses can you afford when you are just getting started?
If you are in business for yourself then be sure to check with local zoning codes to be sure it is permissible to operate a home based business from your location.
Check homeowners’ covenants for possible limitations as well. If you plan to have clients come to your home office be sure that the environment is professional, neat and clean.
Personal Requirements to Work from Home
If you have the physical accommodations to work from home, the next step is to consider the personal requirements of working from home. Think about key issues such as:
1) Motivation – Are you self-motivated enough to plan and keep to your schedule?
Some people are very enthusiastic at the start of working from home, but as time goes by they can lose focus and start to let things slide. As nice as it is to not have a long commute, it can be very hard to concentrate on work when the couch in the living room is inviting you to come take a nap.
2) Discipline – Do you have the discipline to work to your full potential, even if there is no immediate supervisor looking over your shoulder?
Some people are easily distracted and find it difficult to stick to work unless they know someone is nearby keeping an eye of their productivity.
3) Children – What about your children, if any?
Think about how you will be able to work and ensure their proper care as well. School age children are gone for a good part of the day, leaving you free to work in peace, but what about when they get home, or during school vacations?
Pre-school and younger children require even more of your attention, so be honest with yourself about how much work you can realistically do if you have young children in the home. You may find a part time babysitter is in order to help you get the time you need to work.
4) Social interaction – Are you someone who thrives on social contact with your peers and colleagues?
One of the biggest complaints of people who work from home is the extreme isolation they feel. No more visiting around the water cooler, or stopping by someone’s office to inquire informally about a project. If contact with other people is important to you, think about arranging your schedule so that you interact with others as much as possible.
As a coach, you’ll get a lot of chances to interact with clients over the phone, but even then you may still want to go to networking events or other groups to help you get more social interactions.
5) Turning it off – Are you the kind of person who can close the door at the end of the day and enjoy your evening without thinking you should be working?
Some people who work from home have trouble knowing when to quit for the day, because the work is so close by and there is inevitably always more work that could be done. It is important to your life balance, though, that you discipline yourself to end the workday at a regular time as much as possible.
Of course there will be those times when you will need to work extra hours, but those times should be the exception and not the rule.
Becoming a life coach and working from home can be a great fit for many people, allowing them to better balance the needs of their profession as well as their family. Others, though, find it difficult to work from home because of the isolation or the extra discipline it takes to stay focused.
Take the time to carefully consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of working from home before you make that move. When you are well informed and knowledgeable you are better able to make a wise decision.