Some Rants And Gripes About The Challenges Of Working From Home

It’s time for a real rant. I’ve been inspired by Dino Dogan’s “take no prisoners” approach to business. He’s a modern-day business Spartan. I’d like to follow his lead by being part insultant, part consultant here (more than usual).

Working from home can be a real pain. As I’ve discussed in my “Work From Home Success” series and related articles, independent work can be very rewarding but it is not without it’s drawbacks. Really, it’s not for everyone.

What really grinds my gears is when people don’t get what you do. It can be your fault that people don’t “get it” but, mostly, it’s due to how people are conditioned. For most of the world, if you do not have an office, tons of wealth, and massive popularity, taking your “thing” seriously is a tough sell. Let’s explore some of my personal sore points with WFHing (Working From Home)…Getting Serious When Working From Home

Now, let me tell you all: working from home is serious work and seriously rewarding.. When done right. Not having all the extra operational costs is a good and bad thing. You lose some sense of urgency but you can work more comfortably and efficiently, in theory.

You have to get serious if you work from home, whether your business is home-based or you just take some work home. After all, no one will take you seriously unless you are serious about it. So, how do you do that?

Setting Up Shop And Putting Up An “Open For Business” Sign

First and foremost, you have to carve out some work space. Minimize distractions by getting rid of toys and having some privacy is a good start. You also have to let people around you know you mean business. Personally, I’m all for working in your pajamas but it does help to dress up so you get your business face on.

Oh, you’re not busy.. Can you help me fix my car?

Make your hours of availability known. Put up your “office hours”. Let your clients and colleagues know when phone calls are cool. Conversely, let anyone that lives close or with you know when you are “free”. Fail to do this and people will assume you’re not doing anything
and the interruptions will keep coming.

Of course, there will always be people that will not treat you the same when you work from home. It would seem that having a “real office” in an office building commands more respect. This is to be expected. As you will see in my rantings here, reprogramming thoughts and expectations can be difficult and perhaps pointless.

This Is Real Work, Now STFU

Wait, so all you do is play with the computer and you get paid? That sounds easy.

Look, not everyone is cut out for WFH (Work From Home) or independent work. It’s hard work. I don’t do it because it’s easy. I do it because I like the freedom and benefits of it.

No, I don’t just make a web site and sit back to collect pay checks. If only it were that simple! Demeaning our work by over-simplifying it is a proverbial slap to the face. This is real work, man.

Communicating this can be tough. Doing it without being defensive is tougher. It’s always hard to describe your “thing”, especially if you wear different hats like me (you kind of have to these days). I find that showing close friends and family what your deliverables are (how you get paid) helps build a stronger case. Just be carefully getting into a long-winded, overly-technical explanation or you may sound like you’re just full of hot air.

Home-Based But Not Home-Bound

If you got a laptop and a smartphone, chances are you can work anywhere. Being home-based does not mean you are limited to working at home. What that means to you is that, if you’re not productive at home, there are other places you can go.

You need an office if you’re serious about success.

No, no I don’t. I work from home because traditional environments are not for me. I’m not alone on this. Working from home is great so why downgrade to a traditional set-up?

Don’t get me wrong: the corporate rat race is fun to some (especially if you like to kiss behinds or cut throats) but not for me. Brown-nosing, “playing ball”, and BSing is not my cup of tea. I’ll stick to doing my own thing. Thanks for the job offer, though! *sarcasm*

Reprogramming Business Thoughts

What I find most annoying is that the masses are stuck in this Corporate America mindset: wear a suit, shake hands, get paper-certified, and suck up to move up. The nicer your office, the more successful you are. Is that really success? Doesn’t sound exciting to me.

I did my Corporate America bid and made good money but it wasn’t for me. Here I am, working mostly from home and loving it. Of course, I have to contend with a good bit of ignorance.

Are you getting paid for that?

It’s not all about the money. Much of the work we do independently when working from home (not just bringing work home), is about building relationships, raising awareness of our brands, building credibility, and opening doors, to put it simply. Most of that stuff doesn’t make money directly but it does build value.

When you are working independently, you’re mostly flying solo. You have to weave your work into your lifestyle so people know what you do and respect it. You’re not merely writing on a blog, chatting with cool people, or creating spiffy web sites, you are building up to a new future.

If you know someone that works from home or has a home business, please don’t belittle their work. We all play by different rules. I like Robert Kiyosaki’s cashflow quadrants. Most folks find themselves in the “E” or “S” squares and I’m more about the other two, where you build networks and duplicate success exponentially, rather than trading time for money like the rest of the world.

Again, we’re conditioned to work within some very traditional, old-money confines but let’s face it: no one finds true wealth as an employee. I don’t just mean money. Wealth also comes in the form of wisdom and doing something truly fulfilling!

Common Sense And Creating Urgency

The WFH sector is booming in this economy. Working from home makes it easier for small businesses and startups to thrive. To me, this spirit continues to live on no matter how big you get. That means you never lose your soul, the warmth and personal touch that got you where you now find yourself.

To us savvy geeks and entrepreneurs, most of these work-from-home issues should be common sense but it is not. We are fighting against stigmas, misconceptions, and archaic thoughts and systems. We know the value and urgency of what we do but how do we make that apparent to those that have some influence over us?

You could become an anti-social bastard and get new friends and family. Some successful business types will say that is the only way to go.. But I’d like to think you can create the urgency and educate people in better, nicer ways.

For starters, be passionate about your dreams and vision. Share that stuff with others. That’s the good stuff. Not everyone will get it, which is why your ideas are special and give you an edge, but they should appreciate your “end-game” (by doing this, I can eventually do this and get THAT in return for my hard work).

Remarkable success does not happen overnight, which is why most people like traditional jobs: immediate gains and self-affirmation. It’s clean and easy. For the rest of us, something deep down inside drives us. We know change is necessary and we won’t conform. We want to kick Corporate America in the balls and laugh when we become huge the honest way. We know we can do better than the corporate rat race, where our talents are mostly wasted, stifled and unappreciated.

Don’t Touch My Corner

Those of you that know me a bit more intimately know that I can be a bit anal-retentive. Perhaps it is OCD. Who knows.

Some say a messy workspace means you are keeping busy. Surely, if your workspace is too neat, perhaps you’re not being productive enough. I’m somewhere in between. Let’s call it “organized chaos”.

Honey, I cleaned up your desk and threw away some papers you scribbled on. Hope that helps!

If you live with someone that works from home, don’t touch their stuff. That mess on the desk may actually may make sense to them. I know where to find all my files, invoices, spec sheets, and the like but, when people rearrange my stuff to “help”, it screws things up.. Really.

Binders and file cabinets help but I like to have current stuff at my fingertips. It’s part of my workflow. I guess that’s something you have to share with those close to you so they can see there’s a method to your madness.

Share Your Work From Home Experiences

Yes, I know I didn’t really make any firm points on this article. This is a pure rant. I want to hear about your work from home stories…

  • What are your biggest distractions when working from home?
  • Do you dress up or work in your pajamas? Both?
  • When are you most productive and what do you do differently to achieve those results consistently?
  • Are you more casual or professional?
  • Are they mutually exclusive?
  • How difficult is it for you to explain what you do?

Excuse this long-winded rant.. I’ll get back to business as usual. I just had to vent about my own personal experiences a bit and I know some of you can relate!


15 thoughts on “Some Rants And Gripes About The Challenges Of Working From Home

  1. I used to love working from home well I still do I just dot get paid for it LOL. Biggest Distraction is my son especially when he wants to play the Xbox I love the kid to death but every 5 mins he has a question which is great he wants to learn but he happens to get me in deep though and throws me all out of whack. Ass for the dressing up pssh id stroll into the office (My messy man cave) with a cup of coffee and what ever i went to bed in. Love when u rant on stuff i can understand LAWL cause at least i can comment on it

    • I figured you would appreciate this one. I’ll help you monetize efforts soon since it’ll benefit us both. You got to be ready to work.. And have your wife keep the kids at bay, at least a couple of hours a day! It’s hard but necessary.

      Working from home rocks but, for some, it’s better to keep it part-time.. At least until you build up residual/passive income and can afford to work exclusively from home. 8)

    • It certainly is not. Even if people do not live with you, neighbors, friends, and loved ones tend to drop in unexpectedly (I dislike random drop-ins LOL). Sounds like you could relate. My dog, Lylah, is spoiled rotten so she always wants my attention when she knows I’m around.

      In spite of all the headaches, working from home is very rewarding, especially if you value friends, family, and/or freedom. Will call that the 3F’s of WFH. Let’s coin that and make some extra cash now. =oP

      Ugh.. In-laws.. Been there before. It’s not a good time, especially if they’re the types that need to have their hands in everything. Some folks just don’t appreciate or respect the need for some degree of personal space or privacy. It’s quite frustrating at times.

      BTW, welcome back! Everyone be sure to check out and subscribe to “You’ve Been Hooked!” – it’s certainly an entertaining blog written in a very smart way! 8)

  2. I’m with you in that I love working from home and see no reason to get a ‘traditional’ office. I think times have changed as far as how having a home office is viewed by clients. All my clients know I work from home and are fine with it. They understand that if I had to pay office rent, I’d have to charge them more. But where attitudes don’t seem to have changed is with family & friends. Many still think that because I work from home, I’m available anytime during the day to help them with things.

    • You’re right, Anne. Times have changed. More and more people are hiring talents like us based on merit and character rather than the other stuff people use to dress up crap. It’s a good time to be self-employed and become leaders in our own rights!

      I’m in the same boat as you. I like to be accessible and approachable but you have to set SOME boundaries; otherwise, you’ll never get anything done. I can’t call it a day until I know I’ve been productive. The unrest comes from loose ends is simply not a good time.

      In spite of the challenges and my gripes here and there, working for myself and doing what I love sure beats the alternatives. I really enjoyed Dino Dogan’s lengthy article titled “Corporations Must Die”. In his usual irreverent style, Dino hones in on the main reason free thinkers (for lack of a better word) can’t work in a traditional job setting: the restrictions, hypocrisy, and over-complication of policies and procedures kill productivity and prohibit anything of real value from being achieved.

      That feeling of being trapped may very well be what brought us to independent work but what keeps us “on the grind” is knowing our work really matters and we are really helping people. Surely, it’s scary not having a steady paycheck.. Yet there’s no security in jobs that pray on our insecurities. These underlying themes will likely be at the center of my next big project. I’d like to share your story as well as those of people who may be largely unknown but are doing some remarkable things!

      Thanks for stopping by and please subscribe so we may stay connected! =o)

  3. I love working from home, but I wish I had more time to do it. Trying to have a life as well as keep a full time job going doesn’t leave a lot of time for working from home as well.

    I used to work from home a few years ago, and it was great being able to work your own hours, to get the laundry done while working etc. It is sometimes difficult to ensure you work not play though.

    • Very true, Tony!

      In your case, it may be easier to transition slowly into 100% self-employed/independent status. Develop the discipline, financial nest egg, and diverse skill sets needed to not just survive but THRIVE! It’s tougher when you’re more on the side of desperation, trying to stay billable, rather than focusing on your life’s work. It’s fairly common to be desperate to that extreme, hence the aggressive selling tactics we sometimes see.

      You’re right about the work-life balance. Play is important but minimizing distractions is huge if you are home-based. I like Tony Schwartz’s approach: getting a jump start on your day by jumping straight into work after a good breakfast and some exercise. He also recommends taking breaks after 90-minute productivity sessions so you don’t burn out. I have to work on the latter most. I strike when the iron’s hot and ride out the momentum until my brain starts to smoke. LOL

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Tony. How did you find my blog? I hope you enjoy you stay and return often. Seems like we have much to discuss together! 8)

  4. I love the bit about “don’t tough my corner”. It’s funny how when it comes right down to it your place (even though it may be considered a mess to someone else) is really organized. I don’t have a a desk or anything at home but I do know that my room is a mess but an organized mess.

    • Organized chaos works sometimes!

      Interestingly enough, I sometimes tweak or completely redo my titles. “Don’t Touch My Corner!” was my original working title but I decided to go with a simpler “what’s inside” approach here, at least for now. I’ve learned to embrace some disarray and adversity, subsiding with the anal-retentive, perhaps OCD-ridden, control freak in me. It helps me cope when someone touches my corner or over-extends their stay in my little bubble, my little slice of paradise. LOL

      Thanks for coming back, PM! I have lots more goodies to come so check back often and join the conversations, please. Party over here, peoplez! =oD

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