A top ten list for entrepreneurial moms.
10. Stop stressing out over being present. When you work in an office or any kind of designated physical location, you tend to worry about when you get there, how long you have to be there, who is noticing when you’re there and not there, and when you get to leave. Take being present out of the equation and your mind is freed up to focus on producing quality work and creating something new.
9. You can clip your toenails at your desk. Ewwww…gross, right? Well, that’s what your coworkers would think if you popped off your shoes and started clipping away in your cube. Working from home means the freedom to take care of the little things (including the little piggies at market) whenever and however you want. If you’ve ever arrived at work only to realize that you’re wearing something really itchy or uncomfortable, then had to put up with it all day long, or if you spilled coffee on your pants and sat through a couple meetings sporting a wet spot, you can appreciate that the little things can be big.
8. Recognize the security inherent in variety. When you are your own boss, you can diversify. Work for multiple bosses, in multiple arenas, and – most importantly – have multiple streams of income. At first glance, maintaining a “day job” for a particular employer seems like the more steady and reliable choice. But working on behalf of multiple clients provides more stability than any single-employer arrangement.
7. Get healthy and feel great. You’re a lot less likely to get that “2:30 feeling” when you haven’t been sitting at a desk looking at gray walls and avoiding sunlight for six hours. The flexibility of working from home enables you to get outside and exercise or even attend that 11 am kickboxing class you’ve always wanted to try. Get your Vitamin D, enjoy a better balance of work versus play activity during the day, and thrive from the boost in self-confidence you’ll see as a result!
6. You don’t have to “take” vacation. Working from home doesn’t mean you work less than other people do, but it might mean that you vacation more. The concept of vacation time is a necessary evil in the corporate world, but you don’t have to be told how many vacation days you are allotted in any given year. If you want to play hard for a month in Spain, you can accommodate that in your own work schedule through planning.
5. Set your own goals. One of the top complaints you hear about traditional employers is that managers or executives don’t understand the real work that’s being done, and are too far removed from their employees to set realistic and important goals. That’s not true everywhere, of course, and it might be more perception than fact for most employers. But working for yourself gives you an opportunity to set your own standards and targets. Any barriers or setbacks are yours to handle and need not sway you from your goal.
4. Be more social. It seems counterintuitive in this comparison that working from home would create more social interaction, but let’s look at quality over quantity. When you work with others, you do naturally socialize throughout the day. But that time spent chatting or – dare I say, gossiping –may not be the quality social time you crave. Working from home doesn’t mean you don’t like people. It just means you want to concentrate at work and choose where and with whom you socialize when you’re not working.
3. Make any day Pajama Day. This is a benefit typically reserved for first graders on Fridays, but there’s no reason you can’t occasionally trot around in your pjs all day when you work for yourself. Not only does choosing what to wear take time and effort, but the full act of “getting ready” for work occupies an hour or more of many women’s day. You can devote that time to work, or to spending time with your kids before school or day care, instead of standing in front of a mirror with your hair dryer and makeup at the ready.
2. You get to move it move it. I’m channeling the 1994 Reel to Real hit here, which dates me a bit – but as a work at home mom, I DO like to move it, move it. I’m a nomad with a laptop throughout the day, jumping from coffee shop to park bench, even to working in bed. I can work on the go, on a plane, even on the bus. Not that I have to work at a “home base” but I’m not strapped to a desk or phone. And I like that.
1. Stop stressing over being present. Yes, #1 and #10 are the same. But here’s the important slant – #1 is about your presence at home. When you work for yourself, you can arrange your schedule to accommodate the activities and care needs of your family. Moms who work are typically just as stressed about being present at home as being present at the office, if not more so. That stress can lead to guilt and resentment toward work. Work should be a fulfilling and rewarding part of your life. If missing out on time with your family keeps you from feeling that way, working for yourself may be the answer.