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Five Attitudes I Need To Earn a Real Home-Based Income

June

Well-known member
Messages
46
#1
Five Attitudes I Need To Earn a Real Home-Based Income.jpg


I have to admit that in my roughly half a dozen years of being a WAHM, there are things that have been hit and miss. I went into the home-based scenario without knowing everything, but at least now I can say that I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons, some of them which I want to share with you. I am by no means someone you will regard as a successful work-from-home career woman, but I would like to think that with my own experiences, failures, and little triumphs, I’ve come to know what works best for me and what doesn’t.

One of the biggest discoveries I’ve made in my WAHM journey is that attitude has a lot to do with everything. I’ve been reading and hearing some feedback from people wondering how to make more money, and when I suggest things like blogging and other stuff, they immediately go “Ah but I don’t know how to write” or “Oh, my English isn’t very good.” These are very tough to hear or read, and also admittedly a bit annoying. I mean, you haven’t even put your foot in the door yet, and you’re already quitting? How are you even going to start on something then?

With that being said, I would like to discuss the five attitudes I discovered I needed to develop in order to make the most out of my home-based setup.

1) I have to put in the work (no matter what)

So much about a home-based setup screams RELAX and CHILL. You can get a snack every time you like, take a breather whenever you feel like it, or put your feet up in the comfiest spot in the house while you take it easy because a boss isn’t breathing down your neck. This sounds ideal, but it’s an attitude that is very, very wrong for earning money. As I mentioned in this article about WAHM myths that need debunking, a work-from-home scenario often needs a more rigid and stricter schedule to adhere to, compared to one where you just log in and out of an office timesheet. In short, I have to hustle and I can’t slack off whenever I feel like it.

I have had some clients who required me to do a regular progress report, checking in on me even in the most inconvenient times. It’s my good fortune not to have clients like that all the time because it does get tiring and irritating, but at the end of the day, giving them what they need was part of what we agreed to, anyway. And I got paid because I put in the kind of work they expected of me.

2) I need to constantly be on my toes for self-improvement

Complacency is the enemy of any career! I keep telling myself that when things go smoothly - too smoothly! - for a long time, then something is very wrong. It means I am not learning something new, and that I’m not seeking to improve on things that need polishing, or making sure my skills aren’t becoming rusty or outdated. Because of this, my husband and I agreed on taking certain classes every year or so to improve ourselves, not just in our chosen careers, but also as a general overhaul of what we consider our skills, talents, and inclinations.

For instance, one of the things I keep neglecting to update is my curriculum vitae or professional resume. Aside from adding my more recent achievements and milestones, I forgot to prune past work that doesn’t have anything to do with my present trajectory. I also needed to erase information that the potential employer or client won’t be interested in, or else find odd. These include hobbies, personal “quotes” (ugh!), awards and merits that have nothing to do with my career, and other unnecessary tidbits.

3) I can’t fall back on old established work routines

This, perhaps, has been one of the most difficult bad habits for me to unlearn ever since I quit my office job and settled into a work-from-home routine. Back in my regular workplace, I had to rely on a sort of assembly line before I can perform the task I was designated, and it takes a schedule and timeline to get the entire project done. Because of this, if something goes wrong, it’s usually easy to pin the blame on someone else.

Now that I have embarked on a solo career where I am both the captain and the deckhand, I have no-one else to blame if something goes wrong. If I take on a client, all the responsibilities of getting the project done for the said client on time falls on me and me alone. Also, since the “specialized” work of every person in a team no longer exists when you’re flying solo as a WAHM, I have learned to think creatively in coming up with solutions, instead of relying and waiting on someone else to solve a problem for me.

4) I can’t quit at every little sign of trouble

When you’re on your own, it’s so easy sometimes to just throw in the towel. Trust me, it has happened to me at least a dozen times! But when I think of all the people I will inconvenience (my client, my family, etc.) if I give in to my inner whininess, I have to give myself a little shake and tell myself to keep on keeping on.

Once, I was so frustrated with the demands of a certain client that I was crying my eyes out to my husband, who told me to regard that situation as a learning experience rather than a reason to quit. Plus, the experience itself could serve as a good anecdotal icebreaker to future clients, who could surely see not just the humor of the situation, but also my determination to keep at it no matter what. Since then, I’ve learned to be much more discernible about clients, and who have reasonable demands over diva-like or impossible ones!

5) I can’t demand too much without gaining the necessary experience first

Perhaps one of the most fatal mistakes I first made as a WAHM was to overcharge a client when I still had to build a portfolio of works to back-up my talent fee. With the kind of payment I demanded, the client, of course, thought I was this very experienced professional who had all the tools and resources needed to accomplish an event that, frankly speaking, was something beyond my scope and capacity. I ended up passing on the project to someone with more experience and a more polished portfolio just to save the project and had to eat some major humble pie for months afterward.

The verdict?

These are just some of the major attitude changes I had to go through (and admittedly am still going through) in order to make my home-based work setup a successful one or at least one that won’t fail spectacularly. There are a lot more habits I feel that I need to unlearn, but acknowledging where change needs to be done is always a good first step.

Your turn!

Did you have to adjust your work attitude when you decided to work from home? What are the changes you made? Share your thoughts and experience below because I would love to learn from them too!
 

Fred W

Well-known member
Messages
49
#2
Very helpful article :)

When I made the decision to go home-based and earn an income on my own, I had to unlearn a lot of things as a former office-type. It wasn’t easy at first. I made lots of mistakes, wasted a lot of time (and my family’s and clients’ as well), and generally almost quit right from the start.

I agree with most of your points which are explained in-depth and would like to add some of my realizations in this thread, too. Please note that I’m still learning new things, especially from my wife who is also a very recent WAHM like yourself (we like to compare notes about our home-based experiences, and by “notes” I mean complaints)!

There is no real “free” time when you’re home-based

I thought that since my schedule was less structured compared to when I was commuting to and from work, that I can sleep in a bit and start later in the day. I figured, hey, the commute to work took me half an hour before, so let me put that into some extra snoozing. Boy, was I in for a nasty surprise. Not only was breakfast, lunch, and the rest of my meals pushed back farther and farther, but I belatedly realized that clients didn’t care if you woke up a bit late. They expect their calls to push through at the agreed-upon time - which is often as early as when I would have conference calls in the office!

So basically, starting your workday on more or less the same kind of schedule as a regular workday is ideal. If there is some extra time between waking up and taking breakfast, it’s better to devote it to setting up goals for the day, week, or month, or reviewing what needs to be done for a current client.

Yes, dress for success

This was admittedly hard for me to get around to doing. When I quit my job at my former office, I was all set to put up a bonfire for all my neckties, dress slacks, long-sleeved button-down shirts, and blazers to properly say goodbye to the corporate world. I mean, who needs to wear all those at home when I can start working as soon as I splash water on my face and check my inbox, right? Again, a big fat MISTAKE. Most of my clients prefer video conference calls so that meant I can’t show my fat sleepy mug wearing yesterday’s crumpled shirt and mussed-up hair. I had to be well groomed, wear at least a presentable shirt for clients, and generally dress up for the client as a sign of respect and seriousness to do business with them.

I don’t need people anymore...or do I?

Because I wasn’t part of a staff anymore since I became a home-based income earner, I figured I no longer needed to network and expand my circle. Nope, another wrong assumption on my part. Becoming a freelancer meant I was relying more and more on forums, social media, and my LinkedIn account (as I’ve written about here) to give me a heads up on industry trends, if there are new earning opportunities, and if my connections can point me in the right direction of other networks (while endorsing my skills to potential clients). So nope, working from home doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit. You just have to reshape your people skills so that they work better for you in a home-based setup.

Hope my experiences help! Would love to hear more from other home-based income earners here.
 

Naomi

Well-known member
Messages
48
#3
Thanks for writing this June. Listing down the five attitudes needed for us work from home peeps is definitely a valuable resource.

I particularly liked item number 4: I can’t quit at every little sign of trouble. That one really resonated with me. Just because we work from home, we need to maintain a certain stick with-itness. You definitely hit the nail on the head with what you wrote.

I’d like to add one more items to that list, if I may:

Able to transition between work and home modes easily

When we think of skills and attitudes we think of things like the ability or multitask or handle deadlines or be organized. But the truth is, being able to switch off is also a vital skill. Since we work from home, lines can sometimes be blurred between personal and work time. And that might not be very healthy. So being able to switch between modes is a vital skill we need to keep working on.

When I started working from home, I didn’t keep any sort of schedule, and this wreaked havoc on my family life. We’d be watching a TV show as a family or spending quality time and I’d have my laptop open trying to do tasks. That wasn’t a healthy habit to keep. So I had to learn (the hard way) to decompress and limit work to work times, and family stuff to family times.
 
Messages
11
#4
Thanks for the list, June. Those five attitudes are indeed essential to earning a home-based income.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to add a couple more to your list:

Dress for the job you want, not the one you have

Yep, Fred already mentioned this in his post, but I totally agree with it and think it’s worth repeating here. If we all dress for the jobs we had, we’d all be working in our undies! While nothing is more comfortable than working in baggy sweatpants and a tattered t-shirt, I noticed doing so keeps me in “lounge” mode. I tend to associate certain clothes with a certain frame of mind.

So I decided to dress up a bit for work… even if my office is at home. I don’t get super-formal for this. I just put on pants (please, never forget your pants), a clean t-shirt, and a pair of sneaker. Basically stuff I’d wear when going to the grocery. Doing so puts me in “work” mode and primes me to face the challenges of the day.

You gotta know how to relax!

Working from home removes a lot of stress that we would face if we had to commute or work in noisy offices. But that also means work and family life can get mixed up. I mean, how do you not bring home work, when you work at home? I found the best way to tackle this is to mindfully be aware when work is over and that, okay, it’s now time to relax.

Relaxing is a skill, and it’s just as important as all the other work skills we try to develop!