How Well Are You Suited to Working on Your Own?

You also need to be realistic about making this situation work for you. If you’re thinking about working at home, you need to take stock of your capabilities, personality and work habits. These are some of the attributes you need to have- or cultivate-to make your home-based business a success:

  • Experience. You need to have enough experience to do all of the work involved in a project from beginning to end, including every production phase. When you’re on your own, you won’t be able to ask questions of co-workers.
  • Clerical skills. You’ll need to do clerical and administrative tasks, such as filing paperwork and making photocopies, as well as basic bookkeeping, such as keeping track of expenses and income. You’ll also be pricing your services and billing clients.
  • Marketing skills. You’ll have to market your work to others, sell your concepts to a client and communicate your personal vision to those you will be working with.
  • Discipline. A self-starter who is disciplined enough to get the job done from beginning to end can work alone. No one will be there to “crack the whip” if you slack off. You’ll need to set goals and meet deadlines on current projects while simultaneously securing opportunities for future work.
  • Organizational skills. You need to be good at organizing your time and your work environment. If you’re used to depending on someone else in your office to keep you organized, you’ll need to learn to do this for yourself when you’re working at home. This means setting priorities to allow juggling several projects at once while balancing administrative tasks with the workload on hand. You’ll also need to set up a work area and a system that will allow you to keep track of projects, as well as the correspondence and paperwork involved.
  • Well-Being. Good health, emotional stability and the fortitude to get the job done even when you’re not feeling well, are important to working independently. Unlike a salaried job where sick days are automatically paid for, sick days are lost time and money if you establish your own business. Even if you work from your home on a contractual basis with your former employer, you’ll be obligated to meet deadlines and other business commitments no matter how you feel.
  • Contentment. You should have a low need for status and a realistic view of the world. You should want to do this to make money doing something you enjoy and do well–not to become the envy of all of your friends.


Your Perfect Home-Based Studio, HOW Design Books, 2001