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In this time of social distancing, financial hardships, and so many employees being furloughed, I'm hearing a lot of talk about how, especially as a Kajabi expert and partner, I should be encouraging people to start their own businesses. With an all-in-one business platform like Kajabi, they can start a side hustle now for future security (should things get worse) or maybe they need to jump right into full-time self-employment.
As much as I want to get behind all of this, I do have some reservations and this is why: There are clearly a lot of myths about working from home and about home-based business ownership. (Note: Our health crisis is a serious matter and humor is one way we're getting through it. Please know this post is tongue-in-cheek).
For instance, people think it's easy, anyone can do it, and that kind of life is so much easier than for all those people who "work in the real world." They see it as a chance to finally relax, get some work/life balance, and see more of their family. Oh, and you can finally ditch your childcare! Woo hoo!
I know, because I used to think those things too pre-2006 when I started my first home business. But in all the ensuing years since, I've seen those beliefs turn into myths, one by one. Oh, how those dominoes have fallen!
So before you go down that road, please read this post. I'm only looking out for you. Really ;).
WORK AT HOME MYTH #1: I'll have so much free time
Since you'll no longer have a commute and won't have to get presentable for work, you figure you'll have like 2-3 extra hours in the day. Then add in the 45 minutes you'll save from making your lunch "hour" into a 15-minute prep and eat and you're golden. You'll finally make serious headway on your "to read" list, get your house organized, and make a nice dinner every night.
You know what you'll actually DO with all that free time? WORK. You will work. I promise. You'll work more hours then you ever worked at a job.
WORK AT HOME MYTH #2: I'll exercise more, eat healthier, maybe even lose some weight
Not only will you have more free time, you figure, you'll also have more energy. No more hitting the snooze and missing your 5am workout squeezed in before work. No more being so exhausted after a 9-hour workday that you just can't drag yourself to the gym. Your schedule will finally be your own - you'll take a run around 10am or Peloton at midnight.
You'll actually exercise less and likely gain weight. Sorry, but every time you think about working out, you'll decide instead to send that important email broadcast, finish that Canva graphic so you can post it to Instagram, or grab that awesome AppSumo deal before it expires.
While you'll eat out less (a LOT less!), you won't lose weight nor eat healthier. I suggest you scramble an egg or eat some fruit in the morning while everyone is getting ready because once you have the house to yourself, it's going to be COFFEE, COFFEE, and WORK until they get home.
Then you'll be so famished, you'll eat a big dinner, lethargically watch Netflix, drag yourself back to the computer for 2 hours once everyone is asleep, have a snack to keep you going, and get to bed at 2am. This is not the lifestyle of a healthy, fit person.
WORK AT HOME MYTH #3: It'll be a piece of cake, so easy
You can't WAIT to start your new biz and work from home!! It's going to be such a piece of cake compared to your current job. Easy street, baby!
It will be the hardest career you'll ever have. Well, paid job, at least. Parenting is harder but that's it. Truly. It's completely worth it ... but one thing it's NOT is easy.
WORK AT HOME MYTH #4: Being my own boss will RAWK!
You really look forward to finally shedding your supervisor and being in charge. You'll get to make the decisions. It'll all be down to you. When things go right, you'll get all the credit.
When things go wrong, you get all the blame. You are now the boss, the employees, the receptionist, the scheduler, the HR department, the janitorial staff, and the IT Department. (< That last one is a real pisser. If you don't know how to code, you're going to learn).
WORK AT HOME MYTH #5: I'll be the queen of focus and get 8 hours work done in 5 hours time
Looking ahead to working at home, you know how much more productive you're going to be. No more annoying co-workers stopping by your office. No more wasted time with unimportant watercooler talk about what everyone's watching on Netflix these days. No more boring luncheons, employee recognition ceremonies, meetings, or inventory. When you can focus JUST on your work, you'll be knocking off early every day, working 4-5 hours per day MAX.
You will never work more at any job in your life than when you own your business and work from home. There's no longer any physical separation between work life and home life. Even if you can manage to pull yourself away from your home office or shut your laptop, you'll still be dictating your course copy into your phone, reading emails from all the B2B lists you're on, and answering clients' "urgent" questions on Slack.
When your family goes on an outing, you'll have your spouse drive so you can work in the car 'til you get there. At your kids' sporting events, you'll excuse yourself to "take just this one important call." All your hobbies will disappear because there is ALWAYS something to do in your business. Your website is never done and your email broadcast always needs one more polish.
When you finally lie your head on the pillow at night, all you can think about is the amazing idea you just had for starting a podcast (yep, I see you sneaking back to your desk to research which podcast app is the best). You love what you do so much that you just can't stop doing it.
WORK AT HOME MYTH #6: People will respect me and my time; I'm a business owner
Your current co-workers ask how in the heck you're going to get any work done at home with all the disruptions but you're not worried. When you need to focus, you'll just close your office door and turn off your phone. You're working on your business and people have to respect that.
People think that because you're home all day, you have all the time in the world. You can drop whatever you're doing to help them with whatever they need. If you're a mom, it'll be even worse. You know how your kids even follow you into the bathroom? Yeah, they'll also sit on your lap in your desk chair, wriggle their fingers under your locked office door, and cryyyyy because "Mommy, you are home. Why can't you play with me?"
They'll choose the moment that you're Zooming with an important client and Daddy is emptying the garbage to streak and shriek across your office. (If you're lucky, the client is a mom too and she TOTALLY gets it). Aren't you so glad you got rid of your childcare now?
Your own mother, who still works part-time, will start asking you to do her errands "because you're home all the time and I'm now busier than you are." Your husband will expect the laundry done and dinner on the table when he returns from work (pssst! what he's saying in his head is, "When I return from work at a REAL job). You will be reduced to half-mindedly working throughout the day in 10-minute snippets, then really digging in from 10pm to 2am when everyone's gone to sleep ... and you're running more laundry.
WORK AT HOME MYTH #7: I'll be disciplined about the time I spend on social media
Being on Facebook isn't technically ALLOWED at work but it's not that important to you anyway.You scroll IG a few times a day on your phone (in the stall on bathroom breaks). Other than that, social isn't a temptation for you. Staying off of it and focusing on your business while working at home will be no problemo.
YOU WILL BE ON SOCIAL MEDIA ALL. THE. TIME. The end.
WORK AT HOME MYTH #8: I'll still get dressed for work every day, put on make-up, and do my hair.
Everyone teases you that when you work at home, you'll never get out of your pajamas. But you've heard that it's better to stay in your routine of getting up early and getting fully ready, just like you did for your outside-the-house job. At the most, you might wear jeans and a tee sometimes but that's it.
You'll in fact be in your PJs a lot of the time. If you can manage to get a shower, swipe on lip gloss, and throw on some clean sweatpants, tee, and fuzzy socks, you're doing better than 90% of work-at-homies. You'll become a huge fan of dry shampoo, NOT taking off your mascara at bedtime because you need to keep it for the next day, and OldNavy.com for your new wardrobe staples - comfy yoga pants, stretchy vintage tees, and zip hoodies. Your new hairstyle: messy bun.
Okay, folks, that was the unvarnished truth. I hate to be the one to break all the bad news to you but this is a serious thing you're considering doing and you need to know the truth. YOU CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH! (< said in my best Jack Nicholson voice).
Being a work-at-home entrepreneur is a strange beast. We that do it are strange beasts. You have to be prepared, be dedicated, be enthusiastic, and just get it done. Nobody's retirement fund or Administrative Professionals Day or Christmas bonus is going to bail you out anymore or make you feel better about yourself.
If you can read all of these truths and you STILL want to start your own business and work from home, then so be it.
You just might have what it takes to succeed ❤️.