Working from Home: 5 Tips for a Successful Telecommuting Career

How many people enjoy the 9-to-5 grind, that many describe as the “rat race”? Not many. However, few people ever take the necessary steps to break free. When you make that choice, your future holds limitless possibilities.

By choosing to work remotely you get to make your own rules. You also have many more responsibilities than you had as a traditional employee. To do the job right, you need to develop the personal and professional habits that will form the foundation of your success.


Your life as a remote worker could lead to other developments, such as a home-based business. For this reason, take your new working arrangement seriously from the beginning. So, use the following tips to jumpstart your remote career.


1. Build Self Discipline

Remote workers have no one to look over their shoulder to make sure they're doing their work. You have to motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning and make your way to your home office.


With independent work, the responsibility for completing projects and controlling expenses lies with you. If possible, take some traditional or informal online courses that can help you develop your skills as a bookkeeper and project manager. If nothing, read about it and pick up the basics.


At first, self-discipline might seem achievable. However, when family members and friends find out you work at home, they may ask you to babysit or run errands. In such cases, you need to have the fortitude to avoid those distractions and stay focused on your work.


2. Maintain Professionalism

Imagine what piles of laundry, boxes and other “stuff” encroaching on your workspace during video conferences will affect your personal brand. Would you act professionally if you spent your working hours wearing your pajamas?


You should develop and maintain a professional mindset, as it will affect your behavior. Make sure you emphasize functionality in your workspace, dress for work and set a high standard of professionalism in everything you do.


Professionalism in remote work also involves maintaining a high level of quality and meeting deadlines. Look for apps that will help you define and prioritize your work, so you always know what you should do at any moment of the day. Scheduling your days minimizes procrastination when you don't feel motivated.


3. Achieve Balance

Your job can overtake your life when you work at home. For this reason, you need to balance your work and personal life. For starters, rather than jumping into urgent tasks, give yourself some time in the morning to wake up before logging in for work.


Setting well-defined hours can also help. Before and after your working hours, do what you want. As part of that, give your family members and friends the attention they deserve.


If you're not careful, your employer or clients will call you at all hours of the day, expecting you to be available "on demand." When this happens, consider letting their calls go to voicemail. Snooze your emails when focusing on a task and after business hours. Just like any other job, most pressing matters can wait until the next business day.


4. Plan Your Transition

Your decision to work remotely represents a major change in your career. To transition successfully start defining what you hope to achieve with your new arrangement. These goals can help you persevere when obstacles arise.


For instance, if you worked this way to create a flexible schedule, be careful to not give up your flexibility. If you aim to expand your reach to serve a broad range of clients, let that goal drive your strategy.


Even after becoming a remote worker, you may soon want to create an independent home-based business. As that business grows, you may need to hire your own remote workers. The lessons you learn right now could play a substantial future role.


5. Become an Entrepreneur

If you enjoy your life as a remote worker, think about going into business for yourself. Start by reviewing the non-disclosure and non-compete agreements that apply to your current employment. By starting with an ethical foundation, you can avoid lawsuits that can derail everything you achieve.


Market and product research will also play an essential role in your new endeavor. You should have a well-defined marketing strategy that describes your ideal customers and how you will reach them.


As you work, remember to take care of yourself. Although remote workers are often more productive than their peers, you may miss the interactive relationships that define the traditional workplace. So, build and maintain your personal and professional networks, so you never feel alone or isolated.


In summary, you can jumpstart your remote career by taking sensible steps to preserve your work-life balance, emphasize your goals, and develop strong work habits. As you apply the above tips, pay attention to other advice. After a while, you can use these principles to help your future remote workers succeed.

About the author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.


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