What Working From Home Is (And Isn’t) Like

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Over the last few months, since starting this whole “work from home” shebang, I’ve been asked manyquestions. Many great. And many, well, not so great. I’m learning to put my emotions aside, however, when it comes to responding to tough (and sometimes jab-worthy) questions.

For instance, ever since my personal relationship title changed from military girlfriend/fiancée to military wife, I’ve become a target for all kinds of interesting exchanges. My favorite so far: couldn’t you have gone with him on his deployment? I get it. People ask us questions because they CARE. Or, at least we like to think they do. Most of the time, they genuinely have no clue what the answer is. They’re just curious…

But, with all these questions, I figured it was time to clear up some misconceptions to help make life a little easier on fellow boss babes – giving you some ideas on how to address the never-ending questions. So, without further adieu, join me as I share with you what working from home is {and isn’t} like. Enjoy!

what working from home isn’t:

BOSS-FREE. 

Do you think people create their own businesses because they’re tired of reporting to a boss? There are still clients and customers to please, deadlines to tackle and projects that land in our laps when our to-do list is a mile long. I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions out there when it comes to entrepreneurship. For me, to help build a strong foundation for client relationships, I view each client as my boss. This mindset helps me strive to go the extra mile, and work hard at surprising & delighting them while accomplishing each and every project.

EASY. 

You know the saying, “If it was easy, everyone would do it“? Well, that applies to starting your own business. Most weeks, I get so focused on client work that I fail to publish content of my own and engage on social media. And sometimes the distraction of laundry piling up, an empty fridge and pantry needing to be stocked and the impulse to give the house a good cleaning can deter one’s focus when your office is in the home. I struggled (and still do) with keeping up with my set office hours – hey, I sometimes get the urge to make a Target run at 9 a.m. on a Friday!

It’s not easy being your own boss every weekday. And comparison really is the thief of joy when it comes to building your brand. Some days you may wonder what you have to offer that’s unique among all the other entrepreneurs within your industry. But you must believe in yourself and your brand. Success comes with hustling hard each and every day to get where you want to be.

GLAMOROUS.  

You don’t have the requirement to dress in “baseline casual” or “boardroom attire” each and every weekday. And chances are, the only people you’ll see in a given day is your family. If you don’t have a client meeting on the schedule, your hair might be a mess, you most likely traded your professional clothes for athleisure attire and your face may be makeup-free. You’re probably clocking hours on the weekend or staying up until well past midnight working on client material after getting so passionately sucked into your work. And no, you can’t just drop all your to-dos and head out for a full day of fun on any given weekday – you’re trying to build a business! The point is, working from home is anything but glamourous.

what working from home is:

LONELY (…only if it you make it). 

I’ve been asked this many times. And I’ve gotten the “poor you” look when they ask it. Let me tell you – working from home is only lonely if you make it lonely. And for military spouses like myself, you’re likely working from home while thousands of miles away from many loved ones. The key is to build relationships within your local community. Schedule a girls’ night in (or out) for a particular weekend so you have something to look forward to during the week.

Join a few mastermind groups on Facebook, and virtually connect & collaborate with other like-minded female entrepreneurs. Hop on a video conference call with your clients to see them face-to-face for a meeting in your home office. Have a dog? Take them to the dog park and mingle with other dog owners over your lunch break. There are so many routes you can take and things you can do to help make working from home way less isolating than many think it is! Personally, I enjoy it. Without unpredictable interruptions and meeting-filled days, I get a lot more work done in a short amount of time.

UNPREDICTABLE. 

No day is ever the same. And some weeks (or even months) are much, much, MUCH slower than others. But that’s the exciting part! Your workweek is anything but predictable. After I recouped from the holiday season, I found myself in panic mode. When my work load had come to a screeching halt, I was wondering what I was doing wrong while wishing I had more work to do. My husband and family found this laughable and told me to be patient. Ultimately, be careful what you wish for! 

Things always pick up if you’re working hard on enhancing your brand. And, all while diligently reaching out to prospective clients, and building and maintaining your relationships with your current clients. I know it’s difficult, but be patient. And also remember to reflect on why you started your own business in the first place!

WORTH IT. 

You get to create your own schedule. Spend more time with your family and friends. Determine your own vacation time without anxiously waiting to see if it gets approved by your supervisor. You are your own boss. 

You are in charge of your destiny. Want to move your office to a different state for a while? No problem. Want to flip your schedule around so you put in all your hard work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and have four-day long weekends every week?

You can have and do all of this. But, you need to be dedicated to working some long hours, and even weekends and late nights to get your business up and running. Let me tell you – it’s worth it. That is, only if you’re doing something you’re absolutely, positively 100% passionate about.

BusinessCarrie Ashley