When you opt for self-employment, you really are removing a ton of burdens from having to go to an office or work for someone else. However, you also have to keep your own time and make sure that you're being productive. There are a lot of skills that you'll pick up along the way to make it easier, but it could be awhile before you feel comfortable working from home or managing your time as efficiently as you were at the office.
Before you decide to go all-in with self-employment, you should make a plan and make sure that you have all the tech you need to be successful. These are some questions to answer before you dive in.
Have You Created a Business Plan?
It can be easy to lose sight of your goals and what you want to do when you work from home. You can start to feel like your one client is the entire world, which is basically putting all of your eggs in one basket. If you want to be successful, then you'll need to think about what income you want to make and how you want to make it.
You can create a simple business plan to organize your goals, make earning projections, and look at any problems that could arise, such as lower or erratic cash flow. You also want to start saving to retire, as well as set aside earnings to pay for your taxes. Typically, this is 25 to 50% of your earnings, depending on what you make.
Do You Have the Right Tech for Your Work?
If you are planning to quit your job to work from home, then you need to make sure you have the right computer, software, or other equipment to get the job done. You should factor this into your business plan and current funds saved to support yourself as you build your business. While you can write off all of your business equipment as expenses, you should be careful to purchase things that are going to help you the most.
In addition, you want to make sure that you protect your business as well, with malware and a VPN. This will ensure that your connections are private, and your business files won't be susceptible to hackers who want to steal customer information or gain access to your financial accounts.
Is Your Business Operating Safely?
Are you using a private Internet connection to conduct your business? You may want to get more protection by opting for a business VPN with its own IP address. This is a huge step forward in setting up a valid business that isn't susceptible to other people who have access to your Internet network. By creating a completely private Internet access point for your business, it is better protected from hackers and other cyber criminals. You can check your current IP address here to learn more: https://www.hotspotshield.com/what-is-my-ip/
How Are You Staying Focused?
You can write out a schedule for your daily work if you think that you'll have difficulty focusing on your work. Basically, when you are self-employed, time is money, and there will never be enough time to make the money you want to make if you are not reaching for a goal every day.
It's different when you work at an office because you are probably on salary or have a time clock, in which case you are forced to work from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The good thing about being self-employed is that you can set your own hours. However, if you find yourself not sticking to a schedule, you could be losing out on earnings every day.
Instead, you can use apps like Wunderlist or even your phone's calendar to remind you of goals each day or week. You can even set up rewards for yourself if you complete the number of hours or make higher earnings from staying focused.
Are You Taking Advantage of Business Tax Write-Offs?
It's a common mistake that many who are self-employed make. They don't claim any credits, even if they mainly work from home and use their phone for business calls. You could be getting a percentage back for your business transactions such as toll receipts and gas used for your business trips. If all of this seems over your head, you can always use a service like JustAnswer for your tax advice. You can ask a tax advisor online about how to write-off your rent, utilities, gas, car payments, and many other business expenses.
One thing to note here is that you have to specify a certain part of your home that is used for business. If you use your car mostly for business, then it's probably safe to write off a percentage of the car payment and gas, but you'll need receipts.
You can also write off any equipment that you had to buy for your business, such as a new computer. However, you may need to prove that it is a strictly work use computer.
In addition, you should make sure to set up a business Individual Retirement Account for yourself. This will allow you to save and write-off other expenses.
What's the Plan to Work Out and Stay Healthy?
Lastly, you don't want to forget about your own health. If you are constantly staying in and ordering food, you may not be getting any exercise or eating the best things for your body. It can be super easy to fall into over-eating as well.
Those who work from home have started keeping track of their breaks just like they would at work, and since you are self-employed, you can actually spend more time making healthier snacks. You can even take breaks to walk, run, or head to the gym for an hour. You can schedule your days around getting fit and completing the work you need to do.
Those who became gym bunnies after working from home say that it was all about prioritizing a daily trip outside. It kept their mental state in a good place, and often, they had more energy because they didn't spend the entire day inside on the computer.