The first step is to be honest with yourself during the decision-making process. The last thing you want is to change your life only to find out you’ve made a mistake.

1. Do you have small children and can you work with them at home? If you think you can, try it out first. Sit down at your computer and start typing a detailed letter to a friend. How many times are you interrupted? Will your children understand that when mom or dad is at work, they can not interrupt? And how strict do plan to be about enforcing rules that your children cannot bother you while your working? Many first-time work-at-homers vastly miscalculate how difficult it is to get anything done with children—even your little angels—in the house.

2. Do you have the right personality? Sure, working at home sounds wonderful and it certainly can be. No boss breathing down your neck, no co-workers coming by your cubicle to bore you with the mundane minutiae of their lives. Pure bliss, right? But are you a person who can ignore the grass that needs cutting? Is that refrigerator filled with leftovers calling your name? Is the unending silence of working at home going to drive you crazy? Some people simply cannot work at home and most don’t realize they can’t until they try it.

3. How supportive is your spouse? Your husband or wife thinks it’s great you work from home. Really? But do they understand that you are actually working? Will it bother your spouse if you’ve been working all day but the breakfast dishes are still in the sink? Will they suddenly expect you to run all kinds of errands because you’re not really working? Will other relatives assume that because you work from home they can interrupt you? And when your spouse is home sick, will they be able to let you work?

4. Can you stand the isolation? Your boss might drive you crazy and your co-workers may bore you to tears, but chances are you’re going to miss the social interaction that comes from working in a traditional office. This is a reality that many potential work-at-homers don’t really think about, but it is a common complaint. That is why co-working establishments are popping up all over the country. These are offices where people who work out of their homes can go to work and interact with other people. It’s a growing trend, which is evidence of most people’s need to hear another voice other than their own during the day.

5. Can you afford to work from home? You will save money on clothes and your car’s wear and tear, but chances are, at least initially, you will make less money at home than in a traditional office. And if you work for yourself, you must factor in such costs as health care, retirement, and life insurance.

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