Working From Home: The Pros and Cons

posted by Andrea | 10/22/2011

I often receive emails from readers {women in particular} who are interested in working from home, starting their own business, and being their own boss. They ask me how I got started, if I have any good ideas for other stay-at-home jobs, and what the pros and cons of working from home are.

I suppose every job has pros and cons; however, I sometimes feel like many people have an overly positive image of what it would be like to work from home and have all kinds of “free time” to spend with family, friend, and on fun hobbies.

And although it IS nice to have the flexibility of working from home and setting my own schedule {to some extent} it’s definitely NOT all fun and games… and I certainly don’t have mass amounts of free time to just sit around!!

So while I’m not complaining one bit about my current working situation, I do think it might be beneficial to list some of the pros and cons I feel are part of running a business, working from home, and trying to juggle everything I do on a daily basis {while still maintaining a simple, organized life!}

 

PRO:

I GET to set my own schedule, be somewhat flexible with the hours I work, and I can always be there if an emergency arises.

CON: 

I HAVE to set my own schedule, make sure I still get up on time, and be self-motivated to accomplish everything that needs to be done each day.

 

PRO:

I can choose how many hours I work each week and if I work more in the mornings/evenings etc.

CON: 

It’s REALLY easy to just work “one more hour” or finish “one more blog post” or email “one more client”. If I’m not careful, I could honestly work all the time!

 

PRO:

I’m my own boss, I make all the rules, and whatever I say — goes!

CON: 

I have to make all the hard decisions, I have to deal with all the headaches, I have to trouble-shoot every problem, and I constantly wonder if I’m doing the “right thing”.

 

PRO:

I can take off whenever I want, take long holiday breaks, long maternity leaves, and even the entire summer off if I really want {this is one comment I get from SO many people who think I must just be so “lucky”!}

CON: 

Yes, I can take as much time off as I want, but I also don’t get paid during that time {besides my advertising dollars which would eventually fizzle out as well if I didn’t keep pursuing them!}

 

PRO:

I can throw a load of laundry in while I wait for images to upload; I can make dinner while I’m chatting on Skype; I can clean the house in between conference calls and appointments.

CON: 

OK, I won’t lie, this is probably my FAVORITE part of working from home right now. I love that I’m able to multi-task and get so much accomplished each day. However, I still have to be able to set my priorities and do what really needs to be done first — even if that’s not necessarily what I want to do first!

 

PRO:

I will eventually get to stay home with my new baby.

CON: 

Obviously, this will save us a bunch in day care and our mornings will be so much less stressful than if I worked outside the home, but I’m certain it will offer me a whole new set of time-management challenges.

I’ll have to work my schedule around feeding times, nap times, dirty diapers, doctor appointments, temper tantrums, plus everything else involved in running a home and a family! I can do it… right?

 

PRO:

I get to do what I love every single day.

CON: 

This is another PRO that is pretty hard to beat, however; it’s important to realize that it took me while to get here. I started my organizing business at the end of 2007 {and had absolutely NO idea what I was doing!} I was still working full time and organizing on a part-time basis.

It took hundreds and hundreds of hours working for very little pay {sometimes no pay}, so many trials and pit-falls along the way, and constantly wondering if it would ever be “worth it”. And while I’m still not totally “there yet”, I CAN say it was worth it!

 

So while I would NEVER discourage anyone from starting a business, following their dream, or pursuing their passion; I felt compelled to write this post as a small glimpse of both the pros AND cons involved in running a business and working from home.

And of course I can’t speak for every work-from-home person, but I do think that many of them would also agree with my pros and cons list.

I honestly feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at this point in my life. And while I’m still always looking for opportunities to grow my business and my website, I’m also OK with simply maintaining where I am right now.

That’s a great feeling! 

Do YOU work from home? Would you like to work from home?

I’ll definitely be talking more about working from home over the next several months, but If you also work from home, I’d love to know what you do and what your pros and cons are.

And if you know of any great work-from-home opportunities that might be  available for some of my other readers, please share them in the comments!

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13 comments

  1. Joy Crile

    10/22/2011

    You are right on every point! As a work at home mom it is definitley a balance act. It is worth it but it is still work and if I don’t work I won’t get paid. Willow House has been a great way for me to stay at home and work the hours that aI choose and schedule them around the family calendar. Great post!

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  2. Julie

    10/22/2011

    You are absolutely correct on every point. I have a home based business as well. However, I have to do the majority of it after dinner when my husband is home and/or after the kids go to bed. I can always be working on my busines. I have to really reel myself in and just focus on it in the evenings or it will take over my life. and I really want and need to be here for my kids, at this time. I homeschool our four kids so if I have to call to order supplies I can do that during the day at one of our breaks. I love it, but at times I hate it!! However, I wouldn’t change anything. I am not growing my business at this time, just maintaining and I am fine with that. To grow would obviously mean that I would be working more and at this point my kids need me and I want to be there for them. For me, what it comes down to is, priorities!

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  3. Starla

    10/22/2011

    You’ve covered the pros and cons well, Andrea. Being able to have a flexible schedule is great on one hand, but you also have to be disciplined enough to get something done! And knowing when to stop when your shop doesn’t close at 5:00p.m. provides its own set of challenges! But I wouldn’t trade it for a regular day job!
    Being a mom is still a top priority to me and it takes diligence to make sure my desk/computer work gets finished during my boys’ school hours so that I can be Mom when they’re home.

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  4. jesy

    10/22/2011

    I would love to work from home.. I was laid off last week and its my chance to see if I can pull it off, I have been a creating machine and getting stuff done I never was able to before. It’s a scary thing for sure.. but i can see where it could be hard to juggle.

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  5. Thrifty Mom in Boise

    10/23/2011

    You have nailed it right on the head. I work full time outside the home and I work part time as a bookkeeper from home. It definitely has its share of challenges. I find I do a lot of my work after my kids are in bed or before they get up in the morning. Sometimes I have to tell my girls that I need some time to get a little work done and they have to leave me alone. It is definitely better than having to be away from home and them even more than I already am. I think it takes a certain type of person who can be able do it on a full time basis. I personally need to leave the house and I fully recognize I am not stay-at-home mom material. I envy those that are though.

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  6. Meg

    10/23/2011

    I have been searching for a work-from-home job, but keep finding everything on the internet to be scams. I just had a baby in June, and am blessed to only have to work part time, however, my job is 40 minutes away, so it really feels like I work full time! I think I would be great at working from home, seeing as though I multitask great, and am extremely self motivated (I earned my college degree online), but I am just having such a hard time finding something! If anyone has a legitimate place to go to see work-from-home jobs, please let me know!

    [Reply]

    Luba Reply:

    Meg, I am not sure if you have found anything, but if you have not, please contact me at clarinetgal at randomlysa dot com. :)

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  7. Heather @ Work At Home Market

    10/24/2011

    I do work from home, and I love your “pros vs. cons” list. I feel the same way about most of it! My biggest challenge is falling into the pit of working around the clock. It’s also nice to have a flexible schedule, but what most people don’t realize is that in order to have an “afternoon” off for an outing with friends or family…I most likely have to make up that time in the evening or on the weekends!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, totally agree! We end up working more than someone with a 9-5 job, however the flexible schedule is more than worth it! I’m OK with working at 6am or 10pm if I have the entire afternoon to can applesauce with my Grandma, run errands, clean the house when no one else is around, etc.

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  8. Martine | Work at Home Mom Writer

    10/27/2011

    Hi, Andrea! Thanks for this article; reminds me of something I wrote long ago! Not that I’ve been working from home that long; in fact, I’ve only been a full-fledged “WAHM-ie” for a year.

    My biggest challenge would have to be the tendency to work round the clock. That’s the BIGGEST hurdle for me, especially when nights are more freed up from house work and child care, etc. I have to fix this somehow!

    I do enjoy the flexible schedule, the ability to cook fresh meals for my family, to be able to keep house as I want to. There’s just that ONE hurdle of work productivity that I need to work on. :)

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  9. Suzanne

    10/17/2012

    I’m in the same boat as Meg….where/how do I find legit work from home opportunities?

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  10. Luba with Forever Living

    04/15/2013

    Yes, I work from home, and I absolutely love it! Yes, there are challenges, but I do enjoy being my own boss and determining when and how hard I will work. :)

    [Reply]

  11. How I Make Working From Home Work for Me – Andrea Dekker – WORK AT HOME

    06/28/2013

    [...] As many of you know from reading my posts, working from home has some huge advantages — like a more flexible schedule, saving on child care, no dress code, and no daily commute. However, working from home also has it’s challenges (read this post!) [...]