Hey there, out-of-the-cube-thinker! Now that you’ve decided you want to work from home, you’re probably ready to get hired. And who could blame you? After all, working remotely saves time, money, and comes with an added dose of happiness. It’s true. I didn’t name this blog Work From Home Happiness for no reason. Studies show that home office workers are some of the happiest around. You too can grab your own slice of delight when you finally kick your cubicle to the curb.
But, I know, what you’re thinking, “Easier said than done!”
True, it can be a little tedious to break away from an office job in favor of telecommuting, but it certainly isn’t impossible.
In fact, about 1 in 4 workers telecommute at least some of the time. And that number is expected to rise year after year. So, if 25% of the workforce can make a go of at-home employment, you can too!
Before You Get Started
Getting started is seriously the hardest part of your at-home job search. There are so many options to earn remotely — employee, freelance, entrepreneur — and an equal amount of ‘noise’ out there about remote jobs that it can lead to full-blown information overload.
I’m here to prevent that. When you’re in the throes of information overload, you simply cannot make a move. Instead, you sit daydreaming about working from home but can’t actually make sense of it enough to take the necessary steps to realize your own work from home dreams.
I know — been there, done that. And it wasn’t until I was applying to a remote sales job that I was both uninterested in and unqualified for that it hit me — I didn’t just want to work from home! I wanted a remote gig that gave me #girlboss status, flexibility, and tapped into my creative side.
So, my advice to you, no matter where you’re at in your remote work journey is to hit the pause button now. Seriously, right now. Don’t look at a single listing or submit your resume to another remote job. Take a minute to stop and think about what type of at-home employment you’re after. Sure, you’re working from home, but what else?
- What industry are you working in?
- What’s your likely job title?
- How’s your schedule? Set? Flexible?
- Are you working for a company? Yourself?
The answers to these questions will give clarity to your job search. And once you know what you’re looking for, you can set a realistic goal for yourself.
Setting Work From Home Goals The S.M.A.R.T Way
So, what’s your goal? Are you wanting to become a freelance writer in six months? Did you decide to start a blog and go full-time within a year? Do you have your mind set on landing an employee position with a remote-friendly company in two months’ time?
Before you can hold yourself accountable in your work from home job search, you need to set a goal that you can work towards. That’s why it’s important to figure out which type of work from home job is right for you first. You see, simply stating you want to work from home is not a goal. Instead, you need to be S.M.A.R.T.
What is a S.M.A.R.T Goal?
The S.M.A.R.T system for goal setting stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
Setting a goal that hits all the S.M.A.R.T. marks, sets you up for success in your remote job search. Here’s how.
The more specific your work from home goal, the better. All too often, remote job seekers simply say, “I want to work from home.” But, remember, not all work from home jobs are created equal, and there are huge differences between freelancing and employee positions. One type of employment likely makes more sense for you and your current situation than the others.
That’s why you need to figure out what kind of remote worker you are, and then set a super specific, down to minute details goal.
To do this, include what you want to accomplish, set a time limit, identify requirements, state a benefit/purpose of achieving that goal.
For example, when I decided I wanted to quit my 9 to 5 in favor of freelance writing, I set this goal:
I want to become a freelance copywriter and earn enough income to replace my day job within 6 months so I can have a flexible career that allows me to work when and where I want.
Your turn! Before you move onto the next step, use what you learned about the types of at-home jobs and what you’re looking for in your remote career to set a specific goal. And write it down! Studies show committing to goals in writing keeps you on track and increases your chance of success.
Making a measurable goal is important. Otherwise, how will you ever know you’ve achieved it?
Think of your goal in terms of money, time, or another easily quantifiable measure.
For example, I want to earn $1,000 from my blog within six months of launching. This goal is measurable because, at the end of six months, you can go back and see whether or not you earned that first grand.
Goals should be challenging, but not impossible. Setting a goal you have no chance of attaining sets you up for failure before you even start.
But it doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short and pick and easy peasy one either.
So go ahead and give yourself a challenge! You’ll quickly find that when you set a goal worth working towards, you’ll quickly learn how to take the necessary steps to achieve it. Don’t get caught up in the details just yet of what you’ll need to do to get from Point A to Point B. Once you set a goal worth going after, you’ll be motivated to fill in the details
How do you know if a goal you set is realistic? One way to gauge is to decide whether or not your goal is something you are willing and able to work towards.
For example, let’s say you set a goal to become a remote developer. This is a great goal if you actually want to learn to code and can devote the time needed to learn a new skill. But, if you don’t have access to a computer or can’t commit to learning something new, this goal is no longer realistic because you aren’t willing or able to work towards it.
Don’t confuse realistic with attainable! You can set a lofty goal that is both attainable and realistic as long as you have the desire and ability to work towards it.
Always give your goals a time limit. Why? It gives your goal a sense of urgency.
When you set a time limit, you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll spring into action. This quick progress can build momentum that carries you through to actually achieving your end goal.
Think of it like this, when you were in school and had a project due, how often did you get it done? If you’re like most people, you almost always turned projects in on time even if it meant pulling an all-nighter to do it.
The same holds true for goals. Give yourself a deadline and you’ll find a way to get it done.
Now Go Get That Goal! And Learn Something New In The Process
While you probably have plenty of hard skills and soft skills that make you an awesome employee or freelance or entrepreneur, there’s still quite the learning curve when you’re new to telecommuting/freelancing/online entrepreneurship.
To help boost your chances of getting hired or landing clients or launching, you’ll need to educate yourself and put that knowledge to work.
The good news is, there are plenty of places and resources readily available to guide you every single step along the way.
My favorites include:
Skillshare is the place to go for bite-sized learning that packs a lot of punch! All courses are purposefully packaged into manageable chunks so you never feel overwhelmed or like you don’t have the time needed to complete it. And each course comes with a student project where you and your peers offer feedback and help each other grow.
Another self-paced learning platform that I often turn to to learn everything from how to code to social media marketing is Udemy. You too can use it to help you in your quest to launch a remote career! There are amazingly affordable courses for freelancers and online entrepreneurs, and even some great job search advice if you’re looking into at-home employee options.
I love a good book. And while I prefer to spend Friday nights with the latest best-seller or an old-time favorite, it’s also nice to pick up a digital book to learn something new. That’s where Kindle comes in.
With the free Kindle Reading App and Kindle Unlimited, you can read as many how-to, career books, and self-help titles to help you reach your goals. You can even sign up for a free 30-day trial of Kindle Unlimited so you can start learning right away — at no cost!
Keep Making Progress!
Whatever you do, keep on keepin’ on. I know it’s easy to set a goal and start moving towards it with plenty of gusto only to stall out a few days later. Any progress you make towards your work from home goal is good progress, even if it’s the teeniest, tiniest of steps.
Remember, you don’t just make the decision to work from home and then, bam, start working remotely the very next second. It takes time. And patience! And don’t be afraid to set super small, realistic goals for yourself. Setting up a website. Sending your first email. Learning a new skills. These are all small ‘wins’ that eventually add up to the biggest win of working from home!
And if you’re ever feeling less than motivated, remind yourself why you want to work from home in the first place. Maybe you want the freedom to take care of your little ones while bringing home the bacon. Perhaps you have a disability that prevents you from entering a traditional workplace. Or you might be a stay-at-home parent looking to add to your family’s income. Whatever ‘it’ is, use it as motivation on days you’re feeling overwhelmed or pessimistic about your at-home prospects.
As always, if you need any help, please ask. That’s what I’m here for!
P.S. You’re 42% more likely to reach your goals if you write them down. Grab your free goal-setting worksheet below so you can immediately boost your chances of reaching your remote work goal!
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