Leadership

Self-made millionaire: Working from home is probably not a good idea

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Many people have a fantasy about working from home. The fantasy often does not align with reality, because once someone has easy access to the comforts of home — the La-Z-Boy, the fridge, the TV — it becomes a hindrance to productivity. Don't underestimate the amount of discipline it takes to work from home and stay as productive as you would in an office environment.

First off, your home is filled with distractions. A spouse, kids, and pets are just a few of the things that make working from home a bad idea for many people. Secondly, working at home means that nobody is looking over your shoulder while you scroll over your Facebook feed in your underwear. Too many people want to work from home for the wrong reasons: They are basically seeking comfort and the chance to get away from being held accountable.

I have run businesses from a home office and each of those started out small and grew into something much bigger. I started my first business back when I was 29 from home only because I couldn't afford an office. Once I was able to figure out how to make my home business successful, I was then able to expand with partners and employees into an office space.

Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone.
Courtesy of Grant Cardone
Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone.

There are many people out there who believe the concept of working at home is a perfect, permanent solution. This is small think because big companies are not run from a home, the Amazons and Coca-Colas of the world have headquarters where the company has employees that come to work. If you want to run your small consulting business from home and make $60,000 a year, you can do that, but if you ever want to expand, you are going to need to get out of your house.

Many small businesses make less than $250k per year, and many more make less than $25,000 annually. It's difficult to sustain any business with only 250,000 of pretax dollars. In fact, of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S., many break even or lose money.

If you don't learn to grow and scale your business, it will fail to be a business!

Working from home as a business owner should only be seen as a temporary time — not a permanent solution — where you can work to expand your small business — and it's only for the elite few who are disciplined enough to maintain strong boundaries. The normal person will go to work from home because they like the idea of "comfort," and they will stay small. The average employee who wants to work from home wants to do so for "comfort" and will most likely not be any more productive than they would otherwise be at an office.

If you do choose to work from home, either as a small business owner or as an employee if your boss is silly enough to let you, make sure you have a work-only space. This means you have a dedicated workspace where nothing else happens but work, and it should be closed off from other areas in your house. You need very strict boundaries such as no kids, no dogs, and no spouses allowed.

If you work with your husband or wife, they don't need to be your spouse while in this space. That means no shoulder massages or other related activities that can quickly escalate into the bedroom. Your Tuesday afternoon schedule will quickly be interrupted — for good things or bad — if you allow your loved ones into your space.

The bottom line is that the main motivation for most people to work from home is flawed. The goal has to be producing more at work, not being more comfortable. If you must work from home I'd prepare at home as I would any public job, and that means getting dressed, getting shaved, and being presentable as a professional as I would in a public office.

Another tip is to not mix your personal computer with your business computer. Set things apart so that you aren't wasting time going back and forth throughout the day from business to personal stuff. If there is any advantage of a home office it's that you can use it more than you would an office away from home. I can spend time with my family for dinner, then I can return to my office at all times during the night when inspired.

When you work from home, you still have to go to work. Make sure your decisions are goal-oriented and not comfort-oriented. It's easy to stay small — especially when you are just working from home. Keep your eye on expanding and remember that the biggest mistake to make in business is not going big enough fast enough.

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