The Key to a Successful Work From Home Business: Leave Home

I have a confession to make. I’ve been faking the funk. I’ve lead you on to believe that working from home has been such a rewarding experience. I made you believe that I’ve been making tons of money, have the greatest connections, and the happiest I’ve ever been. Well the truth is I’ve been miserable. I didn’t make as much as I planned, I suck at schmoozing with other people and I’ve been feeling unfulfilled. I’ve been faking it till I make it and I haven’t even come close to making it.

The Key to a Successful Work from Home Business: Leave Home
The Key to a Successful Work from Home Business: Leave Home

It has absolutely nothing to do with working from home and everything to do with never leaving the home.

I, like millions of other people who call their place of business “home”, was mislead by the term “work from home”. I thought it meant I’d never had to leave home. And why would I when it meant I didn’t have to waste money on gas, waste time on dreadful “business meetings” or go to a place with someone breathing down my neck all day? While all of those things were true some of the time, I was missing one important aspect about working from home – the need to escape the realms of my home office so I could connect with others. Regardless of where or what you call “work,” relationships will always be a big part of it.

Even though I knew the benefits of leaving home, I only focused on the money I saved if I didn’t. And of course, my logic was that the more money I saved, the more money I got to keep for myself and invest in the business. After all, not going to business meetings meant that I saved on gas, and unnecessary business outfits. Not going to Starbucks to work , meant I didn’t end up spending money on lunch. And not having lots of phone conversations meant, I wouldn’t spend too much on a phone bill. I figured all of this saved money would translate into some earned money. I was wrong on so many levels! I saved money, but I sure wasn’t making any. On top of that, I was depressed.

A business can only survive without any interaction for  so long. I wasn’t interacting with others they way I should because I was afraid of spending money and leaving the home. Of course, lack of interaction meant  no business connections and no new clients. Obviously, that meant no money was coming in which lead to unhappiness. And like a fool, it took me forever to figure out what the problem was.

It wasn’t until my husband asked why I stopped going to the library and the coffee shop to work that I realized the problem. I was so afraid to spend money that I was preventing my business from thriving and make money. Once I made the commitment to set up at least one meeting a week, everything turned around. I was happier,  built kinship with likeminded people, got more clients, and earned more money. The moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to invest in your business and never underestimate the importance of leaving home.

How has working from home worked for you? Do you make a habit to leave home frequently?

TERRIfic Quip:  Doors will be opened to those who are bold enough to knock.


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  1. Holy moly, this never occurred to me! I’m in a cube at the moment, but when I was working from home, I stayed home. For the exact same reasons—”must save money.” Now I’m starting to think that it may have contributed to my needing to find a new cube.

    Yes, I’ve heard other people say it’s important to get out and connect with people. But you got in my head with the money thing. Thank you.

    1. Erica, I’m not lying when I say that my refusal to leave home was almost the demise of me. Every time I even thought about leaving home, I couldn’t get over the amount I would be spending on gas, etc. I didn’t realize how necessary it was to leave home and be willing to invest in the gas or whatever to really thrive. I think money will always be a worry for everyone, but we really need to figure out when it’s worthwhile to spend it. Allowing yourself to spend some money and leave home is definitely a good reason! It’s definitely something to think about should you ever leave the cube again.

      1. Know what’s strange? Whether I’m cube-bound or home-bound (which I will be again; I can do this), the money worry is always there. My desk may change, but that particular worry never does. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s that way for a lot of people.

        I will say this…yesterday I splurged on a Winnie-the-Pooh book to read before bed. Totally worth it.

  2. Terri,
    You’re absolutely correct, working from home means working in an isolated cubicle called “home”. As a fellow writer I make an effort to meet people outside my home office and get connected in public. I’ve established relationships at a variety of locations and I frequent a local Starbucks. Once while in line waiting to order a former client saw and approached me. She gave her name and I wasn’t aware until we talked about the work I’d done for her. We reconnected later and I helped her ease over a hump toward better employment opportunities. And now, I run into people I’ve worked with, know or have met in other circles. The results are remarkable.

    I attend a weekly networking meeting. I’ve made connections that have generated paid work, referrals, and connected me to other businesses I’ve sought out when trouble arose. It helps me to get out of the home office, keeps me connected, and expands my knowledge about the workforce. I’ve also connected through Linked In with colleagues, and clients, in out-of-town areas hundreds of miles away. Occasionally I frequent locations that are central to them and we can meet in person to talk, do business or catch up. It’s turned into a wonderful opportunity maze and again, generates new ideas and nurtures relationships with people I would never have otherwise met.

    I can’t agree with you more to get out and get connected. Whether you work at a local restaurant and become familiar with patrons and workers, or simply attend a meeting once a week that connects with other business owners, you’re social and it relieves the stress of cabin fever. Sure, I love the shorter commute, money-saving practices, and privacy to work without interruption, but when that phone rings or the Inbox fills I’m ecstatic. And much of my business is from referrals.

    I encourage anyone working from a home office to get out at least once a day to walk at the local mall, relax or catch up on your business reading at a local bistro, or attend a meeting with colleagues or other business owners, it gets you out and expands your knowledge to connect, nurture and build both your business and relationships. In the end, it’s all a WIN situation because everyone benefits. And that’s money in the bank for your business.

  3. Hi Terri, You are so right about this! I’ve experienced something similar and have reframed my mindset to recognize that going out is also working. I’ve met people even just doing errands that have turned into clients or referrals for clients. And, I must correct one thing you wrote…having met you in person at a BBBS event, I can say that you definitely don’t “such at smoozing”. I greatly enjoyed smoozing with you and am happy to do it again anytime!!! Jamie (P.S. I subscribed to your blog and for some reason I’m no longer receiving I checked that box again.)

  4. This is hitting home to me. As I have been stuck at home trying to get this freelance thing off the ground and become frustrated and have days when I feel like throwing in the towel. I also feel I don’t want to spend money going out because I am making so little at the moment.
    Having come from a marketing background, I know and understand the importance of networking and ‘getting out there’, I just never seem to get around to it!
    I need to pull my finger out and do it!
    This post gave me a push. Thanks!

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