As someone who has transitioned from the corporate world to freelance writing in the Detroit economy, here are a few things I've learned as a mom trying to work from home.
1. You have to create your own structure. One of the beautiful things about going to work is that the structure is already in place. There are work policies and procedures that help guide you through your daily work.
At home, you really have to work hard at creating a sense that work is important and requires some sort of self-imposed structure to get it all done, and to get it done well. It's not as easy as it looks without the support of co-workers and standardized work processes.
2. There's a never-ending flow of distractions. Young children aren't the only ones guilty of creating distractions; teenagers can distract you from getting work done too. They often need rides, clean athletic gear, and meals they seem to think only moms can make. To say nothing of endless amounts of laundry, dirty dishes, bills, yard work, etc.
Though it's a challenge, you almost have to develop a mind of steel for a few hours each day in order to block out distractions. The rest of the time you have to accept that distractions are inevitable and you'll need to incorporate the ability to bounce back and forth between the personal and the professional.
3. You have to remind yourself that the work is important and it's worth pursuing. In your previous work life, perhaps you had colleagues or bosses that reminded you that the work you did was appreciated, important and contributed to the bottom line.
When you work from home, you don't have access to that kind of feedback; and you have to develop your own reasons why it's important for you to work, especially when you aren't drawing the regular paycheck you'd been accustomed to. Maybe it's the long-term goal and satisfaction of building something on your own. Whatever it is, you need to find it and permanently paste it into your brain.
4. You have to be open to completely new ways to work. You won't have the defined hierarchy of bosses, peers and employees. And you may have little face-to-face communication with people you depend on to do your work; unlike the daily interaction you have when you work in a cubicle where passers-by who stop by to chat may be key to the office grapevine.
Most of your communication may very well be online only with people whom you've never met face-to-face. This represents one of the ways in which you may work far differently from the days where you went to meetings in conference rooms and engaged in a fair amount of face time with co-workers.