Figuring out a way to work from home, in a realistic and profitable way is going to be a goal for many people. Whether you’re a fresh out of college graduate or already in a career, it can be something that you think about, because at the end of the day, working for yourself can be better than working for someone else. But being able to do so isn’t always going to be easy. You will need to find a job that works for you, pays the bills, and keeps you interested. When you’re the only one at home doing the job, it can get lonely, so you need to find that motivation to succeed and work hard.

So here is a quick guide to help you work from home. It gathers tips and tricks from around the web and what other entrepreneurs find helps them. If you’re thinking of taking the leap from the office to your home office, then this is for you.

Set goals and timelines

When you work from home you can’t get away with a haphazard plan. Of course, some things are going to come up unexpectedly and they need to be dealt with. But overall, you do need a plan. The plan should also include some set guidelines and goals. Don’t just be generic by saying that you want to work from home and earn a certain amount of money.

Be specific about what you’re going to do. Are you going to work ten hours a day to build blog subscribing list or follow guide to selling on Amazon to make a retailing business in that way? You need to be specific with your plan and then realistically how you can achieve those goals.

Build your knowledge

There can be lots of things that will be new to you when it comes to working from home. You are not just the employee and in charge, but you wear multiple ‘hats’ as the admin person, accountant, payroll, and marketing director all rolled into one. So you need to increase your knowledge in the areas that you don’t already know about. It doesn’t need to be a perfect knowledge (as you can always outsource).

But a good basic understanding is going to be good. Second of all, you need to think about the knowledge you have in the sector you’re going into. Do you know about SEO and bounce rates if you’re looking to get into websites and blogs? Do you know how to rank high on Google or how to best market a product on social media? Whatever you decide to go into, make sure that you’re known in the sector is up to scratch so you can give it the best go that you can.

Look at your competitors

In a similar vein, look at what your competitors are doing. When you know what they are doing you can see how well it is or isn’t working for them. Have they focused on social media growth or their domain and search engine rankings, for instance? How much do they charge for a similar service?

When you look at what they are doing, it can help to give you a guide to get you started. If you’re charging double what they are, for instance, then you need to be providing something extra for the clients, or why would they be paying more when they don’t have to?

Build a recurring income

One of the real struggles of working from home is that your income ebbs and flows. Some weeks and months will be busier than others, and it all depends on what time of year it is too, as some work can be seasonal. So if you can create a way to get a regular income, as well as the other things that come in, then it will stand in your favor and reduce the stress around payments and bills.

If you have a website, then a pretty simple way of getting recurring income can come from advertising space. Whether weekly, monthly, or yearly, you can charge people for a space on your site. Then at least for a set amount of time, you know you have a certain amount of money coming in.

You could also look to offer services in different sectors to supplement the income that you will get from your main focus. Take something like copywriting or social media management, for example. A few posts a week can be guaranteed income and can tide you over during the quieter months. You can do more or less, depending on what else you are doing.

You just need to be prepared to be organized and prepared to work hard. When you do, you’ll be able to grow a successful work from home business.