The Way We Work

At oDesk headquarters in Menlo Park, California, every Tuesday is a WFHT. This Tuesday, we want to welcome those of you who are new to working from home and new to this wonderful — though sometimes unusual — business of freelancing, consulting and providing the world with your talent and skills!


1. Motivation and dedication will be your best friends. Learn to have them.


2. Caffeine will be your second best friend. Stock your house with it.

3. Have a business plan and write it down. Even if it’s as simple as: Find clients on the internet and provide excellent service.

4. When you are working, imagine there is a “closed” sign on your front door. No friends, no census takers or religious zealots allowed — you aren’t home. You’re at work.

5. Beware watching TV while you work. Unless, of course, you are okay with subconsciously inserting bizarre phrases like “that walk is fierce,” “we’ve lost contact with the sub,” or “he’s at the 30-yard-line” into e-mail correspondence with your clients.


6. Network, network, network.

7. Just because you can enjoy a cocktail while working, doesn’t mean you should. Reasons? Impaired work skills and bizarre phrases in e-mails. (See #5.)

8. Find out how being self-employed will affect your taxes.

9. Get a work e-mail account. Separating your e-mail accounts will help you tune out fun when you are working, and it will help you tune out work when you are just having fun.

10. Seek more than one client at a time, even if you don’t need to. In this economy you don’t want to be dependent on one company for your income.

11. Create an online portfolio with a web site or blog.


12. Don’t take your laptop into the kitchen to work while cooking. Bad things happen to laptops in there.

13. No, seriously, find out about your taxes.

14. Be patient. Don’t expect to be busy right away. It may take time to build your business.

15. Enjoy your new-found freedom. Work at the park. Walk your dog on your lunch break. Spend a day at the beach and work at night. You are your own boss now!



Much like a divorced marriage counselor, my ability to dish out advice is not an indicator of my ability to implement it. However, having worked from home for over a decade, I’ve learned what works and what just creates more work.

– Tamara

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.