Working from home has revolutionised the job market. Apart from regular income earners, 'work from home' has opened up a plethora of opportunities for others. Housewives, retired personnel, students can make use of this opportunity to make themselves self-sufficient and have a regular income to support their cause. The best part of working from home is that it can be done full-time or part time, managing all other routine activities. However, it requires immense patience and belief in the system to actually start earning from home. The essential characteristics for working from home are:

1. He / She should be able to work independently. Even with today's connected world, at times, it is difficult to find some help. There are a number of forums, search engines, social networking sites. But you may not find the correct help when you need it. Most of the times you have work independently.

2. You have to be an excellent time manager. It is important to set timeframes and stick by it. You have to clearly identify your core activities and prioritise them to form a workable schedule. Then this schedule has to be followed in letter and spirit. You will be judged by the way you adhere to the timeframes. If you respect time and manage your time well, you will be regarded and respected by one and all. This means that you have to be disciplined in whatever you do.

3. You have to be open to ideas. There are a number of professionals in the market. They may suggest certain opportunities. You have to judge them openly and grab them wholeheartedly. As one of the saying goes, "your neighbour should be your criticiser"; all the critics and suggestions should be accepted in right spirit. You should not doubt other person's intentions. You have to be open-minded to all opportunities even if it is not your core activity. You may never know that some odd activity might become your core activity.

4. You have to have enough patience. There will be number of occasions, when you may not find the right job, right people and right opportunity. But you have to be patient and wait for the right one without loosing hope. You have to be optimistic. You have to be careful of the rejections or negative thinking and remain hopeful for a positive outcome. "Fortune favours the Brave". You have to keep trying and believe that you will definitely succeed one day.

5. You have to be determined to achieve whatever you have thought. There will be lots of hurdles. You will have to overcome them. If you are determined, you will never sway away from your goal and will surely succeed working from home. You have to be prepared for failures. After all, failures are stepping stones for success. You should not be disheartened by failures. Instead, learn from the mistakes which contributed to failure and avoid them in future to embrace success.

6. You have to dream big. You have to be passionate about your dream. This will drive your way through tough times. You should make quick and logical decisions. Delay in decision making may hamper your options. Working from home after all is a big risk. You have to accept the challenge and pursue it to its logical end. Then only you will succeed working from home.

7. You have to be confident about whatever you are doing. You have to have self-belief. This will only save you from all negativity. Think you can do it. Everything else will fall in place thereafter. Also, you have to be self-motivated. You must be aware of all motivating things yourself.

The essential skill-set required to work from home are:

1. Computer knowledge. Computers have changed the way businesses function. It has become an integral part of all business processes. Irrespective of the business, the knowledge of computer has become mandatory. It not only allows you to organise yourself but also communicate with others. The basics of computers, operating system are a must for everyone. Apart from this, one must have working knowledge of Office products like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access etc. Further, knowledge of accounting software like Tally will further improve your confidence in financing. You have to also be aware of various other facilities like email, blogs, websites, social networking sites etc. This will enable you to promote your business, communicate with your clients and interact with customers.

2. You have to clearly understand accounting systems. This should include the various bank accounts which you can operate, the taxing system being followed in your country, etc. You should never default on tax norms of the country.

3. You should be absolutely clear about statutory obligations which you need to adhere to. E.g. If you wish to earn from writing, you should avoid plagiarism. If you are marketing, you should abide by the affiliate marketing rules and regulations.

4. You should be absolutely clear about the work and inherit all the essential requirements of that business. If you wish to do web development, you should know html, photoshop, frontpage, dreamweaver, javascript, Content Management Systems etc. If you wish to do affiliate marketing, you should know marketing strategies, product research and customer requirements. If you wish to do data entry, you should know word, pdf reader, optical character recognition. If you wish to do medical transcription, you should know terms and basic knowledge of medical science apart from typing. So on and so forth. Each business requires specific skill set. You should be very clear about these.

5. You should know various research alternatives available. One such alternative may be internet where you can research about any business. There are lots of search engines, forums, social networking sites where you can find every detail of whatever you think. Opinion polls can be another alternative. Libraries across school, colleges, universities and communities can be a great source for researching about your business.

After considering all these options, you may take a conscious decision to work from home. But once you have decided to pursue it, then vigorously follow it. This will not only create an opportunity for extra income but also keep you engaged so that you spend your time and life creatively.