Jessie Evans, co-founder of Photo Native, runs her businesses out of her home with priorities and planning.

Working from home isn’t always picture perfect. It all comes down to focus.

Just ask Jessie Evans, an entrepreneur and mother of four young “assistants.”

“I have entrepreneur blood running through me,” Evans says. “My dad was an entrepreneur, so I grew up with that. I just like building businesses and working for myself.”

Evans runs Jessie Alexis Photography from her home in Orem. She is also the co-founder of Photo Native, an annual photography conference in Utah Valley that photographers travel to from all over the world.

Here are her five snapshot tips of how to hone working from home.

1. Walls and boundaries

“The key to working from home is to have boundaries,” Evans says. “I don’t take my work out of my office, and I don’t take my home life into my office. I’ve got an actual physical boundary.” Her kids respect her boundaries, too. “My kids know that when their sitter is here, it’s like I’m not.” She tells them to pretend mom isn’t home and her office door is a wall.

2. On the clock

“For a long time, I tried to do the work while my kids were napping or asleep at night,” Evans says. “That wasn’t a sustainable working model.” Now, Evans has sitters during her set work hours. But even hours need boundaries. “I don’t work on Sundays. It’s a family day. And every day between 5-7 p.m. is family time. Nothing happens between 5-7 p.m. that is work related.”

3. Let’s talk about it

“Starting and building a business can be a huge burden on your family, so it’s important to have open conversations with your family about what they can expect and what it would entail to start a new business or work from home,” Evans says. “Make sure everyone is on the same page, so no one is frustrated or let down or feels neglected. Keep those lines of communication open.”

4. Prioritizing

Evans recommends organizing life priorities. For Evans, it’s being a mom to her four kids. “I know for me, they are at the top of my priority list,” Evans says. “I don’t want them to feel like I was sacrificing time I could have been with them.”

5. Get to know yourself

When working from home, it’s easy to think you can do it all. But setting realistic expectations of your abilities can help. “If I know I’m only working 10 hours in a certain week, I know I can only take on one or two, maybe three photo shoots in that week,” Evans says. “In the way I balance and structure my life, I can only do one wedding a month.”

“The Last Word: No.”

Saying no to opportunities in a career you love can be difficult, no? (Why yes, yes, it can.)

Once you set your priorities and know what workload you can handle, say no to things that don’t fit.

“Learning to say no is the biggest lesson an entrepreneur or someone who works from home can learn,” Evans says. “‘No’ seems scary, but it’s not.”

This is where prioritizing and expectations come in handy. If you know the end goal, you’ll know the right nos.

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