Working at home offers an incredible amount of benefits and freedom. Unfortunately, most people get intimidated by that sense of freedom and never pursue a work-at-home career. They distrust an outside-the-box system that doesn’t involve a commute or an office. However, working at home is nothing to be scared of. It’s no secret that working at home is not for everyone: it requires an incredible amount of self-discipline and doesn’t include a lot of social interaction. However, the benefits are outstanding. Here are a list of benefits from working at home.
- Freedom. Work in your pajamas. Forgo the high heels or neckties. Settle in with some comfy clothes and some home-brewed coffee and get to work in your home office. Yes, your home office: you’ll need a space to call your own, somewhere you can go to and shut the door and get to work. Work when you want to, work how you want to. However, you may find that without a schedule, you start doing other things when you want to, such as watching a movie or taking a nap. Naps are fine as long as you get your other work done! Make yourself a schedule and stick to it. However, that schedule can include mornings and nights instead of a straight 9 to 5 schedule.
- More time for your family. You feel better connected when you have the freedom to pick up your kids from school or make them an afternoon snack. You’ll have a much easier time going to mid-day appointments or school events. You’ll never miss a school play performance again!
- Be your own boss. Yes, you’ll still have clients, and those clients will be incredibly demanding. Yet you can take vacation whenever you choose, and you won’t have to navigate around others’ schedules. You will have to enforce your own deadlines, but you won’t have to sit through board meetings.
People who work at home are a rare breed that the office-going public frequently doesn’t understand. They might believe that your stay-at-home job isn’t a “real” job. They might believe what you’re doing is just an excuse to be a stay-at-home mom or dad without any real responsibility or salary. It can be hard to get people to understand that yes, what you’re doing is a real career. Here are some tips on how to make people in your life understand your decision to work at home. As an added benefit, they’ll make your work and home life easier, too.
- Just say no.
While that phrase has been used often in teenage drug and alcohol campaigns, it applies to freelancers and work-at-home individuals, too. People often think that individuals who work at home can drop everything easily. They’ll call you up to ask you for daytime favors, like picking up things, running errands, or dropping people off. You’ll get frequent requests to babysit–even if it’s for “just an hour.” First of all, “just an hour” frequently becomes “an hour and a half” or “two hours” or even “four hours.” You’ll get requests that people would never ask anyone with an office job. Yes, working at home does come with benefits. However, by constantly saying yes to these requests, you’re short-changing your own career. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to occasional favors. Do NOT let it become a habit. You still need to get your own work done. Unless you treat your work-at-home job as seriously as you would a regular career, you will not succeed.
- Don’t let people put your career down.
People might believe you’re just doing this “in transition” until your next “real job.” Call them on it. This is your “real job.” Explain your career choice. Be proud of how hard you work. Stand up for yourself. You deserve it.
Are you thinking of becoming a freelance writer? It’s a wonderfully rewarding career–but you have to be realistic in your expectations. It’s not all lounging around in your pajamas, writing interesting and thought-provoking pieces. Here are some tips for aspiring freelancers.
- Get writing clips.
They don’t have to be fancy. Did you write for a local newspaper or church bulletin? Did you do any writing in college? Find something that you wrote (preferably with your name clearly stated within the writing). Without writing samples, no one will hire you.
- Redo your resumé.
For each of your previous jobs, look closely at the description of what your job requirements were. Did you have to write or edit anything? Even if you wrote daily emails, it can still count. Edit your job descriptions to focus as much on writing as possible. Managing deadlines are another excellent point to hit on your resumé; clients are always looking for someone who is reliable and will meet their deadlines.
- Be wary of freelance writing sites’ job postings.
Freelance writing sites are an amazing place to find advice about the profession. However, they are widely read and watched. For every job posting, hundreds of freelance writers are scouring those posting and applying to the jobs listed. If you must utilize these sites, be sure to apply as soon as possible–no more than one day after the initial posting. Many employers will stop reading applications and queries after a certain amount because they get overwhelmed (and who wouldn’t?). You’ll have much better luck looking on your own. Look on Craigslist and your local classifieds. Check out businesses in your area. Query businesses to see if they have any need for your services. Search for companies hiring writers outside of the ones posting on these freelance writing sites. You’ll have a much better shot of getting hired, especially if you’re a new writer.
If you’re one of those people who’ve always dreamed of being a writer, you may want to consider being a freelance writer. Here’s what you’ll need to know before starting a career in the freelance writing field.
- It’s hard work.
You may actually have to spend more hours working at home than if you work in an office. You’ll have to hustle up your own clients, make sure they pay you and pay you on time, do your own taxes, and set your own rates. You are your own boss, true, but that means you’ll have to whip yourself into shape. Working at home requires an intense amount of self-discipline.
- You won’t always get to write about what you want.
Especially when you’re just starting out, you’ll learn quickly to write what pays. This does NOT mean you should “sell out.” It means that you may have to write product descriptions of vacuum cleaners before you can write about interior decorating. We all have to start somewhere. Don’t snub your nose too much at these types of jobs: you’ll be thankful you did them when your paycheck comes in. Slowly, you’ll start to work your way into what you REALLY want to write about.
- You’ll get burned a couple times by clients over your career.
The world of freelance writing is filled with serious clients who are upstanding and honest. Unfortunately, not every client meets these standards. There are times when you’ll do work for a client and you won’t get paid, or you won’t get paid as much as you previously agreed upon. You may even be in the middle of a project and you have a client seemingly fall off the face of the earth: they won’t return your phone calls, emails, etc. This happens to even the best of freelance writers. Just be prepared for it.
- You’ll face much more distractions at home than you would in an office.
Being your own boss provides you a great deal of freedom. Unfortunately, it’s also a freedom to do housework or hobbies instead of writing.
Everyone has some preconceived notions about working at home that are probably incorrect. Do you picture yourself working in pajamas every day? Drinking fresh-brewed coffee and eating a homemade breakfast? Getting work done with positively no distractions whatsoever? Still having time to lounge about and get housework done? Working whenever you want to, however you want to? Well, all these things can be true for some people. None will be true for all. Working from home is often much, much harder than working in an office. While you may think your distractions will be eliminated because there aren’t any co-workers to pop their heads into your office with questions or gossip, your home contains many more distractions than your workplace. Think about that pile of laundry in the hall. Think about the stack of dishes in the sink. You’ll pass by that DVR filled with shows you’ve recorded. You may have other hobbies or interests that distract you. Face it: there are no knitting needles or woodworking tools at work. It’s a distraction-free space for you to get work done. Here are some tips to help your home life mimic the workplace.
- Set up your own workspace.
You need some place free of distraction where you can go in and accomplish work. Your brain will associate that part of the house with work time. If you work in bed, on the couch, or at the kitchen table, your brain associates those parts of the house with other activities like sleeping, watching TV, or eating. NEVER work in bed, as you want your brain to associate your bed with a relaxed atmosphere. Work in bed and not only will you get tired, but you may find yourself lying awake at night worrying about your next deadline or project. Remove all distractions from that workspace.
- Make your family understand that they can’t bother you in your workspace.
If you’re treating your home office like your workplace, a family member couldn’t walk in and ask if you’d seen the remote. When your home office door is closed, no contacting you except for emergencies.