Working from home, or freelancing, sounds like a dream. You get up anytime you want. Have your coffee in peace and work as much and whenever you want to. No traveling to and back from work, no traffic, no annoying colleagues, no manager to supervise you. No limited breaks, no eating quickly on the go. You can take a break whenever you feel like it and still make money. But most of all, you are your own boss and you are the one who sets the rules of how you want your day to go. Right… but not quite.
In view of all above-stated, working from home may seem like a good option to you, but before jumping into it, you should consider all pros and cons, because your home-based office gives you freedom, but freedom comes with certain responsibilities. (No complete happiness. :)) There are some issues you should reflect on before deciding to change your manner of work. And as in everything else, some sacrifices will be required on your side, so be wise.
You may decide to say goodbye to your regular workplace and enjoy working in the convenience of your own home for many reasons. Maybe you want to be more flexible in order to do things you don’t have time to do with the current situation. Or maybe you’re fed up with your colleagues or with your current job. Or maybe you just need a change. Whatever the reason, such drastic switching of work environment might be the right choice for you. Nevertheless, there are some key aspects you should consider first.
But before we get to that part, what can you do from home and get paid? A lot, I’d say.
Either you’re a working mom wishing to earn some money to support her family, or a free spirit craving independence in every sense of the word, there are plenty of things you could do from home as a freelancer and get paid for it. Freelancing could involve working as virtual assistant, translator, writer, teacher, web developer/designer, call center representative, tech support specialist, or even a travel agent. But beware, because as already noted above, your new job will require some sacrifices.
So let me give you a few insights to what living a freelancer life actually means.
In terms of payment, as a rule freelancing cannot guarantee you fixed pay on a regular basis. It might take some time to get to the point of receiving regular payments. So keep that in mind. You’ll need some money aside to be safe for a few of months before you even consider quitting your job. The best case would be if you start working from home, while still at your current job, so you gradually get more assignments, which would provide enough money to support you when this becomes your only option of income. Moreover, freelance assignments are often not paid monthly and it might take from 45 to 90 days to get your invoice paid, so consider that, too. You normally can’t expect regular pay on a particular day of the month. Nothing’s ever fixed in freelancing, neither the payments, nor the number of assignments for the month. In other words, this uncertainty surely requires more effort regarding budget management.
Next, in terms of free time. No matter what you think about it, freelancing takes more time than a regular job (travel time included). As strange as it might seem. No fixed working hours basically means that you could start work very early and work very late just to meet the deadline. Because most of the time there is a deadline to meet. So, considering you are at home and you could do whatever first comes up to mind, it requires a lot of self-control and discipline to actually get work done. Imagine you’re sitting at home and it’s a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. You could go for a walk in the park, have a coffee, or go to see that new movie you want, but no, you have to stay at home and work. It takes determination to stay focused, which sometimes could get very hard and frustrating.
Not having a superior is always deemed a plus, right? Right. But there’s the same issue from the preceding paragraph. You have to be the one to push yourself forward. You have to be the one to motivate yourself if you don’t feel exactly like working today. And most of the time, you have to be the one to congratulate yourself for job well done. And honestly, with no one watching, it’s very easy to slip. You are also the one to make decisions whether you could manage to finish this or that assignment. Whether you’ll make it on time, will you have time to finish the other ones waiting in queue, for example. It’s all about time management. Good time management. Furthermore, you might be inclined to accept more assignments than you can manage, which eventually leads to working too hard for too long. That being said, take good care of yourself and know your limits.
Being a freelancer for many years, I can tell you this:
Freelancing gives you independence, it gives you the option to choose. You could always say “yes” or “no” to an assignment. And here’s a good thought: you could always dedicate a weekday to yourself, while others are working. But if you go this way, be aware that it’s hard. It’s hard to be both the employer and the employee. It’s hard and it’s demanding, but it’s worth it. All the hard work, all the sleepless nights, and all the effort. It’s worth it. And as far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t change it for the world.