When it comes to working from home, people have 2 different reactions: some consider freelancing to be just a waste of time (and you really should look for a ‘normal‘ job), while others feel like it’s rocket science and you need to be some sort of a superman to run a home based business.
In the past 6 years I was able to earn a living online, travel and also care for my daughter. My work-hours are flexible, I don’t get too stressed and the income has been enough for us to fund our lifestyle, pay taxes, develop our business and save a little as well.
Here are few of the things people complain about regarding freelancing:
You do need to be hard-working and efficient
Many fear they won’t be able to do so. Not that they are lazy or stupid, they just feel that a boss is great to have, since such a person will plan the work and make sure the employees will work properly on the assignments.
Some think a freelancer has some sort of productivity gene, maybe they were born this way.
I am not an organized person. Getting into the ‘zone’ to do my work is difficult, I get easily distracted. Now it’s even worse, with a toddler by my side almost every waking hour. And, late at night, when she’s finally asleep, it’s difficult to focus, because of exhaustion. I tend to forget stuff, it takes too long to do tasks that would normally take me few minutes.
It’s hard to get the energy to do my work, it’s tricky to stay alert and also forget as little as possible.
But I have my web design clients. I have people who want to advertise on my blogs. They are paying me for my time / skills / products. I have to do the work and, ideally, try to respect my deadlines. They PUSH me forward, they motivate me.
Knowing that I have to deliver some work gives me the kick I need in the right direction. I don’t need a boss to tell me to work, the opportunities my clients give me are the ones pushing me forward.
With a regular agenda, Asana and various other tools I have tried in the past, I can keep track of my tasks and deliver the work.
I am not a genius, I wasn’t born a manager, but I had to learn. You can, too.
You have no one to rely on
When you are working alone, you are … well … alone.
Rather than seeing this as an issue, being my own boss worked wonders for me. I do take responsibility for all my actions, I strive to learn as much as possible and I answer directly to my clients.
No more miscommunication, no more people to take the blame for, whatever you do, good or bad, it’s your own responsibility.
You’ll make mistakes. Oh, don’t worry, you’ll make them.
But you’ll be accountable for each of them, you’ll say sorry, try to give the client satisfaction and you’ll move on. Every success and every fiasco will teach you a lot.
Don’t be afraid of being alone, embrace the opportunity to really achieve greatness.
Working from home doesn’t provide a ‘sure’ income
Probably the biggest issue we all have with running our small home based businesses is that income is flexible. The good part is that flexible can mean crazy big earnings, while it can also mean few bucks.
Yes, you’ll probably have ‘those’ months too, when you can barely cover taxes.
You know what?
It’s scary to not be able to rely on a regular income, it’s scary to have such bad months, but you can still make it work in your favor.
Use the money you earn in those ‘insane’ months to fund your biz, when it’s slow.
Save money, have a budget, plan accordingly.
You need to care for your insurances, pension plans and all the jazz
Employees don’t have to worry that much about all these: taxes, insurances, pension plans. At least in my country, most of these are deducted directly from your salary and you receive the ‘rest’. The company has to match some of these taxes and that’s it.
Maybe it’s different in other countries, but truth is for a freelancer / home business owner taxes, insurance and the rest need to be personally managed.
It’s a bit scary to have to think about all these, but, with some guidance, you can make the best decisions.
People might not take you seriously
I’d be rich now, if I saved a penny for every time someone rolled their eyes telling me this is not a real job.
Work from home? Web designer and blogger? Ha ha.
As long as this does earn me income and pays the bills, then it’s a ‘job’. And it’s the same for you, whether you bake cakes, walk dogs or tutor high-school students.
Are you paid to do something? It’s a business/job.
Don’t fret about what others are thinking, while some are starting to see freelancing as a viable business, there are still people who expect you to hold a 9-to-5 job.
You are in charge of your time
The best way for me to understand how valuable my time is and learn to really appreciate every second was to start working as a freelance web designer and try to squeeze in as much work in the time I could spend doing it.
At first I’d work for 14 hours/day for measly fees.
In about 3-4 months it was clear that something had to change: so I decided to increase my rates.
Magic: less work, more money. I was able to get some rest, have some fun and grow my small business faster.
This was the most valuable lesson of all: I still have just 24 hours in my days (just like you all). And it’s up to me to work 23 hours for nothing or find ways to be more productive, provide better services, earn more.
While it’s a bit shocking at first to have all this ‘power’, you’ll soon learn how to maximize your productivity and also have a lot of ‘me’ time.
For me these would be the biggest challenges when it comes to working from home. I do love every moment of my new life, it works great for me and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What about you? What other challenges would you add to my list? What are you struggling with?