When I get emails from people who want to make a living from the comfort of their home, they always want to know how long it took me to reach that point. When I first started writing as a paid job, I didn’t expect it to become a full-time gig. I would write after I got home from work for a few hours per day. I will be honest and say I got lucky because I was already a decent writer, and it earned me the attention of the higher-ups with my company. I also had an article go viral with 13 million views thanks to a report from Yahoo News. When deciding to make that leap to working from home, there were many things that I had to think about. Here, I’ll share with you the 10 things you need to think about before working from home.
10. Does the Work Have Longevity?
Working from home is a nice idea in this moment, and you’ve found that you’ve gotten a well-paying gig that will pay for a few months of your bills. Before you submit your two weeks; notice to your boss, think further ahead. Where do you see yourself in 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? Do you still see yourself still maintaining enough gigs to work from home and be able to still eat and pay your bills?
9. There Will Be Dry Spells
When working as a freelancer, there will be times where the work isn’t as plentiful, or there may be mishaps in getting paid. When this happens, we know that the bills won’t wait. While you are still working a full-time job, start saving your money for about 6 months worth of your bills and expenses. This may seem daunting and may push your quit date a bit further, it will be well worth it when there are dry spells with freelancing.
8. Test the Waters
If you’re getting a decent amount of work while freelancing, and you want to see if you can get enough work to cover your regular income, then consider going part-time at your day job temporarily. If that’s not possible, then maybe take a few half-days per month. Of course, you don’t want to jeopardize your day job or lie to your boss. If you have vacation time that you need to use, then that would be a good opportunity to use that time to see what you can really pull off if you didn’t work at an office or day job.
7. Your Workspace
Working from home is much more than just sitting at your desk or dining room table. You have to have a workspace that will be productive. Think of your distractions you have at home, and come up with a game plan to combat them. Do you have pets? Do you have kids? Does your roommate come home early to turn on the TV and catch up on shows? Ideally, you should have a room dedicated to work so you can be productive with minimal to no distractions. Close the social media tabs and concentrate on work. Does working at a coffeehouse 5 days a week appeal to you? Figure out how you can get your work done at home before making the jump.
6. Work Never Leaves
I won’t lie, working from home is fantastic. But there is a major downside: work never leaves. Even if I go into the living room, I know I can get work done if I have free time. I struggle with taking breaks. If my show is on, I’ll watch it, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “You could be working right now and being super productive.” You have to be able to turn work mode off at the end of each day, otherwise, you’ll never be able to give yourself a break physically or mentally.
5. Keep a Schedule
If you’re working a job that is project based with a deadline, then this bullet point is already important. Keep a schedule of your work day, and have a start time and an end time. While sometimes there is flexibility in your work day, if you don’t maintain a schedule, then you will find yourself working day and night. Or worse, you could find yourself behind on your projects because you wanted to binge watch your favorite show, or you missed an opportunity because you took a walk.
4. More Bills
If you’re working a job with benefits, quitting your job to become self-employed and working from home will mean that you will lose your benefits like your 401K and your health insurance. This is especially important to keep in mind if you have a family. Health insurance isn’t getting cheaper at the moment, so before you quit your job to work from home, make a list of all of your monthly bills. Also, be sure to make a new list each month so you’re not hit with surprise charges.
When you make the jump to work from home, your friends and family will have opinions. Some will be good. Others, not so much. I found myself correcting people when they said I was unemployed. No, I AM EMPLOYED. Today, more companies have remote employees more than ever. I decided to work from home because it was a decision that best fit my needs and lifestyle. Some people may think that you couldn’t cut it in the traditional workforce, while others may even think you’re lazy. But, none of those negative connotations are true. As you start to talk to others about your decision, take comments with a grain of salt. As we move towards a more remote-based company structure, hopefully, there will be more open-mindedness towards working from home in the future.
2. Solitary Life
When you work a day job, it is likely that you encounter your coworkers every working day. You can walk to their desk or station, have a chit-chat in the break room, even go to lunch with a coworker. When you work from home, you don’t have that. You don’t have much physical contact with other people at all. When you want to meet up with your friends, they still work at an office so they might not be able to fit you into their daytime/weekday work schedule. Make sure you go outside at least once a day for a breath of fresh air, and if you’re feeling especially lonely, call a friend or loved one just so you can be social.
1. Do What’s Best for YOU
At the end of the day, you know you. You know what will work best for you. If you’re miserable at your current job and you need a change, do what is best for your mental health. Others will have opinions, you may run into unexpected surprises financially, working from home is not the perfect solution to your problems. Before taking this leap, take careful consideration into how life will change for you presently and in the future. If taking the leap is worth it, then by all means, spread your arms and soar!