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Five Things They Didn’t Tell You About Working from Home

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Working in new media allows you to, in many cases, work out of a home office. I love that aspect of my job – I can make my own schedule, bake cookies while I blog, turn on the TV if I want, take a break to play with my cat during the day, wake up/go to sleep when I feel like it, and more. Of course, there are some not-so-good aspects to working at home too. The “big three” that most people talk about are:

  1. When you work at home, it is easy to get distracted by your family.
  2. Making your own schedule requires tons of discipline so you actually work, not do other stuff all day.
  3. Your family members and friends have a hard time wrapping their mind around the concept that you actually work even though you’re doing so at home.

But that’s not all. When I started working from home as a blogger, I was prepared to deal with distractions, the need for discipline, and people in my life asking for favors. And of course, I was stoked to make my own schedule, living a more flexible life. I was not, however, prepared for everything – good and bad – that comes with being a work-at-homer. Here are the five things no one told me before I started:

The Good

  • You actually make some awesome friends because you’re on social media sites all day.

When I started, I thought that one of the things I would miss the most is not having coworkers in the traditional sense. I’m a girl who likes to chit chat at the water cooler, and working from home would take that away. Except it didn’t. Because I work from home as my own boss, I don’t have to deal with blocked sites or a manager getting angry that I’m “wasting time” – I can be on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Skype, etc. all day. In fact, it’s part of my job! Of course, these can be distractions if you go overboard, but I have to say that I’ve met some of my best friends online. It’s always really rewarding to meet these people face to face at conferences throughout the year, but social media lets us hang out all day too, which is fantastic.

  • People have a ton of respect for you.

Never mind that most of my days include zombies and tacos. I’m a business owner. People are impressed. I didn’t get into freelancing from home because I wanted to show off or impress people, but it certainly is a perk to have the respect of people you meet. It also leads to great conversations. Because you do something off the beaten path, people love to talk about it, which makes great conversation when you’re meeting someone new. If you have a more typical job that people already understand, it’s not as good conversation fodder.

  • You get to work on ridiculous projects.

I put in a lot of time writing about boring topics, but occasionally, I get to write about crazy awesome stuff too. Like right now, my main project has me writing about zombies every day. Most typical jobs don’t give you as much variety, but online, anything can happen. It’s really fun to learn about so many interesting things and meet so many interesting people.

The Bad

  • Every project is the most important project on your schedule.

Working with multiple clients is tough! Everyone assumes that you’re working for them all day, every day, when in reality, you have to juggle multiple important projects. Even if you don’t don’t work with clients and instead just work on your own blog(s), there are always a million things to do, each of them equally important. Do you write posts? Work on your next ebook? Answer reader emails and comments? Spend time promoting? Work in your design? It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not good at prioritizing.

Oh, and let’s not forget that life will come in to mess up your day, demanding that you stop what you’re doing to deal with the situation. For example, yesterday as I was working, this little critter found its way into my house:

Even though I had deadlines and was expected on a conference call, I spent a good 20 minutes trying to avoid screaming as I chased Mr. Slimey around (including up a flight of stairs) before catching him in a Swiffer container.

  • Working from home is expensive.

When you work from home, you’ll save money on gas, but it can also be expensive in other ways. For example, if you’re self employed, you’ll pay more in taxes as well as have to purchase a business license in some areas. For many, this also means playing for your own health insurance and travel to conferences can get pricey if you don’t have an employer sponsoring you. I also pay for faster Internet, have higher utilities bills, and pay more for a larger rental since I want an extra room for a home office. If you work from home with clients or affiliates, you also have to worry about getting paid on time. It’s not a traditional weekly or bi-weekly paycheck situation, so even if you have very reliable clients, you have to plan your budget carefully.

Okay, for you work-at-homers – what are the good and bad things that you didn’t realize about this career path before taking the plunge to self employment from a traditional job?


Feedback

19
  • Black Seo Guy

    Family is always confuse about whats going on..but sooner or latter they get it.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Emylibef.com

    I don’t count what I do as my job…yet. But its easy to eat all day since the kitchen is…you know, RIGHT THERE.

    • Allison Boyer

      Oh, that’s a good one. I gained a lot of weight when I started working from home and it certainly comes off a lot slower than it went on!

  • Marcie_Hill

    I am feeling you on this one on all levels. Thank you for sharing this timely information!

  • Varina Brown

    Hello,
    This is such a nice and informative blog post. I just loved reading it and I feel that freelance work is making new highs these days and everyone talks about the good things involved in it and the bad ones get ignored,but you mentioned them nicely.
    🙂
    _________
    freelance seo

  • Jill Will Run

    I am not self-employed, but I telecommute.  The biggest struggle for me is the isolation of being alone.  I miss the idle chit-chat that takes place in the office.  I also struggle to find a balance of using social media to feed my need for human connection and to promote my blog, without neglecting my full-time job!

    And family never understand that I’m actually on the job.  I have a family member in particular that calls me with questions for my spouse, because they “can’t contact him since he’s at work right now.”  Sheesh…

  • Sarah Santacroce

    Very refreshing text  ! Especially agree with point nr. 3 🙂

  • Julie Bonner

    I definitely have issues with people taking what I do seriously. I mean,come on, “that Julie girl is at home all day – she can watch my kids, volunteer for everything and do whatever I ask at the drop of a hat! Right?” I’ve also dealt with not getting enough exercise and sitting at the computer too much.

    • Allison Boyer

      I try to be better at explaining to people why I say no, rather than just saying no, so they don’t do it again…but some will never learn!

  • Pat

    Not gaining weight!  Having the frig so handy makes it easy to graze all day long.  I finally had to make some changes to keep myself healthy.

  • Karon

    For me, it’s not being able to walk away from work and leave it at the office. Because I have small children, my flexible schedule revolves around their schedule, which means I work when I can: during nap times, TV time and after they go to bed. As a result, I can never just call it quits at 5 pm and go do something I want to do. 

  • krabil57

    Alli, this really gave me a lift this morning.  I could relate on so many levels. One thing I didn’t anticipate was how the dog might bark at a squirrel outside right in the middle of a phone call;-)  LOL

    • Allison Boyer

      Haha, yeah, phone calls can be tough when you work from home, especially when you’ll working with clients who are at the office and don’t understand!

  • Felicia Hudson

    Allison,

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this post today. I’m a freelance writer as well and can really relate to your point about every project being your top project! It’s frequently overwhelming to not only manage client work, but my own marketing, social media, personal development and personal life. I won’t even go into my volunteer work. I end up at the end of the day wondering how it flew by so quickly. Your post has provided perspective. Now I know it’s not just me. Thanks much! I’ll look for you on Twitter.  🙂

  • jmtcz

    No sick leave or paid vacation…  And, it seems like I work all the time.  But, luckily, I love my work – just need to make myself STOP sometimes…

  • Central Heating in Solihull

    Hey,nice post .Interesting article.I think working at home has both negative & posting points.But we can change our negative points into positive by applying little bit discipline at home .You have done a great job by sharing this post with us.I like this article.Keep sharing with us.

  • Jewelsofsayuri

    Fantastic article….very very true

  • Mystery shopping

    i really learn a lot in your Article. thanks

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