Working from home is a dream for many people. The thought of being their own boss with the freedom to work when they want feels more dreamlike than anything. Unfortunately, it’s not all about good times and heavy flows of income. Nope…it’s much more difficult than what many might think. In fact, it has altered my life in profound ways since 2012.
Living a Dreamlike Existence
Working from home is a lot more difficult than attending a full-time job. You have a lot of things to consider when deciding to jump into the freelancer game. However, it goes beyond making sure your finances are secure. In fact, much of the experience can seem overwhelmingly surreal.
Here, let me explain some of my observations since January of 2012. Keep in mind that everyone’s experience may be different. The things I have gone through may not be the same for yourself.
1. Lack of Social Interaction
One of the things I miss most about working a regular job is the constant human interaction. This is something I wasn’t ready for, especially since I’ve lived a large portion of my life as a hermit. It’s the short, five-minute conversations in the hall or when working on a teacher’s computer that I miss most.
I deal with clients on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this is all done through chat or video conferencing and only for short periods of time. Sure, I could spend a few moments on Facebook or Twitter…but it’s not the same. Never would I have thought how even the slightest human interaction would be missing from my life.
2. Heightened Frustration
One of the most profound issues I face on a regular basis is a heightened feeling of frustration. In the past, it was people thinking I can run more errands all day because I was home. In reality, these errands stopped me from getting prime writing jobs on Textbroker. Today, it’s clients who need TLC throughout the entire day.
I can easily switch off at certain times, but then I wouldn’t be as successful. I try to keep a normal working schedule because most of my clients are business owners…which means I need to have work done within their schedule, not mine. I found I make more money this way.
3. Higher Financial Stress
I started writing full-time because I made more money than working a regular job at the school district. However, the stress of finances is still prevalent. I need to monitor my own taxes, vacation days, insurance and much more that many take for granted in a business environment.
It’s hard to enjoy a dreamlike state of being a freelancer when you need to carefully save to pay taxes every year or make sure you have your own health insurance. On top of being a writer, I need to be an account as well – because I sure as hell can’t afford one of those.
Beside, I don’t trust other people with my money.
4. Importance of Time Management
As a freelance ghostwriter, I am paid for production. Every second I am not actually typing is essentially money down the drain. That means things like going to the bathroom or making lunch cost me money. The faster I complete jobs for clients, the more money I make. Don’t do enough, and I won’t be able to pay my bills.
I’ve always had a problem with time management. Don’t get me wrong, I am good at almost everything I do. I just don’t have the best skills when it comes to managing a schedule from home. I am getting better at it, but situations arise that make it very difficult.
The more fine-tuned a schedule is for the day, the easier it is to be successful as a freelancer.
5. Facing Cabin Fever
This could probably go along the lines with a lack of social interaction. However, it’s simply being stuck in the house all day that gets to me sometimes. I don’t necessarily need to interact with anyone, but being able to go places just to change the view is something weird to me nowadays.
Luckily, I go for semi-regular walks just to get out of the house. But there are days when I long for the appearance of a cubical to break up the monotony of looking at my aging computer desk 16 hours a day. In fact, I am constantly looking for ways to afford an office space in town away from home.
6. Understanding Myself More
One aspect of working from home is the inner revelations you have about yourself. The person you are in a business atmosphere may be completely different from how you are at home. Most of this is probably due to your mindset. When you’re at home, you’re relaxed and more open to diversions.
Some days, it feels like I suffer from ADHD. I get sucked into things like YouTube or watching kittens play around my desk rather easily and often fight myself to maintain a professional mindset. I know I’m not like this while working a traditional job. In fact, most of my past employers loved my ability to adapt quickly and produce high volumes of work. So, why is it so difficult working from home?
Probably because I am home and I mentally associate it with relaxation.
7. Expanding My Venues
Not all experiences working from home are freakish or negative. On days where I utilize my time well, I’ve explored other venues for making money as well as expanding what I do. For example, I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately learning how to invest my money. It’s my hope that I can use something like Stash Invest or Robinhood to save for things like taxes.
I’ve been blogging more, am toying with the idea of producing semi-regular YouTube videos and expanded how I make money. While it’s not the dreamlike richness I was hoping for, it’s a start. It’s all about diversifying yourself in a manner that doesn’t burn you out.
Freelancing May Seem Dreamlike for Many
No one says the dream will be sweet. In fact, many of you might experience downright nightmares in a dreamlike state when trying to find your way as a freelancer. Go into the career path with your eyes open. Keep your mind in the here-and-now and approach situations with logic and understanding. Working from home has great potential, but only if you’re ready for what life throws at you.