11 Tips for Those Who Want to Work From Home…Permanently

Remote work is growing in popularity. In fact, 61% of employees prefer working remotely. And many people are turning to “gig” work as it provides freedom and in many cases, more money. But, there is a lot to consider if you want to work from home.

It’s not always the glamorous job some experts want you to believe.

Yes, there are some great benefits to being your own boss. But it also comes with an incredible amount of responsibility if you truly want to succeed.

And I’ve seen a lot of people fail inside of 12 months.

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How to Succeed While You Work from Home

There is a lot of work involved as a freelancer. In many ways, it’s far more difficult than a traditional job. Especially if you can’t find ways to keep yourself motivated every day.

Don’t Quit Your Job Just Yet

A common theme I see from a lot of people is how they immediately quit their jobs in the hopes of another career. This is especially true for those who turn to YouTube or Twitch.

Stabilize your new career before calling it quits. There is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll make money by making a shift to a new freelancing career.

You could be spending a lot of time trying to work from home only to find no jobs available. In the meantime, your bills are piling up. Don’t sacrifice a guaranteed paycheck over the idea of a virtual one.

In short, make sure your new freelance career is sustainable and can pay enough to keep the lights on and food on the table.

Find Something You Can See Yourself Doing in 5-10 Years

One of the most common failures I come across is from those who are attracted to the glitz of freelancing but wind up hating it.

Before you quit your job and jump into something you might think is fun, carefully sit back and think whether you’ll be doing it in five or 10 years.

What is your ultimate goal?

I’ve seen a lot of writers burn out from the sheer amount of content they have to create each day. Or, I’ve seen many get overly frustrated because they are simply not good enough at their trade to land those lucrative clients.

In some cases, you can work to improve your abilities as I did. But, you’ll still need to put in a lot of time to reach greater levels of success.

Plan for Greater Financial Responsibility

Plan Your Finances

When you work from home, there is far greater pressure to address financial responsibilities. And I’m not just talking about paying the electric bill or paying for your Internet connection.

Taxes

Do you have a separate savings account to cover taxes? Without the HR department withholding various amounts from your paycheck, you’ll have to make sure you can cover those every year.

A savings account can do wonders to help you keep tax collectors happy.

Sick Leave

Most freelancers I’ve met do not get sick leave from their clients. When a fever hits or you’re down with the flu, you most likely are not going to work. No work equals no paycheck in most cases.

It’s good to save up a few bucks to cover bills in the event you are unable to work from home.

Vacations

Plan on taking working vacations? Speaking from experience, they kind of suck. Yes, my job literally travels with me. But, I would so much rather enjoy the vacation itself without worrying about client work.

Much like sick leave, saving up to cover vacations in terms of income is ideal.

Retirement

Do you have a plan for retirement? For many of you, it’s probably decades down the road. But, planning for it now can save an incredible amount of problems later on.

Personally, I try to save and invest as much as I can afford. I don’t want to be doing this at 75.

Plan for Downtime

If you’re jumping into the realm of freelancing, you’ll need to save for downtime. Until you get a good flow going and can accomplish a daily stream of clients, you’ll still need to pay the bills.

At some point in the future, you should have enough work to keep you busy and paid. But in the meantime, remember that work is never guaranteed.

Make sure you can account of the days when there is simply no work to do.

Get the “Pajama” Thing Out of Your Head

Probably one of the most frustrating things I hear from others is how they can work from home in their pajamas. Now, while that may seem comfortable, it’s not always professional.

What I mean is that many of us use our wardrobe to feel better about ourselves. Not only that, but I’ve found that dressing the part helps with motivation and focus.

Not to mention how video chat has become such a big method of communication. And yes, many people have been ultimately embarrassed because of how they dress for Zoom.

My point is that how you look and feel will play a role in the mentality of freelancing. Some people may be able to handle it, but others will not.

I’m not saying that you need to dress up in a suit and tie or put on a luxurious dress. But dressing business-casual can make a difference.

I know I work better when I actually look like a writer.

Schedule Your Day Appropriately

Another misconception for a lot of new freelancers is being able to work when they want. That’s not always the case, and you could miss out on some great experiences by thinking that way.

Most of my clients are businesses here in the United States. This means I need to work when they do so the communication is quick and responsive. In fact, a contract I have now requires me to be available 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

My point is that if you want to keep many clients happy, you need to be available when they are.

Of course, this greatly depends on the kind of work you plan on doing at home. Not every freelancer will need to worry so much about time frames.

Plan for a Wide Range of Distractions

Distractions

When you work from home, the distractions are amplified. Everything from the family in the room to quick and easy access to games and Netflix needs to be addressed.

It’s far too easy to get sidetracked when sitting at your own computer in your own house.

For many of us, some distractions are a necessity. After all, it’s far cheaper to care for the kiddos while working as opposed to using a daycare service.

But keep in mind that every distraction will make you less efficient.

Take a bit of time and plan for those distractions. The purpose of freelancing is to make more money and make life easier. Getting distracted doesn’t help.

Get Out and Be Social

Zoom, Google Meet, Slack chatting, and other online communications platforms can only do so much. When you work from home, you don’t get that inter-personal interaction.

I’ve been freelancing full-time since 2013, and I can’t tell you how much I miss being out in public while working. This is coming from someone who has lived as a hermit for more than a decade.

In fact, there are times when I consider getting a part-time job at night just so I can be around other people for a change.

It may sound appealing at first, but it will start to wear you down after a while.

Set Yourself Apart from the Competition

You’re not the only one who wants to work from home. The Internet is full of tens of thousands of people who are competing for all the jobs you want.

Think about this, it was projected that 43% of the workforce here in the United States would be “gig” workers in 2020. That’s literally millions and millions of people.

You’ve gotta give clients a reason to choose you among the other candidates. This could include things like:

  • Offering additional services.
  • Becoming proficient in a variety of apps and tools according to your profession.
  • Demonstrating a superior customer experience by being professional and respectful.
  • Showing a willingness to learn and grow with the client’s needs.
  • Being upfront and honest about your abilities.

One of my favorite compliments is when I had a client tell me I was “tenacious.” He appreciated that fact, but still hired someone who just had a bit more experience.

Yes, I didn’t get hired. But, he remembered my name, and that’s the point. He might not have need of my abilities, but he might know someone else who does.

My point is that being awesome can open doors later thanks to online networking.

Never Shortchange Yourself

Always make sure the job you accept will pay the bills. Never shortchange yourself or accept jobs that are not conducive to making a life for yourself.

Your time is valuable, and when you work from home, you need a certain amount of money every day to keep the bills paid. Make sure you’re making enough to sustain your household.

I’ve seen far too many writers accept jobs that pay incredibly low just so they have the work. Trust me, there are plenty of other clients out there.

The time you spend on a client’s project will mean very little if you can’t bring in enough to pay rent.

Know When to Take a Break

Taking a Break

Another issue that correlates with some of the points above is the threat of burnout. This is when you “hustle” and “grind” so much that you forget to take time for yourself.

Stress, depression, and anxiety are common signs when you’re pushing yourself too hard.

It can be a balancing act, to be sure. Especially if you have children at home with you. But if you don’t take regular downtime or schedule yourself a few breaks throughout the day, that “grind” will turn you to dust.

Understand Effort Dictates Success

And lastly, keep in mind that any work-from-home career is directly affected by the amount of effort you put in.

One of my favorite sayings is, “If you put in a half-assed effort, expect a half-assed result.” And this is true in just about anything in life. You can’t expect greatness if you don’t strive for greatness.

I was successful with content mills because I was determined to be successful. 

It’s Not Always Sunshine and Rainbows When You Work at Home

Becoming a full-time freelancer isn’t always the glamorous life some people want you to think it is. There’s a lot more you have to worry about and be motivated to address.

But if you can find a good groove for yourself, the end results will be more than worth the effort. Just keep in mind that it’s going to take a lot of work to get to that point.

For more information about freelance writing, visit my YouTube channel.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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