Every day of my life is like a dream where I lounge on the swinging chair in the backyard sunshine sipping iced tea and napping whenever I feel the urge. It’s pure bliss.
Or not quite.
The reality of the work from home life (of a freelancer/blogger) is more like you work your bum off or you don’t make any money. I probably work twice as much in my self-employed life than I ever did in a real job, and there have been many challenges to overcome in order to make it a viable income source. Of course, my situation here in Australia, the one where I’m waiting for my partner visa to be approved (11 months and counting!), has been a true driving force in the whole endeavor because… well… I simply can’t stop in the middle of it all and take up a normal job.
The work from home life is one I both cherish and despise – more the former in that statement, so I thought I’d share both sides with people reading who might be trying to do the same.
The Good: I get to set my own working hours!
The Bad: I find that I sometimes work from the moment I roll out of bed to the time I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. There are random spurts of weekend work, work in the car, work on the train or whenever else I can be with laptop in hand.
The Good: I can work from anywhere!
The Bad: Work is often not better from “anywhere”. That “anywhere” needs to have a decent Internet connection (good luck in Australia), probably a bit of peace and quiet, and let’s not forget a comfortable work zone – I do better when I can be plugged in, sitting upright and with a mouse in hand. The library is often overrun with school kids taking up the good desks or talking loudly, and cafes will end up robbing you blind if you stay put all day.
The Good: I can travel whenever I want because my work schedule is so flexible!
The Bad: There’s a big misconception I have that I will get a good amount of work done while traveling. WRONG. On all trips, even when I was sure I’d have plenty of time to work, I got done maybe 30% of what I was expecting. Working and traveling is the hardest part of it all. If I want to be sure to be productive while traveling, I have to simply get work done in advance – stress much?
The Good: I am responsible for the money I make!
The Bad: Any periods of down-time, slacking off and being sick means less income. It’s very easy to get behind.
The Good: I get to work on my own personal computer that I feel comfortable with and has all of my files.
The Bad: Overhead… I’m responsible for that. Remember that time my laptop’s power cable took a dump and the replacement cable I ordered in Australia never showed up? And then did you know that I bought a $50 netbook charger that supposedly worked with my netbook but really didn’t? I ended up commandeering my boyfriend’s laptop for a couple of months (during my travels to Malaysia and the USA) until I got a replacement cable in the States that worked properly. Saying that period was challenging is a bit of an understatement.
The most annoying part of that incident was losing access to the articles I was already working on – something I am avoiding now with Google Docs. Not having my own backup computer until the other issue was resolved was another problem – perhaps something that could be avoided in the future if I choose to rent a PC from equipment rental companies. Setups such as RentSmart offer data back up and data transfer services for free. And, they always have security (through loaners if in need of repair) and the ability to upgrade to the latest and greatest (it makes a good impression). Something to consider.
The Good: I have no boss or superior looming over my shoulder!
The Bad: I have to be my own cheerleader every day. I may report to people at the end of the week, but getting there can include a lot of mental challenges. Sometimes just staying away from the bed for an afternoon nap is a struggle.
The Good: I’m free to pick and choose and come and go as I please!
The Bad: Benefits? Security?
The work from home life is definitely not for everyone. There are days when I may not get out of my pajamas until the afternoon, and days where I may not get out of the house at all. Still, I know that the work from home life is the better life for me, especially when I see Pat leaving the house in the morning in a suit and I can’t help but cringe. Go me!