I feel incredibly lucky to have a career that has led me to a full-time job of freelancing. I look at working from home as a true luxury. It definitely comes with it’s challenges, but I’ve come to figure out a strategy that works for me.
Freelancing is great. Sure, the pay isn’t always steady, there’s no PTO, health insurance or employee benefits and you only get paid when you’re actually producing work (no paid lunch breaks here)… but, if you’re willing to hustle, none of that should scare you away.
Freelancing allows you to choose your work, choose your hours, work from anywhere and virtually answer to nobody but yourself! In the creative field, that hits the jackpot for me. Creativity doesn’t switch on at 9AM and off at 5PM. Some days, I wake up and the creative juices are already flowing. It’s like I was dreaming up ideas in my sleep and I can hit the ground running. Some days, I wake up and I have no ideas. No creativity. Nothing.
People often ask me, “How do you stay motivated working from home? I would get so distracted or end up on my couch all day.” And to be honest, it’s NOT easy to avoid the temptation (my couch is amazingly comfortable), but it’s so much better than when I worked in an office. In the office, when work was slow, I sat at my desk, stared at my computer, and thought about all the productive things I could be doing if I weren’t trapped there until 5:00. Grocery shopping, laundry, working out, playing with my dog. But instead, I had to take care of those things during the few precious hours I had between work, making/eating dinner and going to bed.
Now that I choose the projects that I work on, I am rarely bored (hence choosing projects that I WANT to work on). But when I hit a creative block or lack of motivation (which occurs at least 3 times a day), I get up from my desk and I choose to do something productive. Taking 10 minutes to fold a load of laundry or do the dishes (I live a glamorous life, I know), allows me to return to my desk refreshed and even though I didn’t log any time (aka make any money), I still checked something productive off my list – and that’s always a win.
Something every at-home freelancer needs to understand and accept is that some days are better than others. Some days, I sit in front of my computer from 7AM to 6PM and somehow only log 4.5 hours of work. WHAT?! Oh yes, invoices, proposals, research, education, yada yada yada. These things happen and unfortunately replace valuable, billable hours. Other days, I manage to log 10 hours of work, go to the gym, walk the dog, do laundry, grocery shop, make dinner and am in bed by 10:30. HOW?! Well, I’m not sure. The latter is fewer and further between but it’s best not to fight it because truly, you win some, you lose some.
I suffer from an ailment I like to call the “Inability to Say ‘No’ to Money”. It’s a blessing but more often than not, a curse. If someone comes to me with a project, and I look at my upcoming calendar and know that there is no way I can fit another project into my schedule whilst remaining a sane and healthy individual, I will without a doubt respond with a chipper “Oh, sure, no problem! I can start on that right away!”.
The statement has never been more true: “Entrepreneurs will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week”. Like I said, the pay is not steady, no PTO, health insurance or employee benefits, and I log 60-80 hours/week on average instead of a cool 40. But, I’d never go back.