Questions to Ask Before You Start Working from Home

If you feel like you’re right on the brink of making the decision to work from home, ask yourself these questions:

1) Will I miss being around other people every day?
Because I enjoy being alone most of the time, it’s no problem for me to socialize only with the dog all day until my husband comes home. If you’re a more social person, you might want to do a test run to see how you like being home all day. Keep in mind that if you work from home, you can pretty much work anywhere else, too. Coffee shops contain people, as do restaurants, libraries, and even parks. The cool thing about “working from home” is that you can tailor your environment to suit your personality.

2) Is the freedom worth the extra work?
Whether you work for a company or you make money as a freelancer, having a flexible working location is always going to mean extra work for you. This extra work comes in the form of increasing your prioritization skills, slashing distractions, and generally being a more self-motivated and disciplined person than you’ve ever had to be working in an office. Because you won’t have another person looking over your shoulder at all times, you’ll have to remind yourself to keep going when you want to nap, snack, or turn on the TV.

3) Will you be able to separate home life from work life?
I won’t lie: I have yet to master the art of completely separating my home life and my work life.  It really seems impossible when you’re a wife and mother. But because I enjoy my work, it’s not difficult to find reasons to knuckle down on writing and editing as a “break” from doing laundry and cleaning floors. As a soon-to-be stay-at-home mother, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work from home so that I can “ride both horses,” so to speak. I do find, however, that I have to set a timer to keep myself from mixing the two roles and forgetting to complete tasks associated with each one. I know that after Grey is born, my work style will be much more challenging to nail down, but I’m excited to adapt. It’s all worth it!

4) Will you find time for everything?
This is a biggy. By “everything,” I mean: housework, work tasks, social obligations, church functions, family time, personal fitness, and general daily upkeep. If you’re like me, you might be likely to obsess over one component of your life and forget all the rest from time to time. I’ve done that several times; but it only leaves me feeling worse. So what if I’ve achieved a fitness goal if it came at the price of leaving dishes in the sink for three days? It’s also very easy for me to drag my feet at the thought of going to a social event because I have so much work to do at home, whether it’s catching up on housework or finishing those blog posts requested by a client. If I am careful to prioritize and use my time wisely, I’ll have plenty of time to enjoy social outings without feeling guilty that the house is dirty or my clients are waiting on me.

Believe me, I am thrilled to be able to work from home as a freelance writer. That’s why I want to give you the unabridged version of what it’s like to do what I do. I encourage you to pursue working from home so you can enjoy the many benefits it offers.

Perhaps you already work from home yourself, and you have some things to add to this list. If so, drop me a line at freebendwellness@gmail.com! I’d love to hear from you.

What I’ve Learned in Three Months as a Freelance Writer

I began freelance writing in the end of November, 2015. I kind of fell into it, to be honest. I made a profile on Upwork.com and was surprised when I started getting job offers. The opportunity to work from home writing website copy, sales emails, blog posts, and articles has been a tremendous blessing. I love working in my own space even more than I thought I would!

During these three months as a freelance writer, I’ve learned some valuable lessons. There’s no way I could have known these things before, and I’m certain that many more lessons will come my way before summer begins and little Grey (!) is born.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the past three months.

1) Write Quickly

The ability to write quickly is essential to getting paid quickly. Most clients pay freelance writers by the word count, which means that if you’re able to knock out more words per hour, you’ll get paid more per hour. Not only should your hourly word count be as high as possible, but you should also strive to maintain high-quality writing output.

Don’t be afraid to take a step back, work on something else, and then come back to a piece. I’ve often done this when I feel stumped. Words tend to come more quickly when I look at a draft with fresh eyes.

Clients LOVE IT when you return finished work in a timely manner. It will boost your rapport, help your ratings, and ensure that more work comes pouring in for you. Don’t wait until the established “deadline” to finish a project. Try to establish a realistic (but ambitious) turn-around time and stick to it flawlessly. Make quickness a top priority in your daily work life.

2) Communicate Clearly with Clients

I worked with a client on a product review in the month of December. Because I’d had several clients before who didn’t give me much instruction and were still pleased with the work I did, I didn’t think to make sure I understood this particular client’s desires. I submitted the product review (which was rather long and required some research) and the client had a lot of edits. There were many things that needed to be changed because the client was expecting something different.

The misunderstanding created a lot of mixed feelings and wasted time for me and probably a great deal of frustration for the client. I believe the client would have given me more work if our collaboration had been easier. I wish I had been more proactive in learning what was expected in the project.

3) Cut off Time-Wasting Work

When you’re a freelance writer, there will be a lot of people who will try to hire you for pennies per hour. Sometimes you have to pay your dues and work for little pay just to gain experience, but you should be able to pay your own bills. I’ve had a client since December who not only pays better than any other clients I’ve had, but is also always ready with more work when I complete an assignment. I made the mistake in the last few months of putting work from this client on the back-burner and focusing on the lower-paying work just because I found the lower-paying work enjoyable.

Instead of knocking out writing assignments from the high-paying client long before the established deadline, I would work endlessly on the other articles, trying (and failing) to increase my speed and research time. If I had realized how pointless this cycle had been, I would have worked harder at keeping my higher-paying client happy and satisfied with my work.

4) Rest When You Need To

It’s easy to get burnt out when you work from home. Your work space is also the place in which you relax, eat, and sleep. If you need a rest from work, sometimes the best way to get that is to leave home. There will always be laundry, dishes, and cleaning at home, too. If you catch yourself feeling unmotivated, try taking a day off to spend time shopping, eating out, or just strolling through the neighborhood.

When you return to your at-home desk, review your career goals and make a clear-headed, well-rested plan to keep going.

5) Keep Moving Forward

Always move forward. Don’t allow any minor project to keep you from moving forward as a writer. If you see that your labor is not profitable in one area, move on to the next. You haven’t failed; you’re just experiencing growing pains.

If you’re looking into a career as a freelance writer, I hope these lessons will help you to avoid some of the hurdles I’ve run into so far. Do you have anything you’d like to add to this list? Is there something you do to keep yourself motivated as you work from home? Please share! I’d love to hear from you.