Most people who work a job they hate, or work a 9-5 stuck to a desk, have probably once dreamt of working remotely (away from an office). But as a new remote worker (freelancer), I’m here to say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Here’s why this way of working isn’t always so perfect:
People in the house
When you work remotely, you often start from home. But don’t do it! It’s so hard and crappy for so many reasons. One, people. If you don’t live alone, and sometimes there’s people in the house with you, they will distract you.
My sister is a shift worker and my mom is a teacher, and so there’s times when they’re in the house in the daytime. And it super sucks! They’re so annoying. For them, it’s free time. They’re doing errands, chores, or having fun. But that effects you, someone who’s meant to be working – and they just don’t get that.
Or a lonely “home office”
On the other hand, it’s not all that great if you live alone or don’t have people in the house during the day. It can get lonely. Perhaps your partner goes off to work every morning, and you’re left behind. It can feel really isolating and loud with absence. I’m good at being alone; I like working alone, but still the quiet can get to you at times.
Finding a suitable coffee shop
If you’re sensible, you’ll work outside your house, where possible. Whether it’s a cafe, coffee shop, library or other, it’s not going to be as easy as you’d think. Not everyone lives in an accommodating area that’s rife with internet cafes or suitable sitting space.
Plus, some cafes or coffee shops may have time limits on them. Or you could feel pressured to keep buying things so that you can stay, thus spending more than you may like when you’re starting out as a freelancer, like I am.
Other issues are the loud noises, lack of plugs, and lack of work space. You’re lucky if you live in an accommodating area.
“It’s not a real job”
You’re going to have to deal with a lot of naysayers, saying your job isn’t a real one. They will think you’re waking up late and chilling out for most of the day. My mom asks me to do things when I’m in the house, or my sister chats away to me like I’m not busy, just because I’m in the house!
I may be in the house, but I’m working, dude!
You know you can sleep in, but you know you shouldn’t. No day is a set work day, but neither are any days a no-work day. And so, you need to manage your time well, otherwise you’ll lose out. When you don’t work, you make no money – simple. So, manage your time effectively so that you make your money, as well as live the life you want.
More time, less money
The greatest thing about remote working is that you suddenly have more time. If you manage your time well, you can get more work done in less time and be able to do what you want. However, the case usually is (especially at first) more time and less money.
My friends with full time jobs have more money than me, but less time. I have more time, and less money. It’s so frustrating. This is the case with most beginners freelancers.
Finding your own clients
As a freelancer like me, or simply someone who works for themselves, you’ll have to find your own clients. It’s great when they find you, but don’t bet on this. It’s so difficult to be a nobody and have to prove your worth.
Also, there’s the whole finding your niche, your interests, your ideal client. It would be amazing to work for someone who you actually like, or produce content for them that you enjoy doing. Finding that client will be hard, and getting paid suitably for it will be even harder.
Making a lifestyle
For me, working as a freelancer was all about developing a lifestyle that works for me. I wanted time to work when I wanted, write when I wanted, read when I wanted, work out when I wanted, have fun when I wanted, and so on. It was all about control and freedom to be me.
But making a lifestyle this way isn’t easy. Having all this time to work with is kind of daunting. Making a routine for yourself that works for you, your family, your work, your progression, and your leisure is so tough and very frustrating.
“Work” is hard
For a lot of us, especially beginners, work will be so much more than it was on the 9-5. Yes, there’s more freedom and flexibility (hence why we decided to do it) but there’s much more groundwork to be done. You have to email often, meet new clients, complete briefs, do invoices, manage multiple clients, track time spent on work, track time spent on research, track time spent on revisions, find new clients, do sample work, blog, website update, feed your mind, and more.
Of course, it all depends on what work you’re doing and how you’re doing it, but you’re your own boss, so everything falls onto you. Whatever you don’t do, doesn’t get done.
And work for me, as a writer, is so much more than just writing what a client told me to write. That’s what I’m paid for at the moment, but as a writer “work” also means reading, blogging, researching, book writing, book editing, proofreading and more. But no everyone gets that, and that’s something you’ve also got to manage.
You become a recluse
It’s so easy when you’re a remote worker to never go outside. You never have to talk to anyone. No more awkward encounters with colleagues. This is great for anti-social people or loners (kind of like me) but it’s bad. Don’t become a recluse. Try to meet up with people around their work, or make friends who are also remote workers so you can meet up now and again to work together.
Plus, don’t fall into the trap of working everyday in your PJs or joggers! Get up, shower, get dressed and do your hair. Remember that you’re a person, who should look as such no matter where you’re working for the day.
What to charge
As a freelancers or remote worker, you may have to set your own rates. This is awful!! Charge too much, and you lose the client; charge too little, and you’re a fool. It’s so difficult to determine your worth, the project difficulty, and what would be reasonable to charge. And oftentimes, you will say different things to different clients. It’s just awful.
In truth, being a freelancer is great. I love the time. I love the freedom. I love the rewarding feeling of knowing I’ve been paid for something that I made happen. And working to my schedule rocks.
There’s a lot to suddenly do and take care of when you’re a freelancer, though. I’ve yet to find comfort in the new lifestyle – comfort meaning a nice routine, a steady pay, great clients in areas of interest, and more. However, this new lifestyle has been very rewarding so far. I’ve been able to write nearly a whole book in just over a month because of this. I’ve been paid for writing whilst not being an actual employee. I’ve proved my worth. I’ve blogged like crazy (as you can see). And I’ve explored myself.
I think you should try it, but know that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows!