Sorry to break it to you, but if you’re thinking about going freelance and working from home because you have heard about the benefits this can afford you, then you might want to think again.
Sure, you get greater flexibility. You can roll out of bed at whatever time suits you, and you can finish when you please, without the rigours of regular office hours and the daily commute to worry about.
Yes, you can work in your pajamas if you really want too, so every day can be Casual Friday!
And yes, you can save money on office lunches, as you probably have what you need in your refrigerator.
There are downsides! We aren’t saying you should be put off by what we are about to say – you might be able to find workarounds – but you might want to consider alternative accommodation when working, as your freelance business might suffer.
You might feel isolated. If you’re a social butterfly, and you thrive on the collaboration and conversation of others, then working from home might be difficult for you. Sure, you might have your cat to keep you company, and you could always holler to your neighbour next door when you see him out and about in the garden, but they may be poor substitutes. Considering the next point, of course, you might prefer to be alone, as this will result in fewer distractions. But if you do need people around you, consider sharing office space with another freelancer, or consider your local library or café as other possible alternatives.
You might get distracted. To succeed with your freelance business, you need to make your day time-efficient. This is difficult if you aren’t very self-disciplined. If you’re forever taking breaks to watch the television or to check your Facebook wall, then you aren’t going to get a lot of work done. You might also get distracted by others. When your garden-loving neighbour notices your car is still in the drive, he might pop round for a cup of tea. Or you might get distracted by the noise of his infernal lawn mower on a too-regular basis. To get things done, you need to set boundaries. This includes boundaries on yourself, such as an internet blocker on Facebook, and boundaries on others. You might also want to work in another part of the house or another location if noise and people are a problem to you. Otherwise, both your productivity and your income will suffer.
Your professionalism might suffer. If you need to talk to clients, your freelance business might not look very professional if you are Skyping with someone from the comfort of your living room. And when you are sending out contact info, the lack of a business address might not go in your favour. No matter what kind of business you are involved in, you won’t be taken seriously if you don’t make an effort to convey a professional image. To do this, you might want to consider renting office space – you can view properties here – or, at the very least, paying for a virtual business address to give you greater credibility. Oh, and you might want to put the cat out and tidy up your living room if you do regularly use Skype for meetings!
If you can work around the problems mentioned above, then sure, work from home as much as you are able. But do consider alternatives too. Your business depends on it, so check out your local library, café, and any rented offices near you, as you might benefit more from them than your home environment.
Let us know what you think!