The work-at-home lifestyle has many perks that an outside hourly or salaried job simply does not. First of all, many at-home workers get to set their hours and work however long or little that they want. You get to be your own boss and never have to worry about your superior micro-managing you. It's no wonder there are 54 million freelance workers in America.
With all that in mind, it is worth noting that the work-from-home life is far from perfect. You do have to put in a significant amount of effort into your job on a consistent basis if you ever want to succeed. You will have to practice a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation to go far, but the rewards at the end are well worth it. However, this career path does carry several challenges of its own and often requires a lot of planning and problem-solving. If you are a work-at-home worker, you will likely face these incredibly common problems:
Not having your own benefits.
One disadvantage of working for yourself is that you have no company-provided benefits, which means your health and dental insurance, retirement plan, and everything else will have to come out of your own pocket. To be fair, you would have to be paying for these items from your paycheck if you were working for a regular employer, although it would come at a nice discount.
Solution: You could choose to go without insurance, but that's not always a good idea. You will have to do some of the legwork yourself and compare options. Start by getting very specific about your needs. List what type of medical care that you need to get covered and which doctors you have that you would like to keep. Research your options on sites like PolicyGenius or eHealthInsurance.
Not having a steady income.
While any hourly or salaried worker has little problem calculating their monthly income, freelance workers don't always have that same luxury. Your workload may fluctuate from week to week. Clients can come and go overnight.
Solution: It's time to do some budgeting. Figure out how much you need to live a decent life and conduct your works and rates accordingly. The most important thing you want to do is to get as many “blue chips” or clients that are consistent and pay well. These clients are ones that you can come back to time and time again to pay the bills.
Managing your time.
When you work a 9-to-5 job, you never really have to worry about how you will use your time. You know when you will arrive at work, how long you will work, when you can take your breaks, and when you can finally pack up and leave for the day. However, working from home can be a different challenge. Do you still have to put in eight hours a day? When should you spend time working on your project and when should you be laying in bed and watching television?
Solution: You need to develop a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Of course, your schedule largely depends on how much work you are assigned, so it is likely to change from day to day. Measure out how long it will take you to complete specific projects and adjust your schedule accordingly. Even if you aren't currently working on a project for money, you should at least spend a decent chunk of your day doing something productive, such as networking, training, or even exercising. That will ensure that you work towards improving yourself and your career even when you aren't making money.
Keeping productive rather than being distracted.
When you are in an office environment, it is sometimes hard to not do your work. For example, you might be on a computer and feel tempted to check your Facebook or pull up a quick YouTube video. However, you know that your co-workers are working alongside you or are walking around the office and can easily look over your shoulder and check out what you are doing. (You know there’s been more than once you’ve had to quickly close a window when someone walks up behind your cubicle.) If you're working at home, you indeed don't have this luxury. It's much easier to give into all your temptations and not get any work done.
Solution: It's time to buckle down and get to work. There are many techniques that you can do to force yourself to do the job. First of all, try not treating yourself to any of your temptations until you get a set amount of work done. No television until you finish writing your articles or no video games until you have completed that graphic design project. If the temptation is too great, merely move out of its way. For example, you can take your laptop to a library and work there until your projects get done. That will put the pressure on you to complete your work since you won't allow yourself to go home until you have completed your work.
Lastly, you can motivate yourself through rewards. For example, when you finish all your projects, you can now have the chance to treat yourself to a guilt-free afternoon where you can catch up on Game of Thrones or play as much WordScapes as you can until bedtime. The rewards will feel so much better now that you know that you have no obligations until tomorrow.
Dealing with deadbeat clients.
As mentioned earlier, the life of a freelancer often carries the burden of an inconsistent pay schedule. You don't always know how much you'll be getting paid and when that payment will arrive. It gets even worse when you have clients who can't or won't pay you the money you are owed. Data from the Freelancer's Union shows 71% of freelancers claimed that they had trouble getting paid on time. On average, people owe these freelance workers around $6,000. That is quite a significant part of someone's paycheck.
Solution: There are many ways to deal with deadbeat clients. You can pre-emptively combat them by working in late fees in your contract, wherein you charge them more when their payments don't come in on time. You can also network with other freelancers and find out which clients are good for their payment and which ones are not. A different solution is to have them pay some or all of the money upfront. This way you will still have made some money even if the client decides to bail on you at the last minute. (Perhaps you can have a section of your contract that deals with clients with cold feet as well.)
Luckily, not all late-paying clients are as ill-intentioned as the serial nonpayers. Some clients may have had a sudden disaster strike them or their family, and their bank account might have dried up because of that. Perhaps those clients were also expecting some money and needed that money to pay off you. You can charge those clients in small increments and have them pay their dues slowly over time. You will still get your money that you're owed; it will just take a bit longer to arrive.
The work-at-home life can be tough at time, but that doesn't stop about 54 million Americans from doing it. One of the best benefits of being your own woman is that you can educate yourself and learn from those who have come before you. And that’s exactly what I’d like to invite you to do right now.
You may know my friend Caitlin Pyle. After getting fired from her job in 2011, she took her skills and started an at-home proofreading business. Today that business generates over $200,000 PER MONTH, and Caitlin not only works from wherever she also employs over 25 employees around the globe.
Thing is, Caitlin is nobody special. She still puts her pants on the same way I do.
She started at rock bottom after getting fired.
She developed valuable skills independent of a job, then used those skills to meet other people’s needs — and earned money in the process.
Want to learn how to do it for yourself? You can! Caitlin has taken her experience — along with the experience of 45+ other experts — and created the first-ever Work-At-Home Summit.
Over 6 action-packed days, you’ll learn directly from Caitlin and her dream team of 45+ experts – myself included – on how combining The Right Skills + The Right Actions can make your work-at-home dream a reality THIS year.
The cost? Zero dollars and zero cents.
And no commute, either!
You can use what you learn during the summit to create additional income to help you pay off debt, save up for that vacation you wanted, or maybe even completely replace your income like Caitlin did.
You can spend more time with your family instead of commuting to your job.
If 2018 is THE year you want to jump in and build your own work-at-home life, register for the free Work-At-Home Summit here.
Here are some of the lessons you’ll learn — and the experts you’ll meet! — in the summit:
- Landing your first work-at-home job (with Angie Nelson << that’s me)
- Becoming a virtual assistant (with Gina Horkey)
- Making money as a writer/blogger (with Jeff Goins)
- Identifying your work-at-home strengths (with Rosemarie Groner)
- Time management, reducing overwhelmed and getting focused (with Sagan Morrow)
- Transcription how-to (with Janet Shaughnessy)
- Understanding accounting & taxes (with Janet LeBlanc)
- Affordable healthcare solutions (with Ron Bruno)
- Budgeting on a variable income (with Charissa Quade)
Not only is the event free, but it’s also virtual — after all, what would a Work-At-Home Summit be if you couldn’t attend from home? 🙂