Why a Work at Home Job Won’t Solve All Your Problems

It’s been a little over three months since I took the plunge into working from home as a freelance writer and consultant. Last week, I listed the three signs you need to quit your job. But what next? There are some warnings to be given about the pitfalls of working from home. I had so many beautiful, fluffy dreams about how amazing it would be to work from home. I’m sharing this reality check so that you can be better prepared to handle the challenges. There are immense benefits to finding a work at home job, but don’t expect the lax dress code and upgraded coffee selections to solve all your problems.

There are immense benefits to finding a work at home job, but don't expect the lax dress code and upgraded coffee selections to solve all your problems. Work at home job advice from WordsbyErynn.

A work at home job is still WORK.

There will be deadlines, meetings, reviews, and unexpected expenses that will make you wish you could hold your liquor better. Whether you work for yourself as a freelancer or snag a telecommuting job with a customer service company, you will definitely not be surfing that couch as much as people think.

Many online jobs have specific hourly requirements that must be met if you want to stay employed. If you’re sourcing clients on your own, you might have one week of drought followed by two weeks of heavy rain (plus a little lightning). Having the freedom to work at home doesn’t mean we aren’t working as much as people in office buildings. We’re just working differently.

Once you make the leap into working from home, you’ll figure out your own rhythm and how you work best. It’s up to you whether that’s an 8 hour day or one hour blocks throughout.

Getting started might take more work than you think.

You might think that starting your own business doesn’t sound that tough. Expect that finding an online job is as simple as a few applications and some spelling tests? Whether you’re creating a business from the ground up or submitting thirteen resumes a day looking for an opening, you will work harder than you’re working now. I promise you it will be worth it. However, odds are you’ll have some sleepless nights and difficult days first.

Applying for work at home jobs is a part time job of its own.

Consider the success rate of past job seeking ventures. How many resumes did you submit before getting an interview? Before actually getting a job offer?

If you’re looking for an online job to essentially replace your full time gig, you’ll need to get your resume in order and get a cover letter prepared (stay tuned for a post with some help on those soon!). Make sure you have an email address suitable for business communication. The email address you got when you were 16 that references your first car likely won’t impress hiring managers. Also, brush up on your typing and spelling skills since online jobs involve a ton of written communication and form-filling. Be prepared for software and hardware questions, and possibly purchasing equipment depending on the field you plan to enter.

It may take a few attempts before you hear back on any job opening, just like in real life. Happily, one of the pluses of working online is that you can usually start sooner than brick and mortar occupations. Generally paperwork submission and online tests are the only hurdles.

Starting a business is a different beast.

For those planning on breaking cyber or other ground with a new business, the process is even more intensive. Modern businesses necessitate an online home, so web hosting and domain names should be high on your list. Market research and social media growth are key, so developing a strong and recognizable brand will be your first duty.

Seriously, expect to invest a few or a hundred hours in your business development before turning any amount of profit. I spent untold hours contemplating color schemes, font combinations, and website copy for my brand, and I’m just a freelance writer/consultant.

You’ll still have work-life conflicts.

Even if your computer is ten feet away and beckoning you, shit can still happen. Accidents, illness, and plain old procrastination can inhibit the time you can invest in your work. Many online jobs require you to be logged in for a set number of hours, or certain times of day. This might be ideal while the kids are off at school, but potentially hazardous during breaks and summer.

Part of my desire to work at home was fueled by my annoyance at being forced to leave my kids in the first place. Working outside the home should be a choice for parents (and everyone else), but so should working inside the home. The difference between my old job and my career as a freelancer is I have the power. Power to reduce my workload, to increase it, to take days off, to turn down projects. I accept consulting hours that work for me and decline ones that don’t.

So working at home solves a lot of problems… Just not all of them.

But that’s ok! We’re still making an income, attending to family obligations, and living life. I hope for the same freedom and flexibility for you as I’m enjoying. That starts with your decision to find a work at home job, or create your own.

Keep an eye out for my next post on the pros and cons for working at home for a company versus working for yourself!

3 Signs You Need to Quit Your Job

How do you know when it’s time to take that terrifying leap and leave a comfortable yet ambition killing job? If you’re tired of doing what you’re told and merely existing to pay the bills, it might be time to leave the nine to five grind behind. Here are 3 signs it might be time to quit your job and move on to working from home wherever you damn well please.

 

3 signs it might be time to quit your job and move on to working from home from WordsbyErynn

1- You dread your job.

Maybe it’s the excessive commute or maybe it’s your backstabbing, snooty coworkers. Either way, you dread the start of your work week and probably each work day too. It could be that working at this soul-crushing job is merely a means of provision for your family. Possibly you’re just tired of facing your jerk boss and plotting your every move so as not to upset the status quo. We all know rocking the boat means the potential for being thrown overboard.

If you’re standing in line at the grocery store and having pangs of anxiety because you have to be at the office next morning and there is so. little. time. to do everything that’s necessary and important, then your dread is more than the Monday morning hangover blues.

We’re supposed to enjoy our work. Yes, I said it! Life in general is meant to be enjoyed. So if the knowledge that you’re going to spend the foreseeable future within those four walls has you questioning the need for prescription strength coping mechanisms, it’s about time to bail out.

2- You count lost hours.

You feel the hours passing and lament their waste. You can think of a list of twenty other things you could be doing that would make you much happier than sitting at this desk. You consider the cost of things you have to purchase and realize how long it takes you to actually earn them. You wonder if anyone would pay you to crochet coffee cup cozies or paint rocks. You contemplate cutting cable and cell phones and half your grocery budget so that you can live off of meager savings for a few months while you figure out how else you could feasibly make money. You would do almost anything to be able to walk away from this income source and do something, anything else.

Not a fulfilling career, folks. If you’re unable to mentally be at rest at work, you don’t belong there. Yes, a job is a job, but what if you could still pay the bills doing something else? This is a strong indicator that you should quit your job and investigate other avenues of progress.

3- You have talents you’re not using.

Are you currently working at your dream job? I don’t mean the career you aspired toward as a child, or what your degree dictates you’re supposedly good at. I mean the deep down, world-changing, ass-kicking, revitalizing, awakening dream you have to actually do something in life. Of course, not everyone can be a rockstar or rescue all the kitties. The thing is, everyone has a dream that has been written off as impossible when it’s not impossible at all.

I have always been told I’m good at writing. I have an eye for errors in text and always have to refrain from highlighting spelling mistakes on restaurant menus. What I don’t yet know I’m willing to teach myself. I never stop asking questions or planning ahead. None of this got me a job in my ideal field, and none of it mattered at all in interviews for marketing related jobs. It DOES matter with my clients, because it translates into well written and worthwhile copy that they don’t have to stress over. I offer a service that is valuable to many people, the kind of people I enjoy working with.

Is it time for you to quit your job?

I used to think that to do what I loved, I’d need a boatload of money to get started. I had all these misconceptions about timing and missed opportunities, when I’ve actually been stagnating needlessly for years. There are plenty of excuses that can hold you back if you’re willing to let them, but none is good enough to justify wasting your life and your talents (I know you’ve got ’em!).

I know very few people who are actually doing what they love in life. I don’t want to live the rest of my life paying bills and counting hours. Even if my current gig doesn’t pan out, I refuse to re-enter the rat race.

If you’re here because you’re contemplating making a huge life change and want to quit your job, seriously consider it. Don’t settle for a career that makes you miserable. Stop catering to people who refuse to see the value in you.

Stay tuned for the next in my series of posts related to leaving our tolerable yet disenchanting jobs for fresh opportunity!