It will be almost one year since I was made redundant and started working for myself on the internet. I have learnt so much this past year about how to run an online business, internet marketing and how to make some money online. In addition, I've also learnt a lot about myself and my life in general. I love what I do and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to do so, but this lifestyle does come without its own set of problems.
I am sure you are asking the question why would I be writing an article about why “not to give up your day job” and work from home, which seem to clash with the first paragraph and what I am trying to achieve. The rational here is to clarify the kind of things I have noticed after shifting from the private sector to working from home on my own. I am sure that many people would see this lifestyle as “the dream” but as with everything in life there are difficulties to overcome, which I would like to share with you.
Please realise I'm not saying you should or should not do something – it's up to you. This is just my option based on my experience so far, you can make your own mind up.
In no particular order, my 5 reasons
1. The Buck Stops with You!
“This has got to be finished today”, “what are you doing now” and “why has this failed” these are some of the routine questions I use to get in my 9 -5. When I was made redundant and decided to work from home, I could finally have the freedom to make my own decisions.
But there are days when I have problems and I wish I had some around who know the answer or could point me in the right direction or even make the decision. Especially when it comes to writing and HTML, as the business owner I have no one to turn to and have to do more researching in order to come up with the right answers, which sometimes can be stressful. When you work in a large company, you have people who specialize in those areas and are able to make those decisions, but when it's your own business, it's down to you.
2. What Am I Doing Today?
That's a good thing isn't it? You can pretty much do anything you want at any time and still do your work! True – but there is something to be said about having a 9 -5 and the fact that on most days when you leave, you're done for the day as far as work is concerned.
As for me, I am constantly thinking about work and how to make more money to pay the bills; I constantly check my laptop for emails, messages, writing blog posts. But I have found that since working from home I working more hours than ever before.
Instead of 9 -5, its 07:30 – 09:30, then 10:00 – 17:00, then 18:30 – 21:00 and then 22:30 – 23:30 (it can vary, but you get my point). It takes discipline to schedule your days to try not to overwork yourself (since your office is your home and your home is your office), it is very difficult to not keep popping in to check stuff. This is definitely something I need to work on because at the moment I am the father that is always in the office – and that is not something I want to be remembered for !!
3. Approach to Work
This takes a lot of discipline, when working from home and there are a lot of things that will distract you from being productive. I was fortunate in that the past 7 years I had been a home worker, so I am use to the whole environment. My point is that working from home is HARD, especially if you are working in a home that does not have a designated home office. Being in the family space with TV's, kids and animals all add up to making it hard place to focus.
When I use to work 9 – 5, I'd get up, shower and have breakfast and be in my office by 09:00 ready to take calls. Working for myself, I get up and do the usual things like a 9 – 5 but there is no one there to tell me off if I were slacking – IT IS ALL ABOUT DISCIPLINE !!
4. Hi Guys, What did You Think of the Game Last Night !!
When I worked 9 -5, some of the colleagues I worked with became good friends. We had things in common like working for the same company and we developed the friendships based on our experiences. The environment was fun, and made the work more bearable.
Well now it's just me. Except for the holidays I am pretty much on my own every day, there was something nice about the “water cooler chats” and working in a team that I miss. Having people around that you could learn from, is probably one of the things I miss the most from the 9 -5.
5. The Advantages
When you work for yourself, one of the things you lose is the company benefits. Health insurance, death in service, pension probably the top three things that we're all concerned about and especially as you get older. But there are other things like paid holidays, training, etc – all which you will have to pay for yourself.
Hopefully you can see that setting up your business is not some wonder pill for financial freedom – but that there is a LOT more to it. The point I am trying to make here, is not to scare you from trying. Taking the bold decision to start my own business is and will be the best decision of my life. I just want to make you aware of some of the things you could face and give you an early heads up, so you know what actions to take to address each one.