A lot of people have emailed me over the last 7 months about my working at home. Just so everyone knows, I did have a desk job…in fact I worked in offices for 12 years until this past October, when I gave notice at my job to go out on my own. So far it has been fantastic, as I make my own hours, spend some time at the beach, meet for coffee or lunch with friends (whom also work as freelancers) in the middle of the day, etc. That all being said…sometimes it is a little claustrophobic being in my house all the time with no one to talk to but the cat. Since receiving all these emails, I figured I would put a little list together about what I have learned since I started working from home.
10. There are a lot of other people not working at 9-5 jobs as well. In fact, about half the people in my building are home all day and all night, and I never see them working. Rather I see them sitting outside having tea and heading to the beach day after day. Go figure.
9. Some days it takes a lot of effort to shower and get dressed before noon. A lot of times I will get up at my normal time (between 8 – 8:30) and head into my office, fire up the computer, and get right down to business. When I look up, it is 12:00 and I am still sitting here in my sweats with a cold cup of coffee.
8. My wife is incredibly jealous of me. She gets up, goes to work, goes to school, and sometimes does not come home until about 9pm. I try to explain to her that I am not just sitting around watching TV all day, but she doesn’t buy it. But until I stop getting paid, I guess she has no choice but to believe me.
7. Our cat talks…a lot. I always wondered what they did all day, and really, it’s not all that exciting. Sleep, eat, run around, and talk. Rinse and repeat, over and over. He is half Siamese, so I know he talks a lot, but I did not know he does it all day long.
6. Working from home you do lose a certain sense of job security, even though working in an office does not provide “real” security, either. I guess it just feels more real because you are with other people. I had no more job security at my office than I do here, but it just feels strange. You can be laid off from any job at any time, so being in control of my own clients and workload is probably MORE secure, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.
5. Handling your money becomes a bigger deal when you freelance. One major source of my monthly income does take out taxes, as I am on payroll with them. But my other clients do not, and I have to be sure to monitor my accounts all year to make sure I am putting aside enough money to pay the tax bill when it comes due. Also, you have to do your own investing, as their is no company sponsored 401K to pay into anymore.
4. Health insurance is really no more expensive on your own then it is with a company. Well, if you are healthy, I suppose. With group plans at an office, you have to be accepted into the program, no matter what conditions you may already have. Private insurance can reject you for previous conditions. Luckily, my wife and I are healthy and were accepted right away. I am paying LESS to cover us privately in a PPO with Blue Cross than I was for the same coverage at my office job. Of course, if you are lucky enough to have the company pay for it, then you are even better off, but I don’t have many friends with 100% paid for health insurance.
3. Working at home saves a LOT of money. I eat out less, I buy less junk food, sodas and juice, I don’t stop on the way home from work to pick up things that I could do without, etc. We sold a car (my community is 100% walkable), which saves money on gasoline, parking and insurance. I have no more expenses here at the house then I did before, except maybe the lights and computer are on more often.
2. There ain’t that much on television from about 10am until 4pm every day, unless you enjoy Oprah, sewing shows and soap operas. Thankfully, we have Tivo.
1. Working at home has opened my eyes to a lot of opportunities that I might not have seen before. I see things online that could be improved, I have more time to work on my various online ventures, I have learned new ways to make money, and I have more time to investigate things that interest me. I can take classes during the day, I play tennis twice a week before my “old” work day would have ended, and I have the freedom to take a few days off in a row if I want to and do all my work at night. I can work every other day, strange hours, or any combination in between. Honestly, if I do ever have to go back to working in an office with set hours, I do not know how I will do it. If you can work from home at all, I would figure out a way to do it. It is totally worth it. The main thing you have to do is to force yourself to find reasons to get out of your house occasionally, or you will go stir crazy. I did at first, but I think I have found my groove.
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