As a freelancer, I get a lot of weird looks from people who do “real” work offline. Even with the changes to the economy and the evolving way we work, there are a lot of questions about how I manage freelancing from home.
And, of course, there are plenty of assumptions to go around. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows as a freelancer, and sometimes what people don’t know makes things a little difficult for me. Here are five things I wish more people knew about freelancing from home:
1. I Don’t Always Have Time to Drop Everything
Because I work from home, there is sometimes the assumption that I can drop everything and go to lunch or engage in some other activity. When my son was in elementary school, room parents assumed I could just abandon everyone and help plan a party.
Those who work from home know that deadlines need to be met if food is going to make it to the table. I try to be flexible, but I’m not always available.
2. This is a Business
Freelancing from home is a legit business for many of us. Just because we don’t have storefronts or employ a lot of people doesn’t mean that we’re not running businesses. Many of us have goals, business plans, and present ourselves professionally. It’s true that I spend some of my day working in my pajamas, but if there’s a video meeting, I put on appropriate attire and come ready to work.
3. You Aren’t Getting Something Super Cheap
Just because I work from home as a freelancer doesn’t mean that I cheap out on my prices. In fact, you might have to pay more for my work, depending on how much other work I have, and what you want done. Yes, my overhead is low. But I’m also a professional running a business. Trying to talk me down to a super cheap rate probably isn’t going to work.
4. My Work Week is Different from Your Work Week
Even though I’m freelancing from home, and there is an implication that I have a flexible schedule, I’m amazed at how many people assume I work “traditional” hours. I don’t. My work week is different from your work week. I might decide to go for a spa day on Wednesday and happily work on Saturday as a trade. For me, “end of day” often means midnight, and “end of the week” means sometime Sunday. I meet the deadlines I’m given, and I try to be available when my clients want to talk to me, but other than that, don’t assume that my work week will line up with your work week.
5. I Really Am “On” Most of the Time
I may not be sitting at the keyboard writing, but I’m probably “on.” I’m thinking about my business, I’m checking my email, I’m getting things done. While I do like to take breaks and relax, and I’m unreachable when I go camping, the truth of the matter is that I think about my business a lot. Plus, as a writer, almost everything I do is “research.”