I once received a private message from a former superior who wanted me to join his team. Since I have found quite a balance of work and family in my life stage now (thanks to the blessing of working straight from the house), I respectfully declined the invitation. It was really tempting because the offer was good and the work seemed manageable. However, I knew in my heart that I fought long and hard to really attain not just my work from home job, but a lifestyle that I authored myself. He understood my decision but made a comment that doing corporate is good plus I have the skills – so it’s a loss. While he only meant well, at the back of my mind I found myself saying that ‘It’s quite the opposite, really. I believe it’s a bigger loss if I will just exhaust my talent and time working for someone else instead of building my own thing.’
The Anxiety that Comes with Quitting your Day Job
I understand a lot of people who are quite anxious to quit their day job to pursue a work-from-home career. Whether one gets hired full time or part time working remotely from home; or become a full-fledged freelancer, or a home-based entrepreneur – there’s a lot of breaking-down-the-comfort-zone-wall that will take place. But despite the anxiety, a lot of people (especially home makers) go for home-based work because of lifestyle goals, childcare issues, and yes – the passion to create something of their own doing.
If you honestly feel that you want to try this out but scared of jumping in, I’ve got a few pointers to help you decide. But remember, the number one rule is: There’s no certainty in life. There will always be that risk involved. So it’s better to find out early if you are up for this type of career.
Let’s answer the question: How to know if you’re fit to work from home?
1) You are a self-starter.
Being at home offers a lot of temptations to go slow on the deadline, settle for a mediocre output, or simply skip work all together. Television, Internet, your bed, and even your own hobbies can easily put out the fire of wanting to start. Therefore, the number one trait that you need to posses if you seriously want to make a living while in the house is to be completely self-motivated. Despite external factors, within you lies the drive to get up and do work. I’ll be honest to say that there are days when I just want to lie in bed or play with my daughter the whole day. But I know that at the end of the day I’ll beat myself for being unproductive. That’s the kind of motivation that I think keeps me going a lot of times.
2) You can follow a routine – that can be flexible at the same time.
It’s a misconception that when you work from home, you can choose when and when not to work ALL THE TIME. While that is possible, the bottom line is your ability to stick to a healthy routine. Especially when you are aiming for a balanced lifestyle, you would have to create an hourly schedule to allow time for priority areas: spiritual, health, family, work, not to mention housework, as well. If you don’t have a routine you will most likely fail in this type of set-up because a routine is a good motivator to finish tasks on time (see point #1).
On the other hand, since there would be a lot of distractions while at home versus the regular office job – one must also posses flexibility. You need to bring your child to the pediatrician but there’s a looming deadline – be flexible. Chop and spread out your tasks within the week so you can attend to both; or eliminate the less urgent ones to make time for your kid. When an unexpected friend or relative drops by, have a pre-planned strategy: In short, make a routine that is also open for the unexpected. That’s flexibility.
3) You’re not big on losing some social life because you just love staying at home.
If you’re not the party-goer or the one who needs peer interaction during the day – this won’t be much of an issue. It really boils down to how well you know yourself and your level of social tolerance. Since I’m a home buddy and my social life is my one-year old daughter presently, this setup is just right for me.
4) You are a good financial-steward.
As you will most likely be giving up the shelter of a bi-monthly salary once you become a freelancer, there is much to be said about being disciplined in your financial systems. The good thing about it is you are the one who will decide on how much you are worth based on your output — not the office position that says this is how much this job should pay. But just in any kind of freedom, you have to be smart in budgeting your income especially when there’s waiting time involved in remittances, bank transfers, and the like. It’s also a good reminder for you that from now on, you will be paying for your own health insurance, and other government and social security contributions.
5) You are passionate with your craft and has the motivation to CREATE and CONTRIBUTE.
This is one of the major reasons why I really pursued a work from home lifestyle. If you’re like me who desperately wanted out of the office cubicle thinking it’s so much waste of time being stuck there instead of pursuing an independent career — then this could be the dream job for you. If you have the passion to create something out of your own resources in order to contribute to the greater good – be it for family, church, economy, or the whole of humanity – then, my friend… this could be it!
As a Last Note:
I wouldn’t say working from home is the best job in the world. It has its own advantages and disadvantages. After all, there ain’t no perfect job. And by this time, you probably understand that it’s not for everyone. It isn’t the right career path for all of us. Again, it all boils down to your lifestyle choices, priorities, motivations — and most importantly, your own self-knowledge.
May you have the life that your heart desires :)