When I first noted this topic down for a post, to be honest they key factor was going to be along the lines of it is much harder than you imagine etc etc etc.
Then as I sat on my front step, enjoying the beautiful sunshine typing away on my MacBook waiting for the clock to hit school pick up time, I thought I actually need a reality check!
Of course it is not perfect and there are hard bits to it, but that is work. Work does get hard and it brings challenges. But and it is an enormously large but, working for myself in my own home gives me huge advantages and it allows me to live the life I want.
I am also very lucky to love what I do. Not everyone can say that about what they do. With the exception of some of the admin side of things, I never think I don’t want to do that work. Often it is more about making sure I don’t work too much, as I have so many ideas and things I would like to do with my small business.
So I will start sharing the reality of what it is like to work for yourself from home, starting with some of the harder bits, but finish with why I really love the way I work.
The reality of working for yourself from home – the harder bits
I have a home office which is a great space, but in reality I work all over the house. And when you are in your office 24/7, your work is constantly in your face. It does make switching off hard.
I remember leaving my corporate office pre kids on a Friday afternoon and it was so much easier to switch off and forget about work for the weekend.
There is only me
When I took time off recently, in the two weeks leading up to my leave starting, I worked many, many more hours than usual to write the posts in advance for this blog, write for my freelance commitments and schedule social media for the time I would be away.
Even with this preparation I still had to do some work. If my normal workload is 100% then over my time off, it would have dropped to about 15%. If someone orders a book, I still need to send it through, if there are problems with the app, technical issues with the blog, I have to deal with them. There is no one I can delegate this to currently.
Working from home doesn’t mean I can skive off work all the time to do other things. It can take a while to get others to understand why you can’t catch up after school drop off or head out shopping for the morning with them, when they see you just going home.
I work better with routine, so try to create a weekday routine and stick to it. This means for lots of social catch ups etc, I need to say no as if I was turning up to an office. Some can take this as you are not interested, when it is not the case at all – I just have to work.
There are distractions in every work place, but some of the distractions at home are so very easy to justify. Eg The floors are a mess, I will just vacuum the floors before I start work or I will hang out the washing then start. Often those tasks can wait and it is really just productive procrastination in action.
The reality of working for yourself from home – the great bits
While as I just outlined I do have a work hours routine, it is super flexible. Next week I will attend the prep’s buddy picnic, I will go to a school social event the week after that, the following week I will go to the school athletics carnival. I will just plan my workload around these events.
School holidays are not the stressor for me that they might be if I was working for someone and only had four weeks leave. I will not take every school holidays completely off, but I will block out those weeks to limit meetings and my workload, so I can enjoy the time with the kids.
Working online also means, I can work from anywhere I have internet access. I have mobile broadband wifi, so can go pretty much work anywhere. As I only work part time hours, this means we can go away more frequently and I can take my work with me and just fit it in the evening or when the kids are entertained.
My work has brought me so many amazing opportunities and also fab opportunities for my family. We have had trips to Hong Kong and Japan, overnight stays at the zoo and many other wonderful experiences for the kids.
I get to travel to warm places (I love the heat) when it is cold in Melbourne! This year I will be heading back to the Gold Coast in August for the Problogger Event I help organise. I curate the content (speakers, panelists etc) across the two days. You can see my highlights from last year here.
(As an aside, the line up we have this year at the Problogger Event is amazing, so if you are a blogger or if you want to start a blog definitely check it out and consider coming along. Tickets go on sale Monday and they sell out super quickly.)
Working from home I am close to the kids primary school, so if I ever need to get them for some reason, I am five minutes away. I don’t have any travel time for my work which is nice!
I also have close proximity to my kitchen and laundry while at work! It means I can put the slow cooker on in the morning or prepare a meal in a break from work. And I can put on or hang out a load of washing as I need to. This is so helpful in letting me keep on top of things.
Working from home allows me to organise the way I work in a way that suits me. I can sit outside and work if I feel like it. I can take a break and go for a short run to re-energise myself if I want to.
I receive huge satisfaction from what I do. I receive so many emails from kind readers who take the time to let me know how something I have published on the blog here has helped them. Really heartwarming stories of the difference that something they have learned and implemented from what they read has made their family life easier or more harmonious.
And it is this which keeps me doing what I do. So thanks so much to every single one of you for reading and supporting the blog, which allows me to work from home for myself, I truly appreciate it.
Do you work for yourself from home too? What to you find hard about it and what do you love?