How To Be Self Employed And Not Go Crazy

As a freelance writer I often spend hours alone at home with very little interaction with the outside world aside from social media or emails. There are ways to make our lives easier so we don’t go crazy.


You don’t have to stay home


Self employment seems like a great thing until you’ve done it a while and felt isolated and sealed off from the outside world. Some opt for a part time job just to get out of the house for a while.

According to People Style Watch magazine over 30% of the labor force are self employed workers. The new trend is for a freelancer to team up renting office space with several other people so they aren’t completely isolated.

Some writers opt for an office away from home simply because some people have the opinion if you are home you are available for volunteer work, babysitting or carpooling their kids. You are home; you must have time. They don’t realize that just because a person is home all day doesn’t mean they aren’t working.

You don’t have to rent office space, there are coffee shops with WiFi, the library, and even the mall. If you can work with distractions or people talking your options open up for even more places to work. Personally, I need a quiet environment. The library usually has study rooms you can use where there is no noise and they have an abundance of resource material for research.


Home office


The best scenario is to have your own office at home but if you aren’t fortunate to have that at least designate an area for your work space and turn off the phone during the day or at least ignore the calls.

I have a writing room and unplug the house phone line in that room. The answering machine picks up any daytime calls. I have a cell phone for any emergencies that may arise. Any business phone calls go through my cell phone.

The only people that call home phone are mostly telemarketer robots that don’t follow the do not call list rules or politicians. I don’t need to talk to either of those people, I’m busy writing; the answering machine will deal with them.

By the way, you can deduct utility cost from any utilities used from your office. You have to do a little math to figure that up: square foot minus room measurements will usually get you close enough.

Prorate cost of computer, tablets, pens and any other cost you use for your writing, it’s all deductible. Gas to and from writing destination is also tax deductible. Keep records of all cost and expenses, you’ll need it come tax time.


Kids at home


This is a bit tricky for those of you with young kids but those with older ones can make them understand that mom or dad is working and cannot be bothered unless the house is burning down.

If you have young ones they should not be left unattended under any circumstances.

My teenage daughter answers the door and phone, screening my calls and will tell them, “My mom is working and cannot be disturbed.” She is very good at her job and is rewarded accordingly.

Take breaks, you should be anyway, to have lunch with your kids and talk for an hour. This way they can discuss anything that is on their mind they couldn’t tell you about while you were working such as the cat’s latest hairball.

Taking a break is important for your mind and body, move around, stretch and rest your eyes. It’s easy to get busy and forget. Having kids or dogs around helps us remember to take a break once in a while. My dog stares at me when it’s lunch time.


Time with friend and family


As far as having more or less time with friends or family that is entirely up to you. The beauty of being self employed is that you are your own boss and choose your own hours. The problem is in the beginning you won’t make much money so you’ll need to work many hours before you see any income. Eventually things get better but in the beginning don’t expect to get rich if you are a freelance writer. You have to be self motivated or it won’t happen. Nobody gets paid to do nothing.

Everything is potential writing material: that conversation you had with your friends, a family situation or a neighborhood drama. Just be sure to change the names and story a bit so you don’t upset the people close to you. Scenarios you found funny or noteworthy may not amuse your sister or best buddy. Just because you think they aren’t reading doesn’t mean they don’t.


Self motivated


If you can’t make yourself work, you might want to rethink your career choices. The beauty of being self employed is that you don't have a supervisor standing over you but the truth is many people need that to get things done.

If making yourself sit for hours in front of a keyboard isn’t working out for you then you aren’t going to make it. We write, rewrite and write some more polishing, deleting and adding many times before posting our work for the world to see. If you don’t have the dedication it takes you won’t make it as a writer. There are many people out there trying to work from home thinking it’s easy cash in your pocket, the truth is it’s not in the beginning and if you lack self motivation it’s not going to work. Early on you'll need to work hard to put any money in your pocket.

Put a picture of your motivation on your desk or bulletin board, whether it’s your kid’s college fund, a new car, a trip to your favorite travel destination or saving for retirement use those as your reason for keeping your butt in that seat.


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Comments 48 comments

BRIAN SLATER profile image

BRIAN SLATER 4 years ago from Nottingham Uk

What great advice, like you Pam I spend most of my working week home alone. But it is so easy to become side tracked or distracted. Like the idea of your work room. Voted up


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Brian. I sometimes go to the library for a change of pace or to gather research information but mostly work at home all day. It can be boring but I need the quiet.


Shelly McRae profile image

Shelly McRae 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Excellent hub. Right on point for the self-employed. Thanks for sharing.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks for reading, Shelly.


stessily 4 years ago

Pamela N Red, Good points about bringing out the positive aspects of self-employment centered in the home. I love working at home with 24/7 ability to follow through on creativity but I understand that others go through a settling-in phase. Your presentation is helpful for those settling in to their home office. It's also a nice reminder, to those already settled in, how sweet the home office style is.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

I enjoy working from home although sometimes I miss having coworkers around to interact with. It can get boring and lonely sometimes.


Irob profile image

Irob 4 years ago from St. Charles

I so struggle with not "having a place to go and hang my hat" as people call it. I have basically locked myself in my office for the day to be sure I start writing again and fiorbid myself from going to the basement, turning on my stereo and plan an agenda for each day of the week ahead of time


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Very good tips Pamela. I think the hardest thing for me is to find a balance away from the computer. Not everything I do on the computer is straight writing since I also do "crowdsourcing" work. But I have to get up many times throughout the day to "shift" my brain and do something else.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Irob, as our own boss sometimes we have to get tough with ourselves and stick with a schedule. Not getting out of the house is probably my biggest complaint. Sometimes I just go somewhere, even if it's Walmart just to get out of the house for a while.

Sharyn, getting away from the computer for a bit helps recharge our batteries.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

These are great tips for working being self-employed. I usually work from home, but I should sometimes take your advice and go to the library or somewhere else where I can see some people and get more story ideas. My biggest problem is that I turn it into an extended period of time, so instead of letting things wait for the next day, I feel like I need to keep working until I am satisfied with the amount of work I have done that day. If I worked in an office, I would be done when the clock struck 5, even if I wasted the day away.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Pamela, this is a great hub and so worth reading for anyone thinking about working from home. I find all of your points to be accurate. I have been freelancing from home for more than a year now and I love it but your advice about being motivated is right on! It is much too easy to get distracted if you are not self-motivated. Great job!


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire, England

I love the video. Home working has to be extremely disciplined. I have seen many disasters in the past. Family break-ups even because the work expanded to fill every single minute of the day.

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

Boswell: Life Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709 – 13 December 1784)

We have to remember that we have real lives too and get working at home under control.

Voted up interesting and useful SHARING this.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire, England

Or woman to bring the quote up to date!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Millionaire tips, some of us are workaholics and overdo it. Make sure you take a break once in a while.


SMD2012 profile image

SMD2012 4 years ago

Thanks for validating so many of my own experiences about working from home. It's really hard sometimes to make friends and family understand that we are not available on a whim to do favors, go hang out, talk on the phone for hours..... I also have to stop feeling guilty for not getting more housework done just because I am home.

The one thing I do miss from my old 9-5 life is that we always made sure everyone took their lunch break and ate. Here on my own, it's too easy to keep on working until 3 or 4 without eating lunch because I am so wrapped up what I am doing (and enjoying every minute of it). - Sarah


mbyL profile image

mbyL 4 years ago from Switzerland, Zurich

This is a very good hub and also interesting. I like the idea of teaming up with other freelance writers, really. I have saved the link to this page in order to write a promotional blog for you, because this deserves more audience, because there is something that has been said and must be heard by a wider audience.

Voting Up Useful and Sharing!


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

Very good article, with sensible ideas and suggestions. I find that setting alarms helps me, otherwise I never stop for breaks, or for sleep, or anything else. Voted up, awesome, and useful. Have a great day!


montecristo profile image

montecristo 4 years ago from Hampton Roads, Virginia

Thanks for sharing those ideas. Voted up! keep up the good work!


Chris Achilleos profile image

Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

Very helpful tips. A vote up from me!!!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Billybuc, staying motivated is sometimes a challenge especially when I have things at home that need to be done like housework. Today I noticed my ceiling fans need to be cleaned. I'm not only an office worker but the maintenance department too.

Molometer, I like that video too. It speaks volumes about the life of a writer.

SMD, I sometimes get sidetracked cleaning house but have to remember that I have to write too.

MbyL, thanks for sharing my article.

dmop, setting an alarm is a good idea.

montecristo and Chris, thanks for reading.


Angela Kane profile image

Angela Kane 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Very good article, I voted it up and useful. I am self-employed and I needed to learn how to manage my time better so I would not be in the house all day.


kc1176 profile image

kc1176 4 years ago from Iloilo City, Philippines

Pam, I needed to read articles like this! Thank you! I finally realized that being self employed is not bad at all. I was actually thinking of applying for another job instead of writing articles online. But I guess I need more self motivation in doing it. Your article helped a lot! More power!!!!:)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Good advice. I love being self-employed--it gives me so much freedom to do things I otherwise wouldn't be able to do with a day job. Glad there are people out there. Would be nice to share office with like-minded people. Thanks for sharing.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Pamela, I started writing with Hubpages and I love it now. It gives a high to me. I prefer working from home as I can't concentrate in distractions and I fully believe like you say, that there is no dearth of ideas, for a writer. There are so many everyday situations to write about.

My readers motivate me.

Thanks for this wonderful hub. I enjoyed reading it.


heartconscious profile image

heartconscious 4 years ago from United States

Great hub! You did an amazing job giving straightforward advises for self-employed, home-based workers and freelancers just like me!


nybride710 profile image

nybride710 4 years ago from Minnesota

I, too, spend all day alone writing articles. I have went through a few mini-depressions since starting this a year ago, and am constantly on guard so I don't succumb to it. I've been doing the vast majority of work for Textbroker, an article writing website for clients, because it pays the bills. I've spent more time on Hub Pages lately because I feel myself getting burned out and I need the freedom to write what I want to write.


ElizaDoole profile image

ElizaDoole 4 years ago from London

Thanks for this hub Pam. The exceptional video I found really inspiring. I've thought for a while there needs to be some kind of writer's union for freelancers. A bit like Actor's Equity, where you need a card to get hired and there are minimum rates for our work. I agree with Harlan that amateurs are doing too much writing for exposure or publicity and something needs to change.


chspublish profile image

chspublish 4 years ago from Ireland

Great advice Pamela. I know only too well what you're saying here as I've had to be self-employed for such a long time and it doesn't work out well a lot of the times.

Thanks for writing up the hub.


jenubouka 4 years ago

Have to repeat the comments: great advise and very helpful indeed. I do have a toddler so a regular 8 hour work day can take up to 16 hours, however it is worth being at home rather than forking out big mula to a stranger.

Self discipline is pretty hard at time, especially with the warm months approaching, but thinking back at the previous supervisors that in itself is motivating.

Loved this great hub!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Angela, I have an article coming in a few days on time management. Hopefully it will also be helpful.

KC, we just have to keep our nose to the grindstone and not get discouraged. "I can do it" should be our mantra.

Anginwu, making our own work schedule is great. I love being able to work when I want and still take time for family and home.

I agree, Rajan, I also like the flexibility of rearranging my work room to better suit my needs. We don't always have that freedom working for others.

Thank you, heartconscious.

NYbride, it's easy to get burned out if you are writing things you aren't interested in that's the beauty of HubPages, we can write what we want.

ElizaDoole, I wrote for free for a few years online before realizing the income potential and I also didn't know how to go about it. I no longer do that.

CHSpublish, distractions get in the way. We just have to be a hard boss for ourselves.

Jenubouka, writing with little ones can be a challenge. You get an idea but can't write it down right away because of taking care of your child. There are ways to do it, it's just not as easy as it is once they get older. You'll cherish these times with your baby and be glad you did it even if you had to make sacrifices.


jenubouka 4 years ago

So true, so true. My home looks like it has been attacked my a sticky note bandit, works great though.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

lol Jenubouka, a sticky note bandit. I love sticky notes and use them often. It helps me remember things.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great advice! You are definitely right about the self-motivation. Some days that is a lot easier than others, but on the whole I love being self-employed and working from home.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

randomcreative, sometimes I run out of ideas but I enjoy writing and wouldn't give it up for anything else.


Singaporean profile image

Singaporean 4 years ago from Singapore

Good one here! A lot of my concerns are mentioned in this Hub!

I cannot write with distractions, I need a quiet place.

But I like to people watch to get inspiration. Maybe to add on, with our tablets or iPhone, we could just sit at cafes, jotting down notes and then expand on the ones that have potential to be developed into a full article.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Singaporean, I keep a small notebook in my purse and write down notes when I'm away from my computer. I get ideas while out running errands or sitting at a restaurant.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Hi Pamela; I'm a freelance writer and I spend way too much time at home alone, writing. I live alone so I often don't speak to anyone but shop keepers for days at a time. At least the warm weather is coming so I can start my daily walks by the water and through the park again.

Rob


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Rob, it's a lonely profession but we can find ways to get out of the house so we don't feel so isolated. The winter time is worse.


Dr Kavita Shaikh profile image

Dr Kavita Shaikh 4 years ago from MUSCAT

Hey Pamela, awesome tips for work at home folks. I totally agree with you that just because we are at home does not mean we are not working and available. Voted up


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Dr. Kavita Shaikh, I've heard that story many times, not so much anymore since more realize I am working but some think you aren't productive unless you leave the house everyday.


Singaporean profile image

Singaporean 4 years ago from Singapore

thanks Pamela. Your post inspired me to write something about tools we need for mobile writing.

It encourages us to "go out and write". We can "go out", and still be self employed :)

I have not gotten much ($$) from my article writing, and I do hope i can learn more from you guys!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This is of great encouragement to me as a new writer. I wondered how other writers break up the routine and you have given me some great ideas. My future wish list includes a laptop so that I can go mobile. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Singaporean, I am old fashioned and still use pad and pen. I keep one by my bed so first thing in the morning or during the night if I have inspiration I can jot it down.

Teaches, I love my laptop because not only can I take it with me even on trips but I can move from room to room. I like being mobile.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

I sometimes do some work at home. It's not really productive if you have children running around. There are lots of disttractions - the bed is one, the TV is another. :)


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Jpcmc, there are many distractions when you work at home.


frantisek78 profile image

frantisek78 4 years ago

good hub. people really do need a balance when working from home. sometimes it can feel like you are always "at work"


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

That is true, Frantisek. Not only do we need to be self motivated but sometimes we work too much.


Fifty In 2012 profile image

Fifty In 2012 4 years ago from Springfield, MO

Great Hub! As someone who is venturing into the world of the self-employed, after 15 years of cube work, I need all the advice and help I can get!

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