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Do you have what it takes to be a freelancer at home?

Updated on August 24, 2011

So you think you want to work from home

In the 2008 Census five point nine million persons reported that their home were their principal place of employment. While the rest of the workforce plunge ahead daily working for someone else, there are many that would rather be self-employed but fear taking the steps involved to be successful at it. So the question is asked, What does it take to successfully work from home as a freelancer?

The Set Up

A home office is the most important part of working from home. There must be an adequate work space and storage space for your tools of the trade. For some who have no dedicated room for a home office have converted a closet or large wardrobe to be their office. Some writers have a designated a corner in their kitchen, and others create an office in their garages. No matter where it is decided to put the home office, there must be a area where work can be done peacefully and without interruption. The proper equipment must be there in the office area along with a way to close out distractions.

When The Bucks Stop

Money is a definite consideration when you must depend on your own labors for your income. There generally is not a dependable amount of money one can count on getting from month to month. There will be some clients that will pay on time and others that will wait 90 days to pay and that’s if they actually pay. This can really damper the work at home person from paying their bills and even putting food on the table. With that in mind when the money does come the successful work at home freelancer will need to be wise about spending and plan for those times when the dough isn’t rolling in. Budgeting will be critical as well as having an emergency fund.

For a lot of work at home freelancer’s health insurance is unheard of. Insurance however is important for one’s career and personal insurance such as health and life. Protecting ones tools of the trade is important as well. Counting the cost of protecting your business is crucial. One can purchase too much insurance so it’s best to consult with an Insurance Broker and find out what are the best options for your family and business.

Great video on financial help

Free On-Line Bookkeeping for Self-Employed

The Matter of Children

What to do with the Kids

Children can become quite the dilemma when a person wants to work from home. But there are options in dealing with this situation. If the children are not of school age where hours of quite time can be spent at home then looking into part time daycare may be a great option to consider. There are many agencies that provide part-time daycare. Many neighborhoods have private daycares that take in part-time children.

If sending ones child to daycare at such a young age is not something a person is comfortable with, hiring a part time nanny is another great option. With this option there will be a person in the home while you work who is entertaining your children in the safe comfortable environment so that the stay at home freelancer can keep surveillance on their children but also have the quiet to accomplish their freelance work. Rules however have to be established that interruptions during work time are for emergency only.

No interruptions means NO.

Distractions easily happen when friends and family know a person works from home. They will try to make their emergency’s yours. “Can you pick Billy up from school, his teacher called?” “How about going to that book signing with me?” “I’m bored let’s go catch a matinee.”

It’s hard to be tough but it is extremely necessary if work is going to get done. With freelance work, no work means no money. Sometimes a person can be their own worst enemy when it comes to distractions. Baking a cake or going out to that new restaurant is of course more fun than buckling down and getting some work done. The television and even the internet can obstruct ones focus if allowed to. But there are some things a freelancer can do to keep themselves in focus and productive.

How to be a Productive Freelancer

Create and keep a schedule.

A freelancer will need to approach the work at home career similar to working a nine to five jobs, but with benefits. One must establish what days and hours will be most productive for whatever line of work is being done. Once this is done the number of hours per day needed to be spent on all tasks must be known and adhered to. When assigning time to tasks it is important to give yourself a bit of a leeway. Adding 15 to 30 minutes to allow for technical difficulties or interruptions may be a time and money saver in the long run as far as client expectations. Also, don’t be afraid to let your clients know you’re hours of operation so that they don’t infringe on your personal time.

A time for everything and everything in its time.

There are many things outside of one’s actual job that needs to be considered. Personal time to do things like shower, fix bed, exercise, prepare and eat meals for self and family and family pets who might even need to be walked. Setting aside time to check personal e-mails and return personal calls will need to be set for none work time. Establishing breaks so as not to burn out or just to re-energize will be a good thing to consider and integrate as well. Time for taking care of the organizational aspect of the job such as invoicing, bill paying, post office mailing, returning business calls and e-mails (check voice and e-mails around 3 times during the day) will be a good practice, to be considered and established.

Get ready! Get set! Go!

Go where? Knowing what you are to do each week is imperative knowledge. This is where goal setting comes to play. At the end of each weekend, on Sunday night, the successful freelancer plans the week. They look at what needs to be done and prioritize the responsibilities. Writing steps down or even breaking down duties so as not to be found at deadline, cramming and rushing to get the job done. At the end of each day, before going to bed, taking 10 minutes to look over the next day’s schedule so that one is not caught off guard.

Scheduling help for Bloggers

How to be a productive Freelancer (cntd.)

Isolation can be one’s enemy

A successful freelancer knows when to relax. Though one can be more productive working a seven day work week, doing so in the long run can have the reverse effect. The body needs to rest and have entertainment. Reading e-mails and updating Facebook may indeed be fun but actually leaving the home is what the mind needs. Visiting with friends and family or joining Work From Home Meet Up group will refresh the mind and body for another week of work. Have a place to go and things to do that keep work fresh for you.

In conclusion, what it takes to be a successful freelancer is planning, perseverance and hard work. Work and family balance is a must. Having what you need to be a hustler to gain clients without letting the client and responsibility toward them take control of your life. When a person can balance all of these aspects of freelance work from home, then success with thusly follow.

Best Wishes


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    • Carlon Michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Carlon Michelle 

      7 years ago from USA

      You're welcome Alissa. I'm glad you found it useful. Smile!

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 

      7 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Great info in this hub for wanna be writers like me. I am just getting into this whole writing world but I must say I am really enjoying it so far :) Thanks for sharing this one - great job, voted up and useful!


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