Have you always wanted to work from home but don’t really know how to start? How do you get work? Do you have clients or bosses? And what about money? Do you get paid monthly? Well, it all depends on what kind of relationship you wanna have with your customers. Are remote workers and freelancers the same thing? Nope. That also depends on the agreement you have with your customer or boss. So, how can you start working from home?
First Step – Choose one of the three most common ways to work from home.
1. Work from home as a remote employee / home-office
What do remote employees do? Well, they usually work for ONE specific company, performing exactly the same tasks they would at the office. This is the “safest” way to work from home. And with “safe”, I mean financially secure.
What are the advantages of working from home as a remote employee?
- You’re at home without having to renounce your financial security because you’re receiving your fix income at the end of every month.
- If your employer offers benefit packages, you’ll be able to keep them even working from home.
- You’ll usually get paid leave, which means that you can take a specific amount of vacation days without losing any money.
- You’ll usually be working in a team with other colleagues, and people to ask for help or just to meet at Christmas parties, for instance.
What are the disadvantages of working from home as a remote employee?
- Well, you’ll still have to attend meetings and conference calls, fill out reports, and meet company goals as any other regular employee would.
- You’ll have to stick with your company’s working hours. You can always try to negotiate some time flexibility, but working at fixed hours is something you’ll have to expect. And you’ll also probably have to be online during those hours. Take these time limitations into account if you have kids around, as your boss won’t likely like to hear a baby crying during a conference call. That happened to me once, and it was SO embarrassing!
- And the last disadvantage of having a home office would be that you won’t be able to decide on any strategies or changes, as you’re just an employee. But maybe that’s not important to you. You may just want to work at home, no matter what, and keep getting your paycheck at the end of the month. And that’s fine! Believe me, I get you! Who doesn’t want to work from the comfort of her home without having to worry about getting clients or something like that, right? Just make sure the company’s office hours work for you – if you want to keep the job!
Now, unfortunately, there are a ton of shady offers out there to make money from home and become a millionaire in a month or less. But if you really want to work from home, that shouldn’t stop you! I mean, there are shady offers for everything! Just be careful. You just have to be alert for any unprofessional signs:
Can’t you find any info about the company that wants to hire you? Are they asking you to make any payments for them? What kind of private info do they want from you? Aren’t they offering you a contract? These are all questions that should help you in case you’re wondering whether they’re legit or scum. Just use your common sense. So becoming a millionaire in one month? I don’t think so!
⇒ And that was the first way to work from home – as a remote employee.
2. Work from home as a freelancer
Now, this is what I do. As a freelancer, I don’t have any bosses, just customers, and I’m free to work for different companies or individuals who hire my services as a professional translator. As you can imagine, I’m more than happy with my freelancing – that’s why I called my blog Born to Freelance, right? But this isn’t something for everyone. Let’s see first what are the pros and cons of being a freelancer, and then talk about whether this would be something for you:
What are the advantages of working from home as a freelancer?
- The first pro would be that you are totally free to work wherever and whenever you want.
- Also, if you’re earning enough money, you’re going to have “salary” improvements automatically – without having to ask for a pay raise. More work equals more money.
- Another advantage of being a freelancer is that you are in complete control of your time. Would you rather work during office hours and enjoy the rest of the day? You can do it! Are you a night owl, and you´d love to spend the morning doing private stuff – and work late in the evening? By all means!
- Being in control of your time also means that – if you work productively -, you can either work fewer hours or earn more money. It all depends on your goal in life, right? Do you want more money or more time?
When I had no children, I wanted to earn as much as possible, so I would wake up very early, and I wouldn´t go to bed until my eyes closed on their own. But now, it’s different. My goal now is to use productivity in a way that I get more free time with my kids, but that´s just my choice! .You need to make yours!
- Another thing I love about freelancing is that you can – or have to – change hats as often as you please – it’s your company. You´re the boss. You can also search for help, take some tasks off – and do only what you really like to do. You can implement new strategies, and discard them if they don’t work. And all that without having to ask for permission! That is the problem of many companies out there, where you have to wait for this whole approval chain before a change is implemented – even if you’re 100% certain that it´s going to be a BIG improvement for the company! And that can be SO frustrating!
- Anyway, as a freelancer, you’re also location-free. That is, you can work from home, from a coffee shop, or the top of a mountain! It´s up to you! Just make sure that you deliver your work in a timely and professional way, and where you work from won´t matter to anyone!
Now, I’d like to explain something about this whole “work from wherever you want.” The image we all get when thinking about freelancers is this person traveling the world with a backpack and working from the beach, right? I’m sure you’ve seen more than one of these pics on Instagram or anywhere else. And although I LOVE the freedom of working while traveling, when you have a family, what matters most about location freedom – at least for me – is not its cool side.
Nope. When you have a family, what matters most about location freedom is its practical and human factors. Let me give you some examples here, and I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean. While I quit my job because I wanted to visit my parents – who were living in Spain while I was in Germany – when I really started seeing my freelancer life as a pure luxury was when I got pregnant. I could stay at home, with my feet up while working during the whole pregnancy! If I had morning sickness, nobody would actually notice! I just completed my job a couple of hours later, or the following day.
And then, when my baby girl was born, I WAS THERE. I adapted my work to her, and I like the thought that she adapted her rhythm to mine. When she started school, I didn´t have to miss a single thing! I could be there whenever she needed me. Or when she was sick and had to stay at home, well, there was mommy – with her laptop on her lap – sitting near her bed.
And yet, when I REALLY learned to appreciate my freelancing way of life was when my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. I’m not going to go deeper into this subject, but just let me say that I could be there with her. I worked on the couch at my mom’s, and I was also able to work at the hospital.
So when you hear “location-freedom” don’t just think of bloggers working at the beach, go a bit beyond and think how many times you would have liked to be there – but couldn’t because of work.
What are the disadvantages of working from home as a freelancer?
Now, I have to confess that freelancing also has a couple of cons. I´m not going to sugarcoat it, so let’s get to them:
- The first one is that you won’t have any fixed income. You’ll have to figure out a way to make money AND search for customers to get paid.
- You’re on your own, so you’ll have to take care of things you may not like. At least at the beginning, until you start outsourcing.
- You’ll have a lot of admin work. Unless you outsource administration & accountancy tasks, this is something you’d better keep in order.
- Each day you don’t work, is an unpaid day. You get no vacation and no sick days. So that´s something to consider. If you´re someone who doesn´t LOVE creating, planning, and strategies, freelancing might not be your best option.
⇒ So we have home-office or remote employees, we have freelancers, and there´s also an in-between option to work from home: full-time contractors.
3. Working from home as a full-time contractor
These are also freelancers who work for a client full-time. I will be honest upfront. And I know that I tend to be way too straightforward, but I gotta say that I don’t like this option at all. I’ve tried all three of them, and this is the one I like the least. Let me tell you why after we have a look at the pros and cons. First, the pros:
What are the advantages of working from home as a full-time contractor?
- You’re getting a fixed income at the end of the month although you´re working at home.
- You don’t have to keep searching for clients. You already have one.
- You won’t probably be part of any team, but you’ll still have coworkers you can ask for help.
What are the disadvantages of working from home as a full-time contractor?
- You’ll have to go with your company’s fixed working hours – although you could always try to negotiate more time flexibility.
- You may not get paid leave, no fixed-term contract, no benefit packages.
- You won’t be able to decide on any strategies or changes you’d like to implement in your company.
At first sight, this may look like the best option, right? Well, as I told you before, not for me! The reason is that – in my opinion – you get the worst from the 2 other options:
- First, you have fixed working times.
- Second, you don’t have social benefits.
- Third, you could be “fired” from one day to the other, as your contract isn’t going to be binding. And that means that, as you won’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, you’ll most likely search for other customers quicker than you think. And you know what happens then? Well, you’ll find yourself working full-time for your main customer while searching for other projects, communicating with those other customers, and also working for them “just in case”! But you don’t want your main client to know anything about it, so you won’t be able to perform your work for other customers at your – say – 9 to 5 working times, even if your main customer’s work could wait.
Long story short, you would more likely than not end up working a lot more than you thought – just out of fear of what would happen if you lost your main customer. Been there!!
However, if you were a “real” freelancer – on the other side -, you could tell any customer that you have no time right now; you could ask whether you could deliver a bit later. And they would usually understand it. You may even get the job with a later delivery date!
I think you know what my favorite option is… Right! I choose to work when and where I want 😉 But this is something very personal, which depends on your personality, your life situation and so many other factors! What do you say? What type of work-from-home lifestyle would you like to have? Why? Leave your comments below this post!
Second Step – Plan the steps to follow before you start working from home.
Now, if you only see yourself with a home office – if you remember, that was working as an employee, but from home -, your plan looks like applying for vacancies for remote employees. You’re not risking that much; you’re just switching jobs, right?
So we’re going to focus on freelancers and full-time contractors. Remember, full-time contractors were freelancers working full-time for one client. Most full-time contractors have to start somewhere, and they’re probably going to get some experience with – let’s say – “normal” customers, so let’s just treat them all as “freelancers,” alright?
Now, what do you have to plan? There are a couple of things you should have into account before starting an online business – never mind if you are working right now, or if you’re a stay-at-home mom.
First, you have to plan what products or services you’re going to offer. Do you know yet what your online business is going to be? How are you going to name it? Are you selling products or offering services?
Once you’ve figured it out, you’re going to plan your time. When are you going to start freelancing? How are you going to do it regarding timing? Are you going to start working on your business before you quit your job – or once you’ve already quit?
In that case, you’re going to need to plan your financial situation, right? Can you afford it to leave your current income while you find your first client? Or are you going to quit your job once you already have some customers – and your financial security looks better?
As you see, time and money are really interconnected here! But remember: You’re working from home, you’re not opening a restaurant, so your costs don’t have to be that high. Of course, if you’re going to sell physical products, the manufacturing & delivery costs are going to be there, so you may want to start with something digital instead of physical. Just a thought.
So when I talk about financial planning, I’m talking about the importance of planning how you’re going to build the gap between your current salary and your first freelance projects.
Also, how are you going to price your products or services? What is too cheap? What is too expensive? You want to make a living out of this business, so you don’t want to sell your product too short. But, on the other hand, if you price it too high, you may not have as many customers as you’d like to have, right? So you have to find the balance, that sweet point where you get enough projects without having the feeling that you’re working too much for too little money.
Once you’ve planned what your products or services are going to be, you’ve made some time- and money planning, and you’ve also figured out what your prices are going to be… Right, you need customers!
You still have the traditional – or let’s say “offline” – ways of finding customers, like networking, for instance, addressing your friends and acquaintances and offering them your new services, or you also could join professional associations.
But that doesn’t seem enough, right? I mean, you want to work from home – or wherever you want. You want to start an online business… So you’d rather be online! And what does it mean exactly? Well, that means that you gotta have your own online platform!! Whether you launch a website, a blog or a podcast, that is up to you. But you gotta have something!
So you have to plan how you wanna present yourself to the online world – your online presence. And for that, you also want to plan what your website or blog goal is, right? What’s the use of having a wonderful site full of flower pics if you’re selling language classes? And the other way around – I want to see a lot of pictures in your blog if you’re a professional photographer!!! See what I mean? It’s all about knowing what you want to do, why you want to do it, and planning it thoroughly.
Once you know what kind of online presence you want to have – let’s say you want to have a blog -, you’ll have to figure out what you want it to look like. Are you going for a girly pink? For a serious navy blue? Are you choosing a crazy color combination? What do you want your readers to feel like when they visit your blog?
This, my friend, is called branding. And this isn’t something you just show on your blog or website, but everywhere! And with everywhere, I mean website, business cards and everywhere you show online… Does social media tell you something?
Yep. You also want to plan and change your social media presence. ‘Cause social media is the most powerful, quickest, and cheapest way to make yourself known – and to let customers discover you!
You’ll have to figure out where you want to be, what you will share, and how often you will post on social media! And most importantly, how are you going to manage it all together, right? See, social media is a little bit dangerous because it mixes both your business and your private life. Depending on what your business is going to be, this might even be an advantage – but be careful not to share too much private stuff, if you don’t want your new customers to discover too much about yourself 😉
Third Step – Take action and start working from home.
If you aren’t completely overwhelmed yet, now it’s time to take action!
What’s the use in knowing what you have to plan – if you never plan a thing, right? Or maybe you do plan, but never ever implement what you’ve planned. So this step is all about taking action. About committing to yourself and start working on your new business.
Let’s start with some easy homework. I want you to write down what you’re going to do during the next 3 months in order to come closer to your goal of working at home.
So take a planner, or at least a calendar, consider all festivities at the end of the year, and write down when are you going to do what. Once you see it written, it will get more real, believe me!
And if you’re really committed to working from home, write it here as well. Leave me a comment at the end of this post with 3 main goals you’re going to accomplish these last 3 months in the year. 1 goal per month!
Search for a framework to get your business up and running, and stick to it. The easiest trap to fall into is following every new course or reading every new book you see. Now, don’t get me wrong – learning and reading are two of the best activities you can perform to start something new. However, try not to learn everything at the same time and – what’s even worse – without a plan.
I know what I’m talking about ’cause I’m the first guilty of watching a lot of webinars, free courses or even paid courses, without actually taking action to make them valuable.
You know, there’s so much info online, that it can get really overwhelming to start something on your own. It’s very hard to filter the important info from the meh-info. And that’s not the only problem. You may find relevant info, but you may not be there yet. It might be too advanced for you, so you find yourself looking for more info to understand that first thing you found. And how leaves us that but completely overwhelmed? As though we didn’t have enough things to do every single day! So earlier or later, we end up giving up. And that’s a shame!
⇒ That’s why I decided to create the Work at home Bootcamp as a place where you may arrive with many questions, but that’s OK because we’re starting from the very beginning. We’re taking little steps until we’re ready to start our online business – and even launch our website! And I say “we” are going to – because you’re the one who’s going to do the work. I’m going to offer you a helping hand so that you don’t even notice that you’re working, but you’ll have to go there and complete all the tasks you’re going to have. They’re fun tasks, AND they’re all about YOUR business. Anything you do for the Bootcamp, you’re doing it for your business.
What does the Work at Home Bootcamp offer?
We start figuring out what you want to do. What your business is going to be about, and you’re even going to fill out an incredibly easy business plan.
Then, you’re going to plan your time thoroughly. You’re going to know what you’re going to do every single day until the end of the year.
You’re also going to look at your finances in a way you’ve never looked at them before. And yes, you’re going to price your products and services.
After that, we’re going to dive into the beautiful world of branding – ‘cause you want your online presence to feel like you, right? And we won’t forget about social media either!
And once you’ve got everything ready, you going to join a 7-day workshop to launch your website or your blog for free! Do you think that can’t be that easy? Join the Bootcamp, and you’ll see! I’m going to be there helping you out in every step of the way. ‘Cause the problem of working on your own… well, is that you’re on your own. But not this time. So, if you think this is something you’d like to take part in, join the Bootcamp and enjoy the ride! I’d love to see you there!
Just imagine what your life would look like if you worked from home!