Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Freelancing & Working From Home - The Benefits and Disadvantages

So, you want to make a career change, but you don't want to go and work for a stuffy corporate organisation again. You're not suited to the cubicle life and being bossed around. But at the same time you don't want to set up your own business and take on all of the responsibility that that brings.

So what do you do?

Have you considered freelancing? This is a good option for someone who doesn't enjoy working in a structured environment with a boss constantly looking over their shoulder.

Freelancing means that you will self-employed, your own boss, but still get your work flow from organisations - you could say it offers the best of both worlds. This is true, but only for someone who can actually work well on their own and keep motivated that way.

Below are some of the benefits and disadvantages of being a freelancer and working from home. Consider all of these before you decide to make the leap.


You can be your own boss

There's no one to boss you around and tell you what to do except yourself.

You can take holidays without having to negotiate with the whole department

Your time is your own - you decide if and when you take time off. You can work hard one week so that you can ease off on another. It's flexible and up to you.

You can earn good money when working on short term projects

If you work on a contractual basis, take on temporary roles or work solely on specific projects you will find it is a much more lucrative way to work.

You decide on your working environment and how it's going to operate

You can work from home: in your nice comfy home office, on the sofa, even in a funky caravan in the garden if you like. You can wear what you like, start when you like, take breaks when you like. Joy!

And following on from this: No more office politics!

No more walking on egg-shells around that moody manager from finance, no more office gossip, back-stabbing or sucking up. You can just relax, be yourself and get on with it.

The Disadvantages

You can be your own boss

Hang on, that's a good thing, isn't it? Well, yes it is, but only if you are good at being your own boss and keeping yourself motivated, disciplined and free from distraction.

And following on from this: It's all your responsibility now

You can't hide within an organisation anymore - you are the salesperson, the marketing department, customer service, everything. Success or failure - the buck stops with you. You must be able to deal with that and have the confidence to take on all of the aspects involved in being a successful freelancer. The best advice I can give here is when you are deciding what work to do, do something that you really believe in, and something you know you can do well, that way things like sales and marketing yourself will feel authentic and come naturally.

You need to be good at time-management

Just because you are at home, you must be careful not to stay in 'home' mode when you are working. For this reason some people actually prefer to dress smartly and have a proper desk at home. You don't have to do this, but just be careful you don't get sucked into doing household chores to avoid a boring project, for instance. Have a clear agenda of what needs to be achieved every day, how long it will take and then stick to it. It's also wise to inform people that just because you are at home doesn't mean you are available for tea, coffee, chats all day long - unless you want to and you have the time of course!

Lack of work

You may earn good money when you are working, but freelancing inevitably means that work will be up and down - sometimes you will be busy and sometimes things will be quiet. You must be good at budgeting to see yourself through the quiet times. And almost more importantly, you must be able to handle it mentally - it can be tough when you don't know where your next pay cheque is coming from.

So, do you still think freelancing is the route for you? Whatever you decide is fine, just make sure whatever you do, you do it with your eyes wide open. Good luck!

If you are struggling to figure out where to go next with your career, perhaps working with a life coach would help you? It's a great way of clarifying what you really want to do, and then keep you motivated to achieve it.

Bebhinn O'Loingsigh is a Life Coach at Hightail Coaching Solutions. She works with professionals who feel unfulfilled, stuck in a rut, or burnt out and want to make some big life changes.

Whether you want to take a career break to get a fresh perspective, change your career, start your own business or completely overhaul your life, Bebhinn can coach you through the process and out the other side.

Visit her website now for lots more articles and information on how she can help you - http://www.hightailcoaching.co.uk