As more and more remote workers seek a suitable work-life balance, the work from home alternative has become increasingly viable. Most freelancers view this as an opportunity to maintain all benefits associated with working with an established organization while enjoying all the pros of being based at home. But how can you start working from home? Whether you are a full-time home-based freelancer or one who prefers working from home occasionally, there are a few concerns that you should deliberate upon before setting up your workspace. Indeed, working from a home office is not for everyone.
So how can you start working from home and what are some key tips, ideas and skills needed?
1. Gain marketable skills
2. Create an ideal home-office
3. Market your brand
4. Deliver quality services or products to your clients
5. Follow-up: Establish an effective customer relationship strategy
6. Take a business approach to being a home worker – establish a company
Table of Contents
SUBSTANTIAL BENEFITS OF WORKING FORM HOME
Working from home is no longer a new trend. You must have realized that numerous companies prefer hiring freelancers to offer specialized skills that they might lack. Just like other trends, there are a few pros and cons related to working from home. Here are a few of them.
1. Proximity to Family
For most people, the convenience and comfort of working from home, coupled with the physical proximity to home and family, are tremendously attractive. For parents, particularly, it can be very appealing to know that you are close to your children should they need you for any reason.
2. Less Stress
The hustle of commuting through traffic at rush hours in many countries is counterproductive. In most cases, the bumper-to-bumper traffic leads to disgruntled workers who seem exhausted and worn out before they even begin the day. This is particularly true where the worker lives far from the office. Other stresses associated with common office premises include constant distractions, suboptimal work environment, and unfriendly coworkers.
3. Improved Work-Life Balance
A suitable work-life balance has become the ultimate aspiration for the modern professional. Such a balance can only be achieved and fine-tuned to satisfaction by forging a work-from-home arrangement.
Even though office distractions can be averted by working from home, different disruptions might arise from the same. Disturbances from neighbors, friends, children, and family may be quite disruptive. In this light, freelance workers should make special arrangements to make it known that you are working and thus unavailable for interruptions in spite of your physical presence.
2. Difficulty in Separating Work from Home Affairs
The urge to engage in house matters is often quite strong since you are at home. You might start to feel obliged to clean the room, cook some food, shop for some groceries, and socialize all while trying to meet your job requirements. It is critical to draw the line between work and home affairs to protect both areas from suffering.
3. Need for Self-discipline
Working from a home office is not for everyone; it takes a lot of self-control, discipline, and dedication to maintain concentration and persevere through the many distractions. Oftentimes, an arrangement where you can report to the office is recommended since it allows one to have close interaction with supervisors and colleagues. This will ensure that you remain up to speed with company developments while still enjoying the convenience and comfort related to working from home.
FREELANCER IDEAS AND TIPS FOR WORKING AT HOME
Freelancing presents a chance to work from home. Freelancing is different from running your own business since you do not have to hire other professionals to work for you. Additionally, the overhead costs associated with freelancing are much lower, and the capital requirements might be even more economical as compared to setting up a brick-and-motor business.
1. Freelance in your area of expertise
If you are still thinking of becoming a freelancer, you should select a field that enables you to take advantage of your skills. For instance, if you have enough knowledge in public relations, you can choose to write press releases for startup companies that cannot afford to run a PR department. Alternatively, you should consider a career as a PR consultant. Look into your field and try to see if there is a way to operate as a freelancer.
You will need to advertise once you begin freelancing. Indeed, successful freelancers are those that can effectively sell themselves. You may start with word of mouth and send applications to different remote opportunities. Some fields require insider contact to begin working, and it might take some time before you build to a desirable point.
3. Consider any tax implications
Prior to adopting the freelancing lifestyle, you will have to consider any tax implications related to the way of life. Consider setting aside your estimated taxes accrued over the first year; once you switch to full-time freelancing, you should remit your taxes quarterly.
4. Create an accounting system
Once work starts flowing in, you will have to set up an accounting structure that tracks your invoices and expenditures. Ensure that you maintain a clean record of your expenses so that you can subtract them before paying your taxes. Setting up an accounting system will not save you problems with the taxman but will also help you to manage the irregular flow of income akin to freelancing.
5. Plan for slow months
Successful freelancers always diversify their income, especially because they do not qualify for unemployment stipends if a client stops asking for your services. It is, therefore, essential to set up multiple income streams. Certainly, being proactive and continually looking for opportunities is part of being a successful freelancer. Most people, however, get burned out while doing this, and it forms one of the biggest challenges to freelancing.
KEY SKILLS A FREELANCER WILL NEED FOR WORKING AT HOME
Setting up your freelance platform can be fast and affordable, especially if you focus on offering services in a field that you are well versed with. Below are a few skills that a freelancer might find useful.
1. Programming and Web Design
In this information age, the demand for websites is high. While do-it-yourself web design courses have made it easier for some businesses to go online, many of them still do not understand the hassle of maintaining the site. Furthermore, some web functionalities require immense technical skill to create.
2. Freelance Virtual Assistant
The virtual assistant industry is thriving in this new crowdsourcing and outsourcing economy. Virtual assistants essentially provide administrative support to their clients. The tasks might include emailing, calendar management, research, customer support, and many more.
3. Freelance Writer
The need for excellent writers continues to grow as the world becomes more visual and digital. Freelance writing encompasses a wide range of work, including ghostwriting, copywriting, blogs, or online media.
Freelance writing presents the quickest way to start your freelance endeavors because it does not require any unique software. If you have access to a computer, a word processor, and the skill to communicate effectively through writing, you can get started right away.
4. Freelance Bookkeeper
Just like in marketing, numerous small business owners do not want the hassles associated with running an accounting department. Offering such skills can be lucrative if you have ample experience in bookkeeping. The modern bookkeeping freelancer should have ample knowledge in different accounting software, such as QuickBooks.
GETTING STARTED IS THE HARDEST PART
Just like learning a new skill, getting started as a freelancer is the hardest part. How do you get started if you have never tried it before? Below are a few tips.
1. Assess your experience and skills
At the very core of any thriving business is a skill that can solve problems. Acquiring such skills and then improving on them lies at the heart of any successful freelancer
2. Get into the real world
The most important thing for a freelancer is to get out and apply your skills. Training courses, books, and university lessons can be fine resources for earning the skills you need, but you might have to set the books aside and get your hands dirty eventually.
3. Market your brand
Tell as many people as you can that you hold particular skills they lack. Leverage the power of social media, signup for freelancing websites, find free online advertising space, guest blog, and so much more.
Working from home is no longer a new trend; it is, actually, a most viable alternative for the modern freelancer. Most freelancers view this as an opportunity to maintain all benefits associated with working with an established organization while enjoying all the pros of being based at home. This article addressed a few concerns, ideas, tips, and skills that you should deliberate upon before setting up your home office. However, you should realize that just like learning a new skill, getting started as a freelancer is the hardest part and that freelancing, in general, is not easy.