Category: Working from Home

Common Misconceptions About Working from Home

I love working from home about 99% of the time, so this post isn’t so much biased, as it is completely hypocritical. But I won’t deny that there are moments when I think.. well, that didn’t go quite how I thought it would. In fact, most of the dreams and fantasies I had about working from home full time (full time as in 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week), are completely false.

I have always been someone who wanted nothing more than to work from home, though writing really wasn’t what I thought I would be doing. There were a lot of reasons, but mostly because I’m lazy and the thought of getting up to go to work every day sounded like hell, and it was. Plus, I’m an introvert, so being a freelance writer is literally the best thing that could have happened to someone like me.

Now that I have been doing it for over 3 years (as of 2014), I consider myself an expert at pointing out all the exaggerated visions of working in your pajamas, sleeping until noon, and getting to make your own schedule.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about working from home:

You can make your own hours. This was one of the biggest perks for me, as I envisioned staying up until 2 or 3 am and enjoying the days for running errands, walking my dogs, sleeping late, and lounging around the house. Yeah, not so much. You work when you have work. So while some days, you have the work ahead of time and can technically do it when you want, the majority of freelance writing has very specific deadlines and it is assigned during random times throughout the day. That means being available almost 24/7 to accept it.

You can work in your pajamas. Technically this is true, but there are multiple drawbacks. First of all, it takes forever to throw on a bra and look somewhat decent when someone rings your doorbell at 10 am. Second, it is really hard motivating yourself to “work” when you don’t at least change out of what you wore to bed. Now yoga pants, you definitely wear.

You get to sleep in. Again, maybe you do get to sleep in, but it didn’t work out that way for me. After years of waking up at 5-6 am every morning for work, my body got used to this schedule, as did my dogs. I still wake up by 6 every single morning, whether I want to or not. If I don’t, my dogs jump on my face until I give up this fantasy of sleeping in until noon.

You will have more free time. Will you? Do you think the only reason you never seem to have time is because you work outside your home? Nope. I have less free time now than I ever did with my out-of-house job. When you work from home, your home becomes your office. Which means every time you are at home, you feel the need to be working. It’s unavoidable.

It will be easier to diet. LOL. This might be just me. I used to think eating a healthy diet would be easier at home, because I have access to my kitchen and don’t need to worry about bringing something to work that I can put in the microwave. I may not be tempted by vending machines, but I eat just as shitty as I did when I was a diamond grader.

You can work anywhere. Because I am a freelance writer (and not a customer service rep relying on being near a phone or other office equipment), I can technically bring a laptop to wok anywhere I want. When you are working around 12-14 hours a day, sitting on your bed or couch starts to get physically painful. You WILL end up working at a desk just like a normal office job just to save yourself from severe physical pain. I learned this the hard way.

With that being said, I am thankful every day for the opportunity to earn a living from the comfort of my house. But it definitely has its challenges, so consider them before you quit your job and just go for it.

JennSig

My Top 6 Accomplishments as a Freelance Writer (So Far)

This post is from 2014. I think.

After about four years of freelance writing and ghostwriting, I have managed to get mediocre success and gain some accomplishments I am quite proud of. Here are the top six.

1. Finding Private Clients

From what I can tell, a lot of freelance writers start the same way I did; with content mills. While they are great for getting your feet wet, learning proper grammar and sentence structure, and building your portfolio, it wasn’t the end goal for me. In the beginning, I just wanted to earn a living writing from home. Before too long, though, I wanted more for what I put into it. I consider my private clients a big accomplishment because they chose me out of others they considered to handle their writing projects, and I was able to escape the content mill tornado of chaos.

2. Finishing NaNoWriMo. Twice.

This is more for the inner creative writer in me. My “novels” were terrible, but I finished, and that’s the point. They call it literary abandon for a reason. NaNoWriMo is a challenge that happens every November for 30 days, where you attempt to write a 50,000-word novel, story or novella. “Winning” Nano means you finished your 50,000 words in 30 days. To some, this seems incredibly difficult, and to others, incredibly easy. If you’re like me and write a good 10,000 words daily for your job, it doesn’t seem that hard. However when it comes down to it, it takes a lot of dedication to find the time and energy to write this month when you’re still trying to live your life.

I have attempted Nano for the last 3 years: the first year I failed miserably, the second year I finished in only 14 days and this past year I finished with only about 2 days to spare.

3. Being Referred by Other Clients and Writers

All creative types want validation, and this is why I love being referred. Not only have these fellow writers or clients paid me to work for them, but they referred me to others. About half the clients I have right now are from other clients who happened to know someone that needed a writer. Networking works!

4. Making a Full-Time Income

That is the goal, right? When I first started writing a few years ago, I may have had dreams of doing it full time, but realistically, didn’t think it was plausible. When it did become a reality, I was ecstatic. This was actually my job. My real job. I could actually call myself a “writer” though I rarely do. Even on days when I just want a break or a paid day off or to not sit in front of a computer 12 hours a day, I try to remember that this is the dream. This is what I wanted to be doing.

5. Calling Myself a Writer

Speaking of using that 6-letter word, I still struggle with it. If someone asks me what I do for a living, I say I write, but I don’t say I’m a writer. Why? No clue. It’s one of those words that feels strange coming out of my mouth. But it’s still an accomplishment, because I can say I’m a writer, that’s what I do. I may not be a novelist, but I get paid for putting words together.

6. My First Article on Yahoo! Shine

It’s easy to be published by Yahoo! Contributor Network (No Longer Around, FYI), but when you get into the special areas of the site, it’s a whole different ballgame. At one point a few years ago, the site was asking for requests for their different sections. I submitted this article and it was approved. At the time, it felt like a big deal since I made it off the contributor floor and onto the actual official Yahoo! floor. It’s a little embarrassing going back and reading my writing from those days, but still something I’m proud of.

Looking forward, there is a lot more I want to do, but it’s nice reflecting on the successes you have already had. Happy writing!

JennSig

How I Got Started as a Freelance Writer

When I’m not attempting to take mediocre pictures of whatever makes me happy during the day, or spending hours on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, I write. Like for a living. People pay me for it. And since I get dozens of questions about it from dozens of people, I thought I would start with how I got started in the first place.

Learning to Write

I am not college educated, nor did I take special classes for writing. I simply taught myself, read a lot, and followed tips from other writers. I started at the bottom and worked my way up, learning as I went along. And I still have a lot more to learn.

Writing as a Hobby

I began, like so many other online writers do, on Yahoo! Contributor Network. I would link to it, but it’s long gone, dead, buried, and probably rotting by now. At the time, I was working full time as a diamond grader and simply wrote little articles in my spare time. I just wanted to add to the money I was making at my day job, and absolutely did not expect to be doing it full time. Plus to be honest, I was just curious if I could do it.

I recommend starting out with your own blog, then beginning to submit work for a site that lets you submit anything you want, instead of having assignments. It’s been years since I have worked for content sites, so unfortunately I don’t even know good ones that are around. I still think going with a blog is best, since you have published posts you can use as samples for potential clients.

Writing More, Working Less

Near the end of 2010, I found myself becoming highly involved in writing and not caring much about my diamond grading job anymore. There were a lot of changes at the company I worked for, causing me to lose interest. This was after about six months of writing articles, after which I began looking for other places to write. I then was researching “upfront pay” jobs, where you get a set amount for each article or blog post, as opposed to being paid by views, which is how Yahoo! worked for most of what you submit.

This is how I stumbled upon another content site that is also rotting underground.. Demand Media Studios (DMS). They were a “content mill” that paid writers per piece that was approved. You basically select from a pool of articles, research and write based on the title of the article, submit and wait for it to be approved. I liked the pay rate, I liked the easy topics, and I loved that they paid twice a week. At the time, I had no idea it would only be around for another few months, but it was one of the main reasons I quit my job.

Quitting My Job and Moving On

Now looking back, almost 7 years later, I realize this was a mistake. Not so much that I made the decision, but because I did it on a whim. I have a tendency to act on impulse, usually without common sense, and I literally went in one day and said “I Quit. Bye.” At the time, I was making more per article than I was in an hourly wage at my job. So I thought it made sense.

The first few months were good, but then DMS went to shit and I found myself without a job. The next year was rough, I won’t lie. But it all came around and I am still doing the same thing, with a lot more stability.

From Content Mills to Private Clients

Every writer wants to have private clients. Content mills are fine in the beginning, but most of us move on because of the restrictions, the inconsistent editing tactics, and the low pay.

Since you’re not here to read a novel on my entire writing career, I will tell you this: freelance writing is hard work. It takes a lot of dedication, motivation, and a LOT of hours in front of a computer. I would say I spend at least 12-16 hours at my desk. Every day. 7 days a week. Weekends, holidays, birthdays. I don’t get sick days and I don’t get vacations. In return, I get to work my own hours (sort of) and am able to work from home, which is something I have always wanted to do.

This post is from 2013/14, and I now no longer work for private clients, but for myself instead 🙂 Check the newer posts on this blog for what I do now.

JennSig