While I was getting ready for work this morning (getting an adequate amount of caffeine), I was trolling through my email (part of the caffeination process here) and found Christine Hoskin‘s discussion on the pros and cons of self-employment. If you think working from home is for you, take the time to read this–it’s a realistic presentation of both sides of the work-from-home scenario–a thought-provoking post.
Working from home is attractive, but can you really do it? It’s important to have assessed yourself carefully for ability to work this way–how do you react to three days with only the cat for company? (Discussing that plan with a friend who knows you well can help if you’ve never taken an online class or been a telecommuter.) Can you control that tendency to be distracted from your work by the glimpse of a dust bunny lurking in the corner? Can you manage so that you get your work hours in?
I have to cultivate a mindset that says “work”! So even though it’s an extremely short commute , I get ready by doing the usual things you’d do before starting a commute: drink coffee, brush teeth, take shower, drink coffee, get dressed, etc. The good part is that getting dressed can be putting on a fresh pair of sweats if you want, and caffeine is readily available, but I’ve got a “work” attitude.
Can you put you work aside when you’ve achieved you goal for the day? That is equally important as being able to get a reasonable day’s work in. One of the most difficult things for me was to learn not to try to work 24/7! You can’t be really productive and creative if you have a raging case of burn-out. True, there are times when you’re faced with a deadline that you HAVE to do 24/7. But when that’s over, take a day off. Learn to pay attention to your mental as well as physical needs.
I’m definitely an introvert, but I find that I need to make myself check out the world outside my home once in a while–I need to plan activities with friends periodically. That trip to the grocery store where you really don’t interact with anyone but the checkout person really doesn’t qualify. As an introvert, I think my social life has benefited from self-employment/working from home–I have more control over when I interact with people. The stress of enforced interaction (e.g. course lectures) has been removed.
I love Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Twitter (need to learn more about using that one) for providing interaction with friends (indexers and otherwise), but I think it’s important to have face-to-face interactions too.
Virtual interaction with others works so much better if you have had face-to-face contact, so attending professional meetings is important. I’m looking forward to this year’s ASI conference in Seattle WA where I’ll get to refresh face-to-face contacts that are maintained by email and social media between times. Register for that conference!
Once you think you’ve enough work scheduled to make the jump from part-time to full-time indexing, it can be almost frightening to hand in that resignation letter–but it feels great when you’ve taken that leap of faith. Then someone cancels a job, and you’re chewing you fingernails for a bit. Then you get an unexpected repeat job from a client and you can relax again–you have to tolerate the uncertainty and that can be hard.
Another thing you have to remember is that you’re it–no one to CYA. You do everything associated with your business–dust the computer, empty the trash, keep up hardware, update software, marketing, etc. You can’t let those things slide either. If you don’t take care of those as well as writing those indexes, you’ll lose the good parts of working from home!
Now, back to indexing!