I have been working from home as a freelance writer for just under five years now. I love every minute of it, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Before I started working from home, I worked in various offices, in the areas of marketing, communication and law. While I had good experiences in these offices, learned a lot and met great people, I would not choose to go back.
Working from home as a self-employed writer has improved my life in a number of ways. I am someone who enjoys working alone on a project, from the comfort of my own space, so it is absolutely perfect for me. I also enjoy being able to listen to my own music and take breaks when I need them. Working from home also allows me ideal work/life balance.
Is freelancing or another type of self-employment something that you’ve been thinking about trying? I for one highly recommend looking into it, as there are many benefits to self-employment you may not have thought of. The following are just ten of the many.
Note: I am writing this from the perspective of a work-from-home freelancer. I realize that there are many types of self-employment, some of which this article may not apply to fully. I write what I know — hopefully, other fields get some use out of this, as well.
Making your own schedule is ideal
You know yourself, so you know what kind of schedule works best for you. Maybe your mind does not fully wake up until about noon, but in the evenings, you’re lightning fast. Maybe you’re great in the morning, but need a brain break in the afternoon before continuing in the evening. Maybe you can’t work Mondays because of various commitments. Everyone’s preferred schedule is different.
If you work for someone else, chances are, you don’t have much say in your schedule. You may have some flexibility, depending on your job, but the manager or owner is the final authority on what hours you can work. This may mean you have to juggle your life around your work schedule. When you’re self-employed, you can schedule your work hours to synchronize with your personal life, so there’s less conflict.
You can make time for your loved ones
So many people around the world are so busy working long hours that they rarely get time to see their families, let alone spend significant quality time with them. I am a firm believer in work-life balance, and I make a point to treat personal time and family time as important commitments. Scheduling time with your family (and some time for yourself) is key to both mental health and happiness.
If you are self-employed, you won’t be at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. Therefore, you can choose to work during hours that work for your family — hours that allow you plenty of time to enjoy life with them.
You don’t have to dress up
I have to admit that I don’t miss dressing up in business casual attire. I like working in shorts and a tee shirt, it’s comfy.
… but you can dress up if you want
If you work at home like me, and you really want to be Wonder Woman or Batman for the day, you can do that. You can work all day as a secret superhero and no one will be the wiser. Imagine the possibilities.
Note: This may not work if you have to meet with clients or contractors either in person or on a video Skype call. They’ll catch onto your secret pretty quickly.
You can take a longer lunch
Having to rush through lunch is a chief complaint at many offices and other types of workplaces. When you work for yourself, you can take your time to eat mindfully, and really savor your meal. Depending on the schedule you set for yourself, you may even have time to cook something fun. Not stressing through lunch really does make a difference.
You can bounce ideas off your pets
My cats are very helpful editors of ideas. No one gives a disapproving “try harder” gaze quite like a cat.
No one can steal your coffee
I have free reign over the coffee pot and can make more coffee whenever I wish, to the strength I require. No anonymous coffee thieves here.
You can keep active even if you work at a desk
Sitting at a desk all day can be draining, and it’s really bad for your health. Since my work does involve all day at a desk, because I work from home, I can take exercise breaks. I stand up and stretch often throughout the day — several times an hour — and I take short breaks to exercise a couple times a day.
When it’s nice outside, I walk outside in the sun. When it’s not, burpees and jumping jacks are a great option.
You can get outside
Speaking of getting outside in the sun, this really is one of my favorite benefits of self-employment. I can work near my own sunny, open window, and I can go outside for a few minutes during the workday when I need to. I also walk my son to and from school, so I get plenty of fresh air and sunshine then. All of this outside time would likely not be possible if I was not self-employed in my profession.
You can dance when the need arises
Seriously, just get up and do it. I dance in my kitchen. It helps pump me up for work and life and everything. At an office, I would not be nearly as comfortable doing this. Dancing is good for sanity.
Are you self-employed? What other benefits have you found?
— Tanya Mead