Is Location Freedom Really Worth It?
Want to know what it is like to work from home? It sucks. One of the top reasons why I wanted to pursue my own business was to have the ability to work from anywhere. When I worked at my corporate job I really loved working from home. It was exciting to not have to put on my work costume ( khaki's and a shirt lol ) and eat cereal on my couch while I worked. I always pictured freelancers galavanting in the sun with a glass of (wine or lemonade, you get the picture) while type type typing on their laptop. Fast forward to almost two years in and I've made some realizations about having location freedom....
1. When you work from home, your "walk into the office" atmosphere is different. If someone in your house wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, your work days starts off chaotic. So let's say (INSERT GRUMPY PERSONS NAME HERE) wakes up in a mood because they can't find something, or they are just tired and cranky. This now becomes your office environment for the next few minutes. I will tell you from experience it is VERY difficult to get into your creative flow when someone is yelling " I can't find ______, Where is my _____, Did you move my _______". It just screws up your day.
2. If you have kids, you will undoubtedly be interrupted. If you have a spouse that acts like a kid, then yes, same thing goes. It's so hard for families to realize the work from home parent is not available. I have never had an office as our house is teeny tiny. I work from the couch, a desk in the living room or upstairs to escape the noise. I've always been known to work on the deck while my daughter plays with her sandbox. It works but it doesn't stop the barrage of questions which I felt I missed out on in my previous job. I really longed to be my daughters full-time caretaker, I just had no idea it was so hard! Point is, life doesn't stop for you to work from home.
3. House Chores Suck. Yes they become part of your work to do list. That is unless you are wealthy enough to hire someone to do them for you. The house somehow seems to get more dirty because I am home. Insert family members who think you are home all day doing nothing and you start to feel crappy if you don't do housework all day with your regular work. You have to keep those negative thoughts in check or you will drive yourself insane.
4. Insert big life event here. Whatever revolves around your home life will absolutely begin to seep in to work. If you have to move, which I recently did, it will distract your work. Yes you can take off work whenever you want but have you ever moved and had a definitive start and finish? I have boxes around me and still need to clean our old house. I have to concentrate on work while these boxes stare me in the face and say "OPEN ME, PUT ME AWAY LADY". The best part of all of this is that we are moving to TWO temporary homes while we move to our permanent location. Again, I love location freedom because I can still generate income but I do not like all the distractions. And making sure you have a good internet connection? Fuuugetaboutit. You better have two backups or you will go broke.
5. Being alone, sometimes sucks. It does, I won't lie AND I'm an introverted quiet person. Sometimes having a person to chit chat with saves your sanity. I resort to IM'ing my BFF Berriz or one of my other really good friends to catch up on life. It's nice when they say hey how/where are you and you get to reply. Oh I'm at the library working, or at so and so cafe. Sounds glamorous right? Oh don't forget to tell them the internet connection is so slow you can't move your files and that the creepy dude next to you is taking cell phone shots of your feet. No Cube Walls = More strange things happen. It makes for great conversation but not for a great mindset when trying to get some damn work done.
6. Stress is different at home. You have distractions, money fluctuations, lack of health insurance/benefits and other things to contend with. My biggest issue at my corporate job was that the dude next to me told really bad jokes. I always disliked working for "the man" but in reality, the man paid me every two weeks on time. Being a work at home freelancer, who supports my family on my entire income along means my stress is about 1000% more than it was in Corporate America.
Sometimes I have to ask myself, "Now is all of this worth it just to have a little location freedom?".....I don't know if I am ready to answer that just yet.