If you’ve been following this series on working from home over the past 11-or-so weeks, you might be thinking, “Working from home sounds like a great option for me. But when should I start? I don’t know if I’m ready, or if now is the right time.”
The truth is, there will never be a “perfect” time. I considered waiting on working from home until I earned my English degree. I also thought that perhaps I could better focus on developing a work-from-home career once all my children were in school. Perhaps you’re busy planning for your teenagers’ graduation, or you are still in school. Maybe you are waiting until you have enough money saved up enough to quit your present job. Or it simply does not feel like the stars are in alignment; things don’t seem to be lining up in your life.
The pins will never all be lined up perfectly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an awesome strike.
So when should you start? Start when your heart tells you, “Now is the time.” Yes, you need to factor in logistical and practical aspects. You need to count the costs. You definitely need to first decide that working from home is what you want to do and you have the skills to match your desire. But don’t be afraid to take that first step, whatever it might be for you. Don’t hesitate to get your feet wet.
This doesn’t mean you have to jump in with both feet. As people often tells aspiring writers, actors or artists, “Don’t quit your day job.” You might have to double task for a while – making strides with your work-from-home career while maintaining employment. During that time, you probably can’t give your working-from-home venture eight hours a day, or even four hours a day. Do what you can. Start by researching your options, reading books on the topic, talking with people who have worked in your niche and know how to succeed.
Start out small, but start somewhere. With something.
Many people have a website or blog where they claim they tried some particular work-from-home venture and found that you can go from a 0-60K income in a matter of three months and enjoy holidays on the shore of some pristine Caribbean Island while managing minimal work from your handy laptop (or tablet or iPad or iPhone). You’ll notice that they don’t post pictures of their many vacations. Even if they are telling the truth, those lucky people are few and far between. If you’re attempting to work from home for fast money, you will likely be disappointed.
However, if you’re looking to work from home because you found that you can do something you love from home while caring for your children or looking after an elderly parent, you will likely find the perfect work-from-home career. If money is your motive, it’s probably not worth it. If purpose or a passion is your motive, you are probably on the right road. If you have an absolutely awesome plan to go with it, great!
Follow the path and see where it leads.
Work-from-Home Lesson Eleven:
If you are wondering when to start taking steps toward a work-from-home venture, do not wait until everything is perfect. Start somewhere, with something. You will learn as you go, and discover that there really is a lot to learn. Have fun learning. Enjoy the journey. Yes, it involves work, but as they say, “If what you do is what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
This post concludes my summer series on working from home. Thanks for reading, and stayed tuned. Another series coming soon! If you missed the previous posts, scroll down, because (nearly) every Tuesday this summer, I posted about a lesson I learned from writing and editing over the past four years.
If you’re looking for an editor or ghostwriter, or are interested in finding a writing or work-from-home coach, please get in touch. I have over ten years of experience in writing and editing, over four years of experience in working from home, and I would be happy to hear from you. I am also writing a work-from-home e-book. If you would like to be notified when the book is complete, please contact me through the form below and I will let you know when it is available.]
It was my 20th Elance editing project, a book on relationships with a self-help premise. My client had mentioned in the job description that this was the second time she had posted it because it hadn’t worked the first time around with the editor she had chosen. I took on the project, told the author I would have it completed by Monday, and got to work. As I had mentioned to her the completion date, I didn’t bother to send an update on Saturday. Big mistake. Early the next morning, I saw a message from my client. She mentioned that she assumed I was not taking the project seriously since I hadn’t gotten in touch, and to please return the manuscript, as she would find someone else.
Woah. I took a few minutes to figure out how to respond. Then I replied that I was only 25 pages from the end of the manuscript, and that I would be happy to send it as is, but would prefer to finish the editing, it. I apologized for not communicating earlier, and that I had been fully engaged in the editing project.
She responded within a few hours, with an apology of her own. She asked me to excuse her neurotic reaction [her words]. She mentioned that she had a couple bad experiences, and was wary about lending her work out to freelancers.
I completed the project, and she gave me a five-star review and positive feedback.
You would have thought I’d learn by that experience, but it was repeated a couple years later. This time, the woman did not communicate in advance. She simply found another editor and informed me after the fact. With this project, I had completed an initial edit and returned the manuscript to her. I let her know that I would go through it a second time, because the first time was substantive editing, so the second time, I was going to do a finer line edit. I was two days overdue in communicating back with her, and during that time she found another editor. I sent her the re-edited manuscript, which was roughly 80% complete, and did not charge her for the time spent on it. (She had already paid for the first round of edits.) I was disappointed in myself for not having communicated and kept the event from happening.
Once I get into my work, I don’t feel like pulling my mind out of it to communicate about it. In other words, when I’m plowing through an editing or writing project, I don’t feel I’m accomplishing anything by writing about what I’m doing … I would prefer to just get it done. But communication is important, especially as a freelancer with a new client for every project. Some prefer more communication. Some are happy to see the manuscript at the end and place their stamp of approval on it.
Since there is no way of knowing in advance what kind of client I have, I have learned to mention communication in my initial proposal. I state that I usually send a status report at the end of the week, but if they want more frequent updates, please let me know. I have not had issues since I started doing this.
If you have received an email or Facebook message from me, if you notice that my notes seem wordy, or that I tend to over-explain an issue, now you know why. I would rather over-explain than cause misunderstanding down the line. Sometimes I’ve been on the waiting end, wondering what is happening with a letter I’ve sent or a manuscript I’ve submitted. It’s disconcerting at times not to know what’s happening (call me neurotic). :)
The Bible tells us, “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” I’m not sure of the background for that verse, but it is at times a sacrifice to communicate. It takes time. But, generally speaking, communicating doesn’t hurts, and it usually helps. Especially if you work from home as a freelancer.
Work-from-Home Lesson Nine:
When you have a writing or editing project, try to determine in advance how often your client would like to hear from you. Then “neglect not to communicate.” It’s well worth the sacrifice. You don’t want to lose the project to another freelancer, and you don’t want to end up with a poor review or negative feedback to prospective clients.
[Why am I writing about working from home? Every Tuesday this summer, I will post about a lesson I have learned from 111 writing and editing projects.]
If you’re looking for an editor or ghostwriter, I’d love to hear from you. I have over ten years of experience in writing and editing and would be happy to work with you to take your project to the next level.