Working from home seems like nothing but a blessing: all of the sweatpants and none of the commute. But there are a few not-so-great aspects to bear in mind as well. Here’s a list of a few things to consider while you’re setting up a home office for yourself.
1. You’ll be alone. A lot.
You will get lonely at some point—that’s inevitable. It might take a while to get used to the silence and the peace. If you can’t get used to it, you could consider a coworking space or a coffee shop as part of your routine. You also might find that you miss the face-to-face of meetings and staying connected. It will be more important than ever to stay connected—even if only through Skype and Google Hangouts and other messaging venues.
2. You’re in charge.
No boss is going to tell you what to work on or when you can and cannot take a break, which is great! But no boss is going to keep you on your toes either. That responsibility will now fall to you. Instead of losing hours and hours on Twitter, you’ll have to keep yourself on task—otherwise your work will suffer and you won’t be self-employed for long. So cultivate some serious self-discipline, including rewarding yourself with breaks and respecting your need for time off.
3. You’re the main negotiator.
There’s no HR department making things easy and equitable. You set your rate and negotiate your contracts and make your own boundaries. No one is going to do it for you. Try raising your rate for new clients and cutting your existing clients a break until you build your business. At the same time, don’t forget to give yourself the proper raises and reviews.
4. You need to be cutting edge.
You’re not going to learn things in meetings or at the water cooler anymore. It will be on you to keep track of the latest advances and innovations in your field. You don’t want to fall behind the curve, or you won’t be competitive for bids.
5. Money will be less stable.
You can make a great living freelancing, but you should keep in mind that that living might sometimes be erratic. You will have flood months and famine months. This means you have to have a good savings in the bank for emergencies and lean times. Make sure you have enough to float yourself through any lulls or catastrophes.
6. It’s always casual Friday.
Okay, but it really is true that you can wear sweatpants any time you want—unless you have a client meeting or, you know, have to venture out into the world. Be careful what you wish for though. If you start to feel sluggish and unproductive because of your new, ahem, uniform, then try taking a shower in the morning and dressing in something smart whenever you need an extra boost.