Freelancing for a Living

Five Things to Know Before Freelancing

Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures

The thought of professionals working at home, setting their own hours, and reaping huge monetary rewards from the internet sounds great. However, there are many myths about self employment going around, and it is important for everyone to know the truth about working at home.

Do you hate waking up in the morning? Can't stand having a boss watching your every move? Wish that you had the option of working from home?

The truth is, self employment is not something that just anyone can do. While being self employed may mean being your own boss, there is nothing easy about working from home. And not many people can handle the pressure. Here are five self employment myths, and truths, about freelancing.

Myth: Freelance professionals working at home have no direct contact with employers

The truth is, while many employers and clients may not mind conducting business via email, there are those who will require real-time contact. In some situations, the freelance professional will need to talk to clients or employers on the phone, or use an internet messenger service to chat in real time. On some occasions, the work at home professional may have to commute to a physical office location for a meeting.

Myth: Working at home is easier than working at the office

This point is debatable. Most freelance professionals don't have to be woken up by an alarm clock or to dress up for success. However, some of them have to be online at certain times of the day. In addition, many contract professionals cannot differentiate the home and work space. The office is home and the home is the office. Daily distractions and the struggle of avoiding them can make working at home very difficult.

Myth: Professionals who work at home put in fewer hours than those who work in an office

This is very untrue. Often times, freelance professionals have to put in up to 12 hours per day. At times, so many projects with deadlines come at the same time. It is true that there are times when those who work at home don't have much work. However, there are times when the self employed have to work weekends, late-night hours and holidays when others are enjoying themselves.

Myth: Those working from home don't experience interpersonal problems which are common in the office setting

Freelance professionals may be on their own for most working hours, but that does not mean that they are free from criticism. In a networked world where many people share their opinion online, everyone is judged. Freelance writers work from the safety of their homes, but reader comments are still sent. Online forums, messenger services and email can be opportunities where the work of self employed professional is maligned.

Myth: It is easy!

Successful self employment is a continuous journey of networking, job searching, skills maintenance and reputation building. There is always a new boss to please, a new program to learn, or some clients who have some unusual expectations. Every project must be designed to suit every buyer, and sometimes a project has to be redone several times before it is accepted. The self employed are on their own when it comes to paying health insurance, handling taxes and retirement plans. There is nothing easy about self employment.

Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.

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