The Freelance Files: ‘Great! I get to work at home!’
One of the first things people usually always say to me when I tell them I’m a freelance copywriter is, ‘So, you get to work from home then…’
Yes, indeed that’s very true, I do. These days, I do get to work from the comfort of my home, which means no more traffic-clogged daily commute to and from work (which used to take me at least an hour on a good day, no matter how early I left the house) and no more going into the ‘office’ Monday to Friday.
Those days are now officially over.
Having worked in creative communications environments for the last 18 years, I’ve been ‘trained’ to produce copy against the busiest and noisiest of backdrops, ranging from newspaper newsrooms, to press offices and corporate communications departments.
But not anymore.
These days, I have the luxury of being able to produce pages of copy in silence. No more having to constantly tune out to conversations or comings-and-goings that are happening around me.
Hours can pass by before I emerge from my writing bubble and realise that I haven’t spoken to anybody. Yes, I do have emails I send and respond to every day, but there’s not always necessarily a reason to call or Skype people. The only interruptions I tend to have to contend with these days, is the sound of my phone going off if I receive a text or if there’s a knock at the door.
For some people, this might sound like an absolute dream, but for others it can feel rather odd, especially if they’ve endured two or three solitary days in a row, or are particularly sociable people who thrive on having a good old chit-chat every day.
If you’re reading this and are planning to go freelance, I think it’s incredibly important that you try and picture working by yourself day in, day out, particularly if you’re going to be based at home. Look beyond the elation you might feel at the prospect of not having to leave the house every day or deal with traffic, and really imagine yourself being on your own on a daily basis.
One of the things I always try to do is schedule my time so that I’m out and about at least two to three times a week, either going to new business meetings, networking, working from client’s offices or meeting them. And if I’m not actually chatting to people face-to-face, I’ll at least be talking to them on the phone.
Working from home can be great, but there are times when it can feel incredibly isolated. Being self-aware, disciplined and dedicated to planning your workload, so that you’re getting out and about just as much as you’re at home getting your work done, can help you strike the right balance.