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What It’s REALLY Like to Work From Home

May 29, 2015

Three years ago I made the decision to leave a full-time job outside the house to be a freelance writer and run my own business from home. It’s been an amazing three years and I continue to be blessed with new opportunities and challenges every day.

One thing I find fascinating about working full-time from home is how so many people have opinions and assumptions about what I do during the day. For my own amusement – and to dispel all the rumors – I’m taking a few minutes to address these assumptions and tell you what it’s really like to work full-time from home.

1. Don’t you get lonely all day by yourself?
NO! I’m an introvert, so I NEED alone time! I recharge by being alone. I wish I had more alone time.

And the fact of the matter is that I am around people quite a bit. I attend networking events. I chat with parents when I drop off and pick up Sophie at school each day. I teach 23 college students about marketing and brand development once a week. I participate in a weekly Skype meeting with one of my client teams. And I interview people for feature stories I write. Plus I have an extroverted daughter to keep me company every afternoon. That’s about all I can take.

2. It must be nice to have all that time to volunteer at Sophie’s school and go on field trips.
Yes, that is a perk of working at home. However what you don’t see behind my Facebook posts and Instagram photos is me working until midnight the night before or later that evening making sure the work is done. Because my workload is a full-time job, I have to make sure it’s complete on time and deadlines are met. (even if that’s not during daylight hours). You can often  find me on the computer after Sophie goes to bed.

disney checkin
3. You get to attend so many cool events!
Because I am the editor of Red Tricycle SoCal, we do attend a lot of events. And yes, it’s pretty awesome. But as I said earlier, for every hour I spend not sitting at my desk during the day, the work gets done in other hours. And the results of all those awesome events I attend are the feature stories I write for Red Tricycle (like this, this or this one) and other publications. And sick days? Forget it!

4. You get to work in your pajamas all day.
Okay, I’m not going to lie. This is true and a huge benefit. But for me, it’s typically yoga pants, flip flops and a shirt since I take Sophie to and from school.

5. Don’t you get distracted being at home all day?
Working from home is not for everyone. In order to do it well, you have to be disciplined. Luckily for me, I’m a very disciplined and focused person, and I don’t get distracted easily.

I also have my own pressure system every day to get the work done while Sophie’s in school. This isn’t to say that I don’t work when she’s home. But it’s harder to do larger jobs and writing when I want to be present to help Sophie with homework, make sure she practices piano, and take the dogs for their walk.

laundry
6. It must be nice to be able to do a load of laundry, clean the house or watch television during the day.
I think my husband can attest to the fact that the house is not magically cleaned when he comes home each day. And laundry? Yeah, no! That happens once a week on the weekends. I can’t waste my precious work hours sans child doing household chores or grocery shopping (no matter how tempting it is to shop without Sophie).

I think it’s difficult for some people to understand what I do all day is my job. It’s NOT a hobby. It’s exactly what I’d do if I was working full-time outside the house. And just like working for someone else, if the work isn’t done, I don’t get paid. If I don’t get paid, my clients aren’t happy. That means my mortgage, household bills, credit cards, life insurance and everything else doesn’t get paid. I don’t have the luxury of being someone who doesn’t earn an income.

7. Do you get to take summers off?
I’m not a teacher, Supreme Court justice or member of Congress. So no, I don’t get summers off. (And this is not a diss at teachers. As far as I’m concerned, they deserve more than summer off!)

8. You can relax on Fridays.
I wish! I sometimes long for the the Furlough Fridays of my past job.work at homeA view of my desk. (Yes, it’s clean and organized. Clutter gives me anxiety.)

9. You’re a writer, so writing must be really easy for you.
I make my living writing; so yes, I am skilled at it. But it’s not easy and it takes a lot of time.

10. It sounds like you’re really busy! I haven’t heard back from you.
Okay, these comments are not just directed at people who work from home. This type of statement is universal, and it bothers me! Yes, I am very busy and I don’t have a lot of extra time. But we are ALL busy. And as I said before, this is my full-time job where I earn a salary to support my family.

And by the way, I’m not that busy every moment of every day. I just don’t post photos of me in my pajamas, wearing glasses, reading on the couch all weekend, and binge-watching Law & Order: SVU reruns!

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I hope you don’t think of this post as a complaint or rant. I absolutely love what I do and that I earn a decent living doing it. But sometimes it’s important to dispel the rumors so people know what it’s really like for me to work full-time from home.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2015 4:06 am

    I get #9 a lot! And it couldn’t be further from the truth. I am SO SLOW and I have high expectations, which sometimes makes it even harder.

  2. Lisakwinkler@gmail.com permalink
    May 29, 2015 7:16 am

    Excellent comments and observations. Thanks for sharing. Writers have it very hard when it comes to explaining their time. More and more people are working from home these days so I think it may become easier. Glad you’ve made it work for you. I have thought of a couple biz ideas and haven’t followed through as yet.

  3. May 29, 2015 8:05 am

    Thanks for the snapshot into your the work from home life, Leah! I often say I would like to work from home so I could at least get laundry done and not save it all for the weekend (among other reasons), but as you point out, I know I have misconceptions about it and of course you have to maximize your time just like someone in an office! It’s nice to be reminded that we shouldn’t assume what another situation is like. Though the working in yoga pants sounds divine 🙂

  4. LINDA permalink
    May 29, 2015 2:47 pm

    So glad you got that off your chest. I always knew you were sitting around in your pjs, eating bon-bons and watching your soaps! This post cracked me up!

  5. June 1, 2015 10:41 am

    I’m so envious that you have no. 5. I actually have to get dressed and turn my phone off to work from home. And I do get so lonely. I’m the opposite where I need people all day and want to turn off in the evenings.

    But, like you, I wouldn’t trade it for the time I get with Lulu. She’s my everything and, while I need to earn, earning less and working at night are small trade offs to being able to be with my only daughter as she grows up. As my mom tells me, you don’t get the time back!

    xox,

    A.

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