The benefits of running a freelance writing business from home are many. But there are downsides, some of which can be significant. To survive, you’ll need to take a few simple steps that ensure your home office is a place where you get your work done efficiently and without distractions. I’ve worked from home most of the past 25 years, and here are my best hacks:
Set Clear Boundaries – Impress upon your spouse and children that you really are working when you go into your home office. Make sure they know not to interrupt you (unless it’s an emergency) and to keep the screaming at a minimum during specific times or whenever you’re in the office.
Get Dressed for Work Every Day – Don’t wander into your office in a robe and fuzzy slippers. You don’t have to wear a suit, but get up every morning, shower and dress for the work day. It’s sounds a little nutty, but you will act like a slob – and even sound like a slob on the phone – if you’re dressed like a slob.
Stay Away from the Action – This isn’t possible in every house, but try to set up your office in a dedicated space like a spare bedroom or corner of the basement. Best case scenario is to have an office with a door you can close, but at the very least try to get away from your home’s high-traffic zones – near the family room, front door, or kitchen.
Maintain a Routine – Distractions in the house can be time killers. I recommend establishing a daily routine that focuses on working during specific times of the day. Those hours become set in your brain as work times, reducing the temptation to watch TV or veg on the couch.
Get Out of the House – You’ll go stir crazy if you never leave the house. At least twice a day, I get outside to walk the dogs or get my mail at the post office. I also have a goal of one face-to-face meeting per week, usually lunch or coffee with a client. Another great way to get out of the house is to attend MeetUp groups after work. You’ll meet new people and possibly find some new business.
Have a Fallback – There will be times when you have to get out of the house because the kids are on break or the in-laws are visiting, and the distractions simply become too large. Head to the local library, coffee shop or other venue with free WiFi and set up camp there for several hours, or days, as needed.
Find a Meeting Space – Remember that you’re not just working from home; you’re running a business from home. You will likely need to meet clients at neutral locations. Find out which coffee shops have big tables or back rooms that can be reserved for meetings. You may even need to rent a conference room when a client comes in from out of town.
Take Advantage of the Benes – As I’ve written in previous blogs, working from home is a net positive, but there are drawbacks as described above. For this reason, I am a firm believer in taking full advantage of the benefits or else you will end up focused on the negatives. To me, this means taking short breaks throughout the day to do the chores that would otherwise rob me of family time in the evenings or weekends – throw in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, mow the lawn, run the vacuum cleaner, or make small home repairs. Better yet – head to the gym or ride your bike during the time you would have spent commuting to work. You will be amazed at the free time you have by the end of the week, and you’ll fully appreciate the freedom of working from home.
Want to know more about the advantages of working from home and running your own freelance writing business? I talk about these topics in my free Ignite! class, Six-Figure Freelancing. Take the class here: https://business-boot-camp-for-freelance-writers.thinkific.com/courses/six-figure-freelancing-three-keys-to-success