Work from home. How does that sound to you?
I'm talking about being self-employed of course, not just staying away from the office two days a week. Lots of my clients who are considering a career change realise that being self-employed is an option, as a consultant or freelancer.
Being self-employed usually provokes extreme reactions: they love the idea or feel terrified.
I've worked from home off and on over the years and, of course, I'm self-employed.
So what's it like? Does the appeal of avoiding the morning commute to work outweigh everything else that being self-employed includes?
Extrovert or introvert?
Let's start with who you are: extrovert or introvert? In a nutshell, extroverts get their energy from interaction with other people. Introverts tend to cope well being alone and feel less energised with lots of interaction. According to an MBTI assessment I had, I'm only just an extrovert. I like company, to a degree, but I'm far from a party animal. I enjoy a certain amount of solitude, but if a whole day goes by when I've not spoken to anyone, even on the phone, I'm a bit 'Aaaaargh'! One way of getting round this is to network with other people in the same situation, meet up for a coffee, provide mutual support. Or, fit in meetings with friends during the working week.
Working from home can involve less interaction, unless you are out and about seeing clients during the day. How do you feel about that? Do you love the buzz of being with colleagues or clients? Or find them an annoyance? Do you love being part of a team or are you happy on your own?
Coping with insecurity
No matter how many faults your current employment has, or had, one thing is for certain: you'd be paid each month. Okay, your own performance might affect the amount, but for most employed people the money arrives each month. This is not the same when you are self-employed. Every pound is earned by you and your efforts. This is the main reason some of my clients won't consider being self-employed. But everyone is different. You may have savings, another stream of income, or you can survive on very little. How does that feel?
Creating space for your work
The image I've chosen for this blog is aspirational. My own office looks nothing like that. So do you have the space at home to work? It could be your spare room, a space under the stairs, your kitchen or dining room table, a corner of your lounge, a loft conversion or a garden shed. There are an increasing number of freelancers sharing office spaces, which spreads the cost, but also means you get some support and interaction from people like you.
If you want to work from home, and have children, how will that work? The last thing you need in the final stages of closing a deal with a client are teenagers arguing in the background, dogs barking, neighbours shouting, or a baby screaming.
Some of my clients love being self-employed. While working with me they have taken their business out of the spare room, into offices, and employed staff. Others find it impossible to think about working in a certain amount of isolation and with financial uncertainty.
What about you? If you need to talk over your options, why not arrange a Clarity Session with me?
I'm Glynis, a coach for clients somewhere in midlife, helping them get the life they want. I work with them on careers, time-management, relationships and lots more. These are my musings on what life throws at people like us. You can read more about me here. Do get in touch if I can help you.