Hi, I'm Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a website copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide).
“Freedom” was one of the main reasons I became self-employed. Some of you know that moving to Ireland to be close to my fiancé was what fueled my long anticipated desire of self-employment.
Now, I live in Ireland, but I travel to New York a lot to visit family, and my favorite mentor in the world, Ilise. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this post from my parent’s house in New York right now.
I don’t regret what I did for a second. However, the freedom of “working from anywhere” isn’t all peaches and popsicles.
In his article, “Remote Working from Anywhere," Jason Finnerty says of this recent camping trip:
The clients were communicated with, the articles were uploaded, and the invoices were sent – all while enjoying way too much junk food, liquid refreshments, and beautiful hikes through an amazing forest…
Sitting at a picnic table and putting the final touches on a new website helps your spouse realize the possibilities that freelancing can provide. We’re already thinking about finding a trailer and cruising through the US…
The article also has some comments from people who have worked from cool places. But for me, the idea of traveling through the US in a trailer with my family, while working, would be a big challenge.
I’ve been working remotely for almost three years, and I’m learning as I go. Here are some thoughts and insights I’ve come up with so far:
• You need money. The idea of working from Belize for a month is excellent, but you need money to get there and stay there. In order to make money, you need to work. I currently make less than half of what I made in Corporate America.
• The lines are blurry. In my Corporate America office, there was little confusion about when I was working and when I was playing. Now it’s so confusing. I find I need more rules and boundaries in self-employment than I ever did before. Working time is working time. Vacation time is vacation time. Family time is family time. I think each aspect needs to be separate to keep some semblance and stay healthy in all of the areas. For me, when lines start to blur is when I get overwhelmed and confused, and when I begin to slip in all areas.
• R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Family and friends need to respect your time. Set up boundaries of when work will be done and when together time is. But, you also need to respect their time. Family and friends deserve your attention when you’re spending time together. If you’re emailing clients the whole time, they don’t get to enjoy you, and you don’t get to enjoy them. Where’s the fun or freedom in that?
• Make a plan. If you are going on a trip, or are planning to work remotely, write your plan down. Use your calendar software to slot-in working hours and dates with family and friends. Or set aside a specific time each day that will be dedicated to your work. But whatever you do, track it somewhere. I use Google Calendar.
• It ain’t always pretty. Sometimes you need to say things people don’t want to hear. And a lot of the time, these people are family and friends… especially those who don’t understand that despite our freedom, we still have to work sometimes too. It’s important to check-in with yourself. Ask: To what extent am I prioritizing clients over family and friends, or vice versa? Make sure you are still in-check with your plan.
• Be honest. In my first few trips, I had delusions of grandeur. Sure I can complete as much work in New York as I can in Ireland. Be realistic with yourself about what you can and can’t do. Make your situation and your abilities clear to your clients.
• Organization is key. You may be flitting around the globe, but clients know when you’re confused, unprepared, or distracted. Respect them by being at least as organized (or more organized) than you are when you’re in the office.
Have you worked remotely? What did you learn? Please share your experiences.