Starting Out: Working From Home

June 12th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

When I first started out working from home I had no idea what to expect. After spending years working at a desk job that I originally loved but grew to loathe I knew my goal was to eventually work for myself one day. I love working, but I realized I didn’t like anyone ‘keeping tabs’ on me or any part of my job relying on making money for a company. Working from home never even entered my mind as an option because anytime I thought about people who did that I conjured up images of stay-at-home Mom’s doing work as a medical transcriptionist or making cold calls selling magazine subscriptions.

When I quit my full-time job two years ago I was still teaching as an adjunct so I had that income to live off of, but I knew I needed to do something more. I got certified as a personal trainer, started this blog, and thought I would use this as a way to attract clients. Well, I ended up working for a gym for about a week before I realized personal training was not for me (and I can post more about that later if anyone is interested) and I started pouring myself into this website. I really, really loved writing. As a kid I always wanted to be an author, and in high school I toyed with the idea of majoring in Journalism before deciding on Psychology. Eventually, I started submitting work to online publications and slowly my portfolio began to grow.

Now, I still teach 3-5 classes a term but I’m also freelancing regularly in the health and travel industry. Between keeping up with my blog, managing social media for a local company, and my freelance work I spend about 20-25 hours a week working from home. Since I don’t talk about this much I thought I’d give you all a peek into my ‘office.’

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Look at how important and efficient I look! So, a few of the major perks about working from home:

  • Flexible hours. I can spend 1-2 hours a day training and not worry about making it into the office by 9 a.m. (although I’m still up by 5:30 every day to workout!)
  • I can travel more since I can bring work with me
  • Not having someone watch over me. I couldn’t stand this about my previous jobs. I’ve asked on twitter before how much time people actually spend working at their jobs, and not killing time online or goofing off, and most people said 3-5 hours in an 8 hour day. That’s exactly how I felt and working from home lets me put in a super focused 3 -5 hours most days of the week (I usually work a lot on the weekends) instead of wasting time because your’ on the clock.’
  • This is my uniform

IMG_7667Of course there are some downsides to working from home.

  • Limited social interaction. When I first started working from home I was living with someone and I would basically sit and watch the clock waiting for him to come home because I was so bored. I didn’t have a lot of work to start with and I went a bit stir crazy sitting inside all day. If your an extremely extroverted person you likely wouldn’t enjoy sitting alone at home most of the day!
  • You have to be extremely disciplined. I’ll admit, there are days when I don’t feel like working and I can find myself binge watching Netflix all day. If I’m not careful with sticking to my self-imposed work schedule (usually 8 a.m. to noon) then my productivity plummets.
  • If you are a freelancer then your income is sporadic. This is why I’m grateful to be teaching still because I could honestly almost make ends meet with just my teaching income, so if I don’t pull in a lot of freelance work one month I’m okay.
  • You can end up questioning yourself, a lot. When I see my friends working up the corporate latter getting promotions and raises I wonder if this is what I want to do the rest of my life. I can’t say I know the answer to that, but it’s making my very happy for now!
  • No benefits. ’nuff said.

I took some other photos of my office. This is my break room.

IMG_7676And this is our office kitchen.

IMG_7675And this is my boss. He’s brutal.

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I don’t know if I would have been able to make this transition into working from home without the guidance of fellow bloggers and freelancers. I’ve worked with some people online for long enough that I know as much about them and their lives as I ever did my in-person coworkers. When I’m going through a rough patch I can reach out to these people, who’ve all been there before, and know that everything will work out. Starting out working from home wasn’t easy, but it has opened up so many new possibilities that I never dreamed existed that I cannot wait to see what my career may be like in a few years!

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm. 

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20 Responses

  • Ashley says:

    I love when bloggers post about this topic because it’s something I’ve been considering for quite some time. I’m a graphic designer, so I have the option of working from home by freelancing. The scary part is not having a steady income! But I also hate wasting time “on the clock” at my corporate job. But at least I can read blogs like yours while I’m working :)

  • kim says:

    Love this post! I’m nosey and like getting a real sneak peak into others personal life- makes them feel more real, ya know? Being an army wife, working from home would be a dream considering our moves every 3 years or so. I always plan on working, so having something transferrable and/or transportable is obviously ideal. I’d love to hear about your personal training experience!

    • Erica House says:

      That’s precisely why I decided to start building up a ‘moveable job’ a few years ago. I’ve always dreamed of being able to pick up and move to a new area every few years, and now I’m like….almost able to do that. It’s surreal!

  • I want your boss! haha Great post! Thanks for the insight into working at home!

  • Jenny says:

    I would LOVE to work from home and freelance. But I have no idea where to start finding the work

    • Erica House says:

      ProBlogger forums are a good place to start. It takes a lot of time to search for opportunities, and most of them are ‘one time only’ deals, but after a while your portfolio builds enough that you can start landing the really coveted reoccurring gigs. Start trying to write for places that don’t pay to build up your resume (I wrote pretty often for MindBodyGreen when I first started.)

  • Could you do a post on why you didn’t like personal training? It’s something I consider and would love input from someone who tried it and didn’t like it.

  • I’d be really interested to read your post on why you didn’t like PT as well, please! I want to get a health + wellness type of certificate to compliment my masters in counseling… and I was thinking of PT, but I’m scared. I may go the more health coach route, but I’d love to read your feedback. :)

    And I love your boss! It’s definitely a goal of mine to work from home… one day.

  • Angie says:

    I have kitty bosses too! I have been working from home since 2001 and love it. I still can’t believe it’s been that long but I didn’t like answering to anyone either. Discipline is tough working from home for sure.

    Last year we remodeled my home office and it’s a lot better. Keeps me inspired. I work to travel lol

    • Erica House says:

      I realized I don’t like people breathing down my neck/micro managing me, and I hate being forced to make money for other people.

  • Jes says:

    Cute boss!!! I split my time between my office and working remotely and it’s awesome for so many reasons. I have been doing it for almost 8 years now and it’s the best of both worlds. I find I’m more productive on the days I work from my home office, and it’s so much easier to be healthy because I can take a jog around the block, then hang out in my workout gear all day (like you!) and whip up a healthy snack in no time, then have dinner ready by time I have to get my son from school. Great post!

  • Danielle says:

    I swear we have so much in common! I could have written this post myself, except for the teaching part. Although, during college, I had this grand idea that I’d be a professor because I wanted to continue learning, publish papers and have a somewhat flexible schedule. As you know, I have major anxiety just thinking about speaking in front of crowds, though, so that idea died pretty quickly. I’ve also always loved writing. I’ve won contests, had a blog when I was like 14, and am a total book nerd. Immediately after starting work in the “real world” I knew I wanted to work for myself, too. I’m so happy with how things have worked out. I know my business will transform, but I love being in control of it. Your pros and cons are spot on. Some people don’t realize how lonely it can be! We can be co-workers any time you get lonely :-) If only the beach had WiFi…

    • Erica House says:

      It can be VERY Lonely. It took me almost a full year to get used to that. Now, I force myself to get outside to exercise and go out with friends more on the weekends and that has helped significantly.

  • I LOL-ed at that photo of Salem. I would love to hear your trips for quitting your job/freelancing full time!!



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