Tag Archives | work from home

How To Overcome Workload Burden

Image by PublicDomainPictures, pixabay.com

Image by PublicDomainPictures, pixabay.com

When you decide to throw your hat into the ring of self employed freelance writing, it might be because you’ve heard that some writers charge up to $200 per hour for their services. Whilst some high-profile, well-regarded copywriters might indeed have a solid enough reputation to be able to charge these kind of amounts for their time, the reality is that most freelance writers across the world are very far from even the average of $60 per hour that is generally quoted from various sources online.

Though freelance writing is a fantastic opportunity for you to determine your own workload and set your own wages, if entered into halfheartedly and without industry knowledge, it can be a huge struggle to make ends meet. With this in mind, here are our five tips for how to develop your freelance writing career into something that can provide you with both personal and professional sustenance.

1. Avoid Distraction

When you are working from home with all of your personal comforts around you, it can be incredibly easy to become distracted. To put it simply, when you work for yourself, time is money, and you need to be really strict with yourself about how you spend that time. Spending much of the day behind a computer screen brings a myriad of different procrastination temptations. A few handy programs are available online like StayFocusd and Leechblock that will block certain functions on your computer and allow you to concentrate on your productivity.

2. Get Organized

Working from your home environment requires a strict amount of organization for your business to flourish, as you are not governed by traditional office hours, etc. You could work all day or you could work all night if you prefer, but what is crucial is that you get into an organized routine that your mind and body can become accustomed to. Find out when you are at your most productive and arrange your schedule accordingly.

3. Find Your Niche

With so many freelance writers out there competing for work, it can really pay off for you to find and develop a niche subject that you become the go-to writer for. Some writers like to focus on business, others like to focus on education; whatever it is that you feel you are best at, make it known to prospective clients and work to have your name be positively linked with whatever you choose.

4. Consider Outsourcing

It can sometimes be the case that you have no work one week and too much the next, so to make sure you always meet your deadlines and satisfy clients. You could consider outsourcing some of your projects in order to complete your workload. There are plenty of great outsourcing networks set up online for freelancers to share their load and sacrifice certain assignments for the greater good. Don’t get bogged down; outsource and lighten your stress levels.

5. Utilize Online Tools

You don’t have to just sit there in front of a blank word document and try to create your own help or inspiration. There are plenty of online tools that can be incredibly helpful for a freelance writer. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • ZenWriter – this is a full-screen, distraction free working environment that allows you to write and stay completely focused on your projects. It is a simple interface that eliminates any potential distractions.
  • Google Calendar – Google Calendar is the perfect personal assistant when it comes to remembering and meeting deadlines. Get into the habit of inputting every new assignment you receive into the program and you can set handy reminders and progress checkers for individual projects.
  • HelpScout – HelpScout is a service that you can use to separate your work emails from your personal emails in order for your inbox to become much more stress-free and easy to handle. The last thing you want to do is miss an important work message, and with HelpScout that problem is easily solved.

This article was contributed by guest author Linda Craig.

1

Is a “Work from Home” Culture Right for You?

Image by Betta Living, Flickr

Image by Betta Living, Flickr

Times have changed. Some companies (mostly younger or entrepreneurial) have begun transitioning from in-office work to work from home cultures, and while at first this may seem to be an ideal, how-can-you-pass-this-up, I-must-work-there opportunity, take a bit of time to think about whether this culture would really match your personality, and ask the questions you need to know.

Working from home is still a fairly new trend, and with that comes a huge stigma that employees who work from home are not really working – they’re lazing around, watching TV, napping, and running errands. Some employers have the mentality that if they can’t see their employees working, they aren’t – and that puts added pressure on the people who do work from home to prove themselves.

So let’s talk about this:

Pros

Cons

  • Save time with no commute
  • Save money with no commute, by making lunch and coffee at home
  • Have productive lunch breaks by working out, shopping, or prepping for dinner
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Work where you want to (no stuffy cubicles)
  • If you have a laptop, option to work from a coffee shop/library
  • Enjoy peace and quiet with no office drama
  • No face-to-face meetings
  • No in-office, professional experience
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Must keep yourself motivated and limit distractions
  • Pressure to be proactive to show employers you’re not just doing the minimum
  • Expense reports (if you’re required to use your personal cell phone at home for work calls)
  • Employers must be trusting
  • If other employees work in the office, must make sure there is no resentment

When I first started my job, I worked in the office five days a week. Now, I work remotely 80% of the time. For my company, it came down to trust. Was I accessible when they instant messaged? Did I respond to emails in a timely manner? Was I available for calls? Was work completed by deadlines? Was I proactive instead of reactive in projects? It was a slow process but has become common for all of us to work remotely a few days a week. This results in a great work-life balance, and there is no resentment among employees if some are in the office and others are remote.

If we need to have an internal company meeting, many times these can be accomplished via conference call. Working late is easier when you’re remote, as there are no issues with catching a train or bus. However, those one to two days a week where everyone is in the office, we take advantage of the face time. It’s often easier to make decisions or explain issues in person.

When deciding if you want to work for a company with this culture, it all comes down to personal preference. I’m a huge advocate of working from home if the employee has the right attitude about it. My commute into the office is just under two hours, includes a bus, a subway, and a streetcar, and costs about $12 per day. By working from home, I get two hours of extra sleep in the morning, am able to fit in a workout before dinner, and drink less coffee. It can get lonely with no social interaction, but for my personality, this isn’t an issue – I’m happy with a quiet atmosphere. If it does get too quiet, I’ll play some music or use my lunch hour to go for a walk, shop, or schedule an appointment.

Most importantly, working from home makes me feel empowered. I’m trusted to do my own work on time and manage my schedule the way it makes sense for me. Feeling empowered makes me motivated to do a better job, which makes me a happy employee – and my employer a happy boss.

That being said, just because this culture fits my lifestyle doesn’t mean it’s right for you. If you’re worried about resisting the TV or craving a social atmosphere, you may prefer to be in the office. You must be self-motivated to work from home, and you must be able to build up the trust of your employer. Working from home is still working – remember, it’s not time off and not something to take advantage of.