I work for myself and I work from home, two things that seem to interest many people. If I had a $1 (inflation) for every time someone said “You are so lucky that you can do what you want without a boss breathing down your neck” I could retire tomorrow. The problem with the question is one of personal responsibility for my finances. If I take a “personal day” I don’t make any money. I have no salary to fall back on when I slack off. When you work for yourself if you don’t work you don’t make money. Before embarking on this particular path ask yourself if you have the self-discipline for it because that is as big a part of success as the work itself.
Do you have self-discipline?
Are you able to get up on time, stick to the task at hand and work a set schedule?
Whether you work from home or work at your own business away from home you actually have to get up and work. Do you have the discipline necessary to meet deadlines? Open your business on time? How about working late or on weekends? I had two friends who opened an Internet café back in the early 1990’s. You could get sandwiches, soft drinks and killer cheesecake while you surfed the Internet at high speeds, something new at the time. It was an immediate hit and then they went broke within the year. The reason was simple: They never opened on time. They felt that as it was their business they should be allowed to open and close when they wanted. The problem was that their customers never knew when that was and sought other options. When working for yourself you still have to actually work.
Even the most self-disciplined person often caves to pressure from friends and family. I’m incredibly lucky that my friends understand how I work. I meet them for lunch once a week and the rest of the time they know not to bother me when I’m working unless it’s an emergency. They have been extremely respectful of that.
My family on the other hand just doesn’t get it. My brother was bad for a long time because I didn’t have a “real” job and he did so he thought I should do things for him during the day. As bad as he was my husband was worse. He would “volunteer” me for things such as helping a friend with a website or helping one of the kids move and say that I could work “later.” In both cases I sent them a bill for my time. They thought it was funny until I showed them invoices to other clients and they realized that my time, though I scheduled it myself, was just as valuable as everyone else’s. In many cases my time was more valuable because I had no one to delegate the work to during an absence.
Be honest with yourself when making the transition from working for someone else to working for yourself. Your personal finances as well as your sanity are at risk.