It has been three years since I made the decision to work for myself. Three of my children at the time were reaching their adult years and my two younger children were self-sufficient to a certain degree. With them either being out at work or at school, this gave me over six hours of uninterrupted time to build a business.
The problem initially? I had no idea what I wanted to do that could one, earn a livable income that didn’t require me to sell my soul or two, that didn’t require me to invest massive amounts of money to start-up.
To be honest, at that point, I had never really thought of my writing as something I could or would do professionally. It was a hobby I enjoyed and nothing more. I didn’t really have any intention of turning a hobby into a career. My thought was that it would suck the fun out of it…misguided I know.
It was another year of ideas that never really appealed to me or got off the ground before I bit the bullet and decided I wanted more from my writing than just short stories or fanfiction.
So, I spent a year developing a book series which snowballed from there. Now, I have outlined multiple books and have written over 40,000 words of the first draft of the first book in the Evolved Series.
You’re probably wondering if I am going to get to the point of this blog post and I promise, I am.
- I consider myself lucky in the respect that I can develop a writing career from scratch without having to also work a full-time job. Not all debut authors have this.
- I can set how many hours/days I work.
- The only person I have to be accountable to is myself.
- I can choose how much work I put into it.
However, there is a downside and this is where the cons of working from home come in…
The minute you mention you work from home, people either roll their eyes at you because they deem that you don’t have a ‘proper job’ or their genuine interest lasts as long as it takes for you to tell them you’re writing a novel. Then you get the same look that says “that’s not a real job.”
You tell your family and friends you have decided to work from home and become a published author. Sure they are supportive in the beginning to an extent, genuinely interested and may want to know all about your story. That is until it affects their ability to ‘drop-by’ for coffee whenever they feel like it or when you tell them you’re busy. Naturally, it would be a different scenario if you wandered into their place of work and demanded hours of their time to entertain you. So, why do they deem your workplace any different from theirs? Simply, you’re at home and it’s not a real job.
Anyone who, like me, is trying to build a business knows that there are no set hours. Especially when you have other commitments such as, housework or raising children. You may find that you can squeeze in a few hours work during the day between several loads of laundry, but more often than not, you find yourself working at all hours. Not a regular nine-to-five, Monday to Friday. Despite trying to plan meticulously so you can avoid writing after midnight and get a full eight hours sleep.
I even hired a cleaner to come to my house twice a week for an hour and a half, so it would give me more time to work. All it did was give me more time to entertain those who thought that because I was at home they could stop by unannounced. On numerous occasions, I’ve reminded people of what I am trying to accomplish, but it falls on deaf ears and continues to do so.
Now, don’t misunderstand, I love having the ability to work from home. My only wish is that it garnered the same respect from others, that is required of their jobs.
The fabulous Joanna Penn, thriller author and founder of the creativepenn.com gave me some advice roughly a year and a half ago, she told me that I needed to be brutal. That isn’t me, well not all the time and not with all things. But she was right. No matter how many hints I dropped or how naive I was to assume that my loved ones would respect my chosen career path. I need to fight for what I wanted.
If you aren’t already, you need to master time management. This can have a huge impact on your productivity.
You need to be prepared to make significant sacrifices. More so, in the beginning.
Building your brand and running a company can take up as much time as writing a novel does.
Yes, I admit that elements of this post sound dangerously close to a rant and you’d be right. Since I made the decision three years ago, I’ve felt I have had to justify my reasons for pursuing my dream of being a published author to all who’ll listen.
Perhaps, I need to speak a little louder…or have the balls to be brutal because working from home is a real job.