I absolutely, positively hated my job working at the hotel where I was employed full-time. The hours were terrible, my days off never matched my fiance’s, and I always missed out on dates with the kids since I was constantly working. The only time I ever saw the kids was when my guy would bring them into the lobby for a few minutes to visit in between guests, and I was missing out on opportunities to get to know his lovely children simply because my job hours (3 pm-11 pm and sometimes until 1 am) interfered with all the children’s activities.
From about October of last year to June of this year, I knew I was hitting my breaking point with my job. So I began planning a quitting agenda, taking overtime when I could (which is easy in the hotel field) and working extra hours to set aside extra money. My goal was to set aside about $3,000 and quit just as the kids were getting out of school for the summer, take a break with them and have a ball, and then move on with my life.
When I finally turned in my one-month notice, I knew I was financially ready, not to mention emotionally, to get the heck outta there! With $4000 of spare cash in my bank account, I could comfortably not work for 6 months and still have all my bills covered. I bid my job goodbye and turned my focus to having that awesome summer with the kids.
About the beginning of July, I remembered a little writing site called Associated Content, and let my fiance know about it. We didn’t have cable or Internet, so I took some of my spare money and went out and bought a laptop and we got cable hooked up. Then I set to writing. My fiance loved the idea of me being able to work from home and make residual pay on top of it, so with his blessing I began to slowly but surely trickle in some cash while getting my fingers wet and back into the writing that I love.
Since I still had money left over from my last job I was able to write without having to worry about pay. All my bills were still getting paid, and I was making money with Associated Content on the side. My income was slowly growing, and the summer passed, and I’m still writing.
My goal was to get a part-time job at the beginning of September after the kids went to school and write for Associated Content the rest of the time. I figured between the 2 I would be able to pull in really decent cash without getting burned out at a crappy job I didn’t really like. It was my fiance who said to focus my sights on Associated Content alone. He said, “Why not? You have a real opportunity to work from home, don’t lose focus now by getting another job.” So here I stay, and I’m happier than a clam.
My advice to all of you who would like to work from home indefinitely?
1) Get that nest egg set up. Work your bum off at your current job, set a quit date, and set aside as much money as you can to get you through when you first begin writing from home. If you already have a computer and Internet, begin writing NOW to get your articles out there so you can quit even sooner.
2) Get the support from your significant other. If they’re teasing you about your “fake” job from home, you may lose momentum. If it weren’t for my guy, I’d be working at JC Penney right now, and hating it.
3) Start writing, and don’t stop. Don’t worry about the money you’re being paid, just get your articles out there. I only made about $100 in July, and now I’m up to about $700 a month with my writing. It will build, just don’t worry about it. You have your nest egg to fall back on.
4) Don’t get another part-time job to supplement your writing income. My fiance was right- why not focus only on working from home? If you can’t give 100%, you’ll likely never hit that full-time writing from home goal. It’s all or nothing.
5) Treat your writing career like a “real” job. I tell people I’m a freelance writer, not that I “work from home”. Take pride in your career and write often, many times a day. I have to write at least 10 articles a day to keep a decent income, and I always write one or two pieces over the weekend.
6) A dollar earned is a dollar earned. The hardest thing for me writing at home is getting used to not getting a paycheck every 2 weeks for my efforts. I get paid often daily, and it looks like such tiny amounts at first. But when I add it up, it’s anywhere from $150-$200+ per week, which is very close to what I made working full-time outside the home. Get used to getting paid sporadically, and keep track of your earnings. It really is a lot.
7) Keep building that nest egg. I still have about $1000 left of my nest egg, and I’m building onto it with my writing now. It’s school money now, and the point is, don’t let that nest egg you worked so hard for deplete completely. So long as you’re bringing in a few bucks, keep that nest egg above $500 at all times if you can. It makes you more confident with your writing when you know you have extra money just in case you need it.
8) When you hit writer’s block, or just think you can’t make it from home, imagine being back out there in your crappy job, away from your family, and remember the awesome opportunity that you have right before you to live everyone’s dream. Don’t throw in the towel when what you have can be truly great.
9) Don’t forget to set aside money for taxes! I keep forgetting about that, and I haven’t paid any yet, but I know I will be. If you’ve had to buy a computer or printer for your writing career, keep those receipts for a tax write-off. Every little bit helps.
10) Finally, be grateful for the support you have to write from home, and don’t neglect the home and your family. I find it so easy to hole myself up and type away while the dishes pile in the sink, but just like a classic 9-5, you have to balance work and home, even if your work IS in your home.
I love making my dream come true working from home. I love how my fiance is so thrilled that I get to be home and available for him and the kids, and I love the freedom I have. I work a bit less than 40 hours a week, and if I put my whole heart into it, I would definitely make more at home than I do working. As it is, I save hundreds a month on gas and food, work shoes and work pants, and it actually balances out quite nicely. I’m working on putting the computer aside when he gets home from work, so I am not neglecting the man who supports me so much.
What’s great about writing at home is the opportunity to go back to college. I’m a biology major, and even when I get my degree I may decide I just prefer writing. I know I’ll always write even if I have my “dream” job. What a blessing it is though to not have to battle a job and a college schedule at the same time. I just write when I get done with schoolwork, and go to school part-time so I can have more time for work. This is the first time I haven’t been able to use my work schedule as an excuse to avoid furthering my education, and now that I’m in school, I’m accomplishing a dream I’ve had since High School. Associated Content and writing from home and the support of my fiance have made this happen.
It can be done- you can have that balanced life, the money, and the perfect schedule writing from home with a little money set aside, a little support, and a lot of drive. I went from not even ever using a laptop before to completely jumping back into the swing of writing from home, and I haven’t ever looked back. I couldn’t be happier.