I’ve done my freelance writing from home for so long I forget people have legitimate questions about working this way. Here are the six most common questions I get about writing from home:
Is it hard to do freelance writing from home? The biggest problem with freelancing from home, is the distraction temptations. The refrigerator is just down the hall; their are neighbors outside I might want to talk with; I really would like to do a bit of gardening. And then there’s the novel I’d like to finish right there in the living room! These are what can make it difficult to work at home and are why some writers ultimately rent office space – just to eliminate those distractions.
I ‘trained’ myself by going to a restaurant to write rather than going back to bed. That was in the days before laptops and I wrote on yellow tablets, day after day until I could trust myself to stay home and work.
Conversely, the actual writing can be easier because you can control the noise and many of the interruptions.
Can I really get writing work to do at home? When you apply for freelance writing work, or when you cold calling offering your services, or otherwise market yourself, no one knows you’re working from home unless you tell them. These days to be a virtual worker is actually highly thought of by many people.
Sure, a few will want you to come to their office but you can ignore those folks. Many times the question never comes up or it comes up with the expectation that you have “a fully equipped home office, including fast internet,” or some such fairly useless description.
Is it legal for me to do freelance writing from home? Almost certainly. Assuming your in the United States, you could check with your local municipality or county – or look on their website. Chances are they will want you to buy a business license. If you have clients coming to your home there may be some additional regulations about traffic and parking.
How do I set up a home office? You’ll need a computer and an internet connection as well as a phone and probably a printer. I am surprised at how little I use my printer these days, but when I need it I definitely want it. Although it’s probably ideal to have a separate room, with a door for a home office, you can make do for awhile with a desk in a corner someplace. You might want to read 6 Musts for the Successful Freelance Writer’s Office.
What do I tell my clients about working at home? Often the subject never comes up. If it does I just say something like “yeah, I’ve got everything I need to run my business right here in my home office.” Even a comment like “working virtual is a natural for me” can reassure a client.
How do I handle the noise my kids make when I’m on the phone with a client? Ah yes, the kids yelling in the background. It happens and I well remember how it did, in spite of my best efforts. Ultimately I learned not worry about it. Sure, I tried to time calls at nap time or when the kids were at school. But when there was kid noise I couldn’t avoid I’d either excuse myself for the moment it took for me to handle it, or apologize and ask if I could call back in a few minutes or whatever. I don’t remember losing any business as a result. It really turns out to be a non-issue. It may also help to know that corporate offices aren’t always silent either.
What other questions do you have about working at home – ask ‘em in comments or send me an email and I’ll probably answer them here.
Write well and often,
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