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Freelance Writing From Home – A FAQ

writer's home officeI’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 temptation to let distractions take you away from the writing.

Things like:

  • The refrigerator is just down the hall
  • There are neighbors just across the street 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 distractions and more 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 at home because you can control much of the noise and many of the interruptions.

Can I really get paid writing work to do at home?

You bet you can! In fact, some companies are beginning to appreciate writers with virtual offices.

Of course, when you apply for freelance writing work, or when you cold calling offering your services, or otherwise marketing yourself, no one knows you’re working from home unless you tell them. When someone does ask I simply say something like:

Yes, I’ve worked at home for years and have a fully equipped home office.

Many times the question never comes up but when it does, this sort of response will usually satisfy the prospective client.

Is it legal for me to do freelance writing from home?

Almost certainly.  (Remember I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play on on TV.) Assuming you’re 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 ideal to have a separate room, with a door you can shut, 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 writing at home?

As mentioned above, 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 remember 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 work to get them answered for you.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer

 

 

 

Image: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Leonardo Rizzi

 

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Mellissa

    Sorry to be the one who always does this, but there’s a typo you probably would like to correct:
    Is it legal for me to do freelance writing from home? Almost certainly. Assuming ***your ***in the United States,

    • You’re absolutely right, Mellissa… thanks…

    • You’re right… fixed it… a great example of why I respect and value editors.

      • Gordon Glave

        Dear Anne
        “Don’t fix it if it ‘aint broke!”
        That statement could stir up a healthy debate on the correctness of use. Your original statement is perfectly correct. You’re, is an acceptable conraction of ‘you are’. Saying, “if you’re in the United States…” Is correct. Whereas, ‘your’ is a possesvive adjective indicating that something belongs to you eg. “your dog, or your mistake”.
        Your original statement, “you’re” is correct and infact, “your in the United States’ is less correct. Unless you bought it recently and then you would omit the “in the”.
        Food for thought, do not allow it to spoil your day.
        Gordon

        • Gordon, you’re seeing the corrected version…

  • Anne,

    Having a nice home office is helpful but not necessary. When my kids were young, I could concentrate as long as they were safely occupied. I occasionally took them to Chuck E. Cheese and gave them a bunch of tickets. Then I enjoyed uninterrupted time to do editing assignments.

    -d
    Diana Schneidman recently posted..Go away and leave me alone: Your cold call question answeredMy Profile

  • I am a new freelancer loves to writing a lot. Always I handle my client at my laptop in home. But after reading this article I have been very much interested this new idea. But it is also considerable that if I need a new space, so it cost money. At the same time a decent place is very important for this purpose which sometime difficult to manage. After I have found these two limitation,but these idea seems to great to me.
    Armen Alchian recently posted..יבוא מסיןMy Profile

    • Armen, it sounds like you’ve already a home office – or at least you’re working at home.

  • Great post!

    I don’t have clients coming to my home office. 🙂 I thought about getting an office outside of the home so I can have client meetings face-to-face. Of course, I can meet clients at a cafe or their office, but I’d prefer to have my own office.
    Amandah recently posted..Comment on 27 Killer Copywriting Posts for Writing Copy that Converts by May’s Mini Best of the Web | Firepole Marketing BlogMy Profile

    • I have one client who comes fairly frequently… and has for years. But he’s also a friend… a client who has become a friend. Most of the time there’s no need for clients to be here. And coffee shops work really well.

  • Hi, Anne.

    Loved the article. Lots of good information there. I work from home as well. We converted our carport into a office for me and a sewing room/laundry for Momma.

    Doors help. We have a little granddaughter and she loves to roam. I have a chair set up for her for our daily “staff meetings.” But when Granddad’s door is closed, she knows he’s busy.

    I actually have had only one client in my home area. Most of my clients are not only out of state, but out of the country! Working on some closer to home, but as you can see, face to face meeting is not always necessary and sometimes it’s impossible.

    Skype helps if the client does want to talk face to face, especially if they’re “across the pond.” For my office phone, I use a Magic Jack VOIP device. Not only do I get free long distance calls in the United States, but in Canada as well.

    Thanks again! You are right on target, as usual.
    Steve Maurer
    Maurer Copywriting
    Steve Maurer recently posted..The Seamstress and The CopywriterMy Profile

    • Thanks, Steve. Love your site’s title! I guess we’ll all move to voip someday – much as I love technology I hate making switches. And I don’t mean manufacturing them… 😉

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