Working 9 to 5 is out, and remote work is in! Today’s millennials entering the workforce are quickly coming up with ways to ditch their cubicles and bring their careers on the road. I, for one, have been on board with this trend for nearly three years now and I haven’t regretted it for even a second. Working for myself has certainly had its ups and downs, but there are definitely some things I could have done to better prepare myself. Before you ditch your office gig, be sure that you take care of a few of these things first.
Find A Quiet Working Space
While working from your couch in your pajamas may sound like a great idea, it’s not when your salary relies on you being productive. First, you turn on the television. Then you might take a nap. Or surf the web. Anything but get your work done. Having a space set aside for just work will put you in the right mindset and help get you motivated. It doesn’t have to be a rented office space, but it needs to be an area of your home with few distractions.
Decide How You’ll Stay Organized
Keeping track of everything you need to do when working remotely is hard to figure out at first. There’s collecting client information, recording job specs, invoicing clients, 1099s, and so much more. It’s overwhelming. Getting organized is different for everyone. You might prefer using a program like Quickbooks to keep things in order, while others are fine using a simple spreadsheet. It may take some trial and error, but you will figure out a preferred system for yourself in time. For me personally, I started out using spreadsheets but found them to be tedious and time-consuming. Since I’ve been writing for most of my clients for several years now, I’ve managed to memorize everything I need to know to successfully complete projects for them.
Hold Yourself Accountable
No one’s telling you what to do. You have no boss. No manager. No one breathing down your neck to get things done. Not everyone can thrive under conditions where they have this much freedom. This is why finding a way to hold yourself accountable is essential. I do this by giving myself deadlines. My personal deadlines are set a day or two before a client’s, allowing me to have some wiggle room if I’m running behind. Reminding myself that I won’t get paid and could lose a client if I don’t get something done is always a great motivator as well.
Allow Yourself To Make Mistakes
After leaving your 9 to 5, you’re going to make mistakes. Big or small, your errors will help you to grow as a professional, so don’t be too hard on yourself. The most common mistake people make is taking on too many roles. When I first ditched the office job, I offered clients content writing, graphic design work, social media management, copyediting services. I would do anything to make some cash. Content writing may have been my forte, but my clients wouldn’t have known that. Now I stick to what I’m good at and leave the others behind.
Break Your Bad Habits
If you have any other nasty habits that affect your work, you should try to break them now before handing in your resignation. Several habits I’ve had to break along the way were inconsistency, procrastination, accepting more work than I could handle, taking on a job I wasn’t qualified to complete and failing to plan out my work week ahead of time. Any of these habits can leave you with unhappy clients and a ton of added work when they ask you to redo it.
Take your time when making the transition. Focus on eliminating your poor work habits. Set up interviews for remote jobs. Get started on developing your freelance business. In just a matter of time, you’ll be able to leave your 9 to 5 behind for good!