I started working from home in February of this year. I have two jobs apart from being Mom:
- I work as a medical transcriptionist. I started my own company in January and currently work as a contract worker for my previous employer.
- I’m a freelance writer, focussing on all things equine. Rain rot, hoof abscesses, to blanket or not to blanket. Riveting stuff.
I love being at home with the kids but I also enjoy working. Working from home has been a good fit so far – we save on the costs of childcare but I’m still able to use my education, pursue my passions, and contribute financially. Balance seems to be an ongoing struggle!
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Set goals and set limits.
When I started my transcription job I had no idea how much work I would actually get. I knew that I would be paid by the line but that I would only have work when the office was busy – so Nathan and I sat down, figured out what I needed to earn to make ends meet, and set that as my goal. It’s not a true goal, though, since there’s absolutely nothing I can do to get more work: I work when the office is busy and that’s that. Since I’m a contract worker and I want a new contract when my current run ones out (December 31st!), I’m pretty much always available. I already have limited availability (I only work evenings and weekends) so if there’s work, I take it. I have a hard time setting limits, but I learned my lesson in August: It was so busy at the office that I was working every single evening and usually at least one day on the weekend. I was completely fried! This month is looking much the same, but instead of blindly accepting whatever jobs I’m assigned, I’ve set a limit: I will gladly type a maximum of 100 minutes/day but I need two days off during the week. Lately it’s been Friday evening (riding lessons!) and Sunday (we’re already so busy with church!) but I’m flexible. It doesn’t matter which days I take off as well as I get two!
My freelance writing job is much more goal-oriented. Since I’m still a new writer, I don’t get assignments, I just write queries and pitch my own ideas – so I set a goal for myself of pitching X number of ideas to X number of publications, and then write whichever articles get accepted. Some publications give me a couple of months to complete an article while others require it within a few weeks, so there’s usually a fair bit of hustle happening on my part, especially if it’s already a busy month with typing! I can research while the kids are playing but writing and interviews typically happen during nap time or quiet time. When I’m writing an article I map out a schedule – when my outline needs to be done, when my interviews need to be done, when the first draft needs to be done, when photographs need to be taken, if required, and when the final manuscript needs to be submitted by. I like to give myself an extra week (at least!) before submitting the final copy just so I can “sit with it” and make sure it’s exactly the way I want it to be. My ultimate goal is to earn enough income writing that I don’t have to type anymore – but at this point that’s still a few years away!