Those of us who work from home know how rewarding and convenient it can be to set up an office or workshop on our own property. Whether you’ve got kids to look out for, you’re sick of the commute, or you’re just trying to integrate your work and leisure life in a way that better suits you, the pros outweigh the cons: okay, it can get lonely – but there’s always the option to take your laptop to a café. There may be some equipment or software you need to invest in – but then it’s there at your disposal, for work or play.
It sounds ideal, and for many it is, but if you or someone you know is considering going freelance or setting up their own business, they’d do well to remember that it is not just the working environment that changes, but the very rhythm and structure of the day. It’s a change to which not everyone can adapt.
Before you make that big decision, then, it is wise to do some soul-searching and maybe even undertake a trial period. Ask yourself if you are capable of working without the relatively strict time structures and deadlines of a shared office space, and if you can cope with the unpredictable workloads that come with both entrepreneurship and freelancing from home. If it’s the entrepreneur route that you are considering, think about the new skills you’ll need to pick up to cover for the fact that you’re no longer working within a larger, multi-department business. And either way, it’s important to be honest with yourself about how you’ll be able to cope with irregular payments, manage stress and uncertain times.
It could be that the best way forward is to ease your way in. Try taking on some freelance work alongside your regular job and see if you can manage your routine. Maybe you can cut down to a four-day week at the office so you’ve got a longer weekend to divide between your leisure needs, and planning a potential business. It’s a big lifestyle switch that will probably prove amazing, but it shouldn’t be rushed into. For some tips on how to assess what your next step should be, check out this infographic from Business Backer, and remember not to burn your bridges as you go.