Telecommuting myths: Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Many people dream of living the freelance lifestyle. A flexible schedule, more time with your family, more control over your life… But is it really that simple? We got the deets from real freelancers on the top telecommuting myths, so you can decide if it’s right for you and your family.

Mom working from home with daughter nearby

Myth #1: You can spend more time with your family

Several respondents told us it’s a mistake to think you’ll necessarily have more time with your family. You still have to work, and some tasks require concentration (and some time to chat with clients without a toddler screaming in the background).

Audra Friis of Pascale Communications has three young children and works at home full time. She recommends childcare or after-school care to help you maintain a more professional atmosphere while you work. “The last thing [your clients] want to hear is crying, screaming or even Peppa Pig in the background.” She says you need to treat your home office just like your offsite office.

If you can’t afford childcare and your kids are old enough, talk to them about how things are going to change when you stop working outside the home. Give them clear expectations and most importantly, listen to their concerns and thoughts. The little things they say speak volumes.

Myth #2: You can spend more time with your friends

This is a tough one. The misconception here is one your friends may also have. They may assume you can just drop everything to go to lunch. Friis notes that you can’t just have a play date at a moment’s notice just because you work from home, because you have the same responsibilities and deadlines anyone else does.

It’s important to set boundaries early on. Make sure your friends and family understand what your needs and availability are, and stick to it without feeling guilty. You wouldn’t just show up at their place of business and expect them to skip out for a spa day.

Myth #3: You don’t have a real job

Many newbie freelancers don’t think of themselves as “real professionals” and may be treated that way by loved ones. We asked seasoned stay-at-home dad and editor of Money Crashers Personal Finance David Bakke what he thought the lovely ladies who read our site should know. You’re going to want to commit this to memory and forward it to the hubby.

According to Bakke, “Women should understand that they’re just as an important part of the workforce as those who work traditional day jobs…

“Husbands of wives who work from home should also be more willing to help out with household chores and raising the kids, considering the significant amount of money that can be saved by their spouses telecommuting.” That’s right boys, just because the laundry room is around the corner doesn’t mean we have time to fold it up and put it away.

Myth #4: Working at home is easy

It’s really not. It takes discipline, patience and (if you’re a freelancer) a willingness to live with the uncertainty that comes from not knowing where next September’s paycheck will come from.

Can you work from home?

Sure, it’s not all fun and games (it is called “work,” after all), but there are upsides, too. Just make sure you have a plan to handle the potential difficulties and you’ll be fine!

Tell us

Could you work from home? Let us know in the comments below.

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