Working remotely is something that I wanted to do for a long time.
I’m not someone who necessarily enjoys living in one place or going into the same office every day. Although I like having a daily routine to stay productive, I like to be able to do it from wherever I want without anyone looking over my shoulder. I’ve traveled the world as a freelance writer for two years now, I love it.
But there’s a few things that I wish I knew before I started working remotely.
If you’re thinking about making the leap into remote work, here are 5 things that you should know before you get started.
1. I Still Work 9-5
Before I started working remotely, I had this idea in my head that I would be able to work whatever hours I wanted. However, that didn’t last long. After working remotely for a little bit, I realized that I need to work the typical 9-5 hours for two reasons:
The first reason is that I need to be able to communicate with my clients. Since most of them are based out of the United States, the easiest schedule for me to be on is 9-5.
The second reason is that keeping a schedule keeps me in a routine. I wake up at 7:30, eat breakfast, mess around on the internet for a bit, and then I start working. Having this routine allows me to stay productive.
2. Working Remotely Can Be Isolating
Working from home is great. I don’t have a commute, I have all the food I want right next to me, I have the gym to myself in the middle of the day, and there’s nobody around me telling me what to do.
But the social aspect is lacking.
When you work from home, you don’t have coworkers. You also can go days at a time without leaving your home during the day. Unless you have the money for a nice co-working space, you have to make an effort to get out of your home and socialize. If you aren’t living in your home country, that can be difficult sometimes.
3. If You’re Freelancing, Your Money Fluctuates A Lot
I got a little bit lucky when I first started freelancing and working remotely. A pretty reliable stream of work fell into my lap, and money wasn’t really an issue. A few months in, that client disappeared. Just completely ghosted.
That was around $1,000 per month that just stopped coming in one day.
Ever since then, it’s been difficult to find clients that pay well and stick around. I might make $400-$500 one week and then $100 the next. There’s just no real way to predict how much I’m going to make. If you’re planning on freelancing, you’ll need to get creative with your spending and smart with your budgeting.
4. You’ll Work With Some Frustrating People
When you start working remotely, you don’t necessarily work with the best people or companies right away. Unless you’re an experienced developer or programmer, you’re going to find that the people who want to pay remote workers (especially freelancers) are trying to save as much money as possible.
That means, unless you have a lot of experience in your field, you’re going to be working with bottom of the barrel type stuff. They might be assholes, they might be unreliable, and they might try to take your work for free. You just have to protect yourself as best as possible.
5. It’s a Ton of Fun
In my head, I imagined a remote work life as being really fun, but it’s even more fun than I could have imagined. I don’t have to sit in traffic in a commute every morning, I can go out for lunch or coffee whenever I want, I take half days when I want, I take days off when I want, and I have time to work on other projects (like this) that interest me.
Best of all, I have the freedom to travel when I want.
Since I started working remotely, I’ve traveled through multiple cities and countries, and lived for 6 months in Colombia and 4 months in Peru. Now, I’m traveling through Eastern Europe and got to spend time in Romania and Bulgaria as well.
So, despite the drawbacks, working remotely is one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. If you’re thinking of taking the leap into the remote work and freelancing fields, do it. You just might love it.
PS ready to take the leap into the digital nomad lifestyle? Check out the Working Abroad Series to learn how to start a digital marketing business, get a job teaching in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, become a flight attendant, find work on a yacht, earn a steady income as a freelance writer, and so much more!