Working Remotely or for Yourself, Pros & Cons List

June 30, 2018

 

 

 

So, a lot of my conversations these days have gone from "Wait, what do you do?!" to..."Wait, do you even work?!"

 

Working for yourself is not always as glorious as it sounds, but sometimes...yeah, it is pretty awesome. I wanted to share some of the Pros and Cons I personally have found doing contract work, my own business, and working in an office environment.

 

PRO

Flexibility. You own your sh*t, you get to call the shots right? Well, for the most part. Most business is conducted during "standard" business hours, but if you do design or programming work you may even be able to hand in your work whenever you'd like pre-deadline and check in occasionally. Service oriented peeps you won't get as much luxury out of this. Business owners...when done right you CAN get up early and get those emails done before you hit up that gym class mid-day.

 

CON

Always on call. Likely you're a service based business of some sort...or maybe you sell a product online; Either way, you are kind of at the whim of your client's schedules and deadlines. The trick to avoiding chaos is project managing the hell out of your jobs and "training" your client to respect your time and hours available, but there is definitely a battle of work life balance despite the flexible schedules sometimes.

 

PRO

Work remotely. I can work from anywhere in the world! How amazing does that sound even just reading it? Well, for some people it's perfection. As long as you can sign in or get things done during the time zone business hours you need you can really make working remotely, traveling, etc. work for you. You really just need  a computer and wifi, right? Where I personally find it to be a struggle is managing being a mother...I can't hop on a plane as easily as a 20-something with or without kids, nor can I always make schedules with school, kiddos being sick, pets, etc. work just right sometimes...but working remotely really can be beneficial to not sucking up your PTO or sick leave hours when you NEED to be home. Have a maintenance guy coming that day? Cool. Work in the other room. Kid home on school leave? No problem. Here's a tablet, go play downstairs for a bit darling. Have pets? Let them be free and stop using your personal time or paid time off for things you just have to do.

 

CON

Disconnect. Working remotely makes jobs like mine hard. I can't be in a room always with my designers or developers and physically sketch out what I'd like to see differently, and verbally explaining things can be interpreted very differently than what was visually meant. Being close to your team means leaning over your desk to ask your colleague a quick question instead of playing phone tag or emailing something that would've been quicker in person.

 

PRO

MONEY. Yooooo I get to determine my own hourly rate and bill every hour I work directly back to myself?? Sweet! You aren't taking a small cut of a project, you get all of it and your overhead is just your mortgage/rent you were paying anyway. Bonus: tax write off some of your space or supplies as well (well, until that's cut in 2019 but that's another issue).

 

CON

Money. This is a big one. Know how you get that nice big paycheck every week/two weeks/month? Yeah...that goes away working for yourself. Working remotely not so much of a problem, but as a self-employed or contract worker your checks are often delayed 30-90 days and that's assuming your project is complete, approved, payment terms are agreed upon AND your check gets cut from accounting at all. Don't be surprised when you have to ask multiple times for a small check...and add it into your admin work to do for invoicing, tracking approvals, etc. Also, don't expect to make 40 hours of billable time every week...sometimes it is more, sometimes it can be nothing. Plan accordingly. I highly recommend collecting half of your project fees at signing and the rest at completion with a clause for collecting a certain percentage if the project dies or never finishes.

 

On top of these problems, many companies will compensate their full time employees less if they work remote, since they are getting the flexibility as a benefit. Many contractors will get hourly wages equal to full time employees, but still have to pay taxes on their income (for me it's about 30% yikes!). Be sure to think about this when negotiating your rates, btw. Also...a lot of your admin time, commuting if you do go to meetings, etc. isn't always billable whereas if you're at an office job you're being paid no matter what you're there for usually. I'll also add that tons of large companies are getting on board with the work remote, so I think this is a temporary shift in the market for slightly lower pay - but we will see. 

PRO

Choosing your clients. Yes, I said choosing. At first you will probably take everything you can get your hands on to get going, build your clientele base or portfolio...but once you break past that choosing your ideal client and targeting them is something from a dream. Much better than sucking up to a bad client at an office job and not being able to "fire" them because that's not your call or the company you work with requires that relationship.

 

CON

Finding clients. Finding work is a full time job in itself! Throw in your home life, your personal projects and hobbies, normal everyday stuff then when are you supposed to actually work on the projects you find or land?? This is where contractors and partners usually come in handy...hiring someone (like myself, cough cough) to help you generate leads or even close deals can be really helpful once you have liquid coming in. Or on the flip side, maybe you love finding the work and then you can hire out the design, production, etc. and make a small profit off of the white labeled work. Bam! You're an agency. Just know going into your own business what your competition looks like and where you stand in relation to the market.

 

PRO

Silence. Ahhhhh the sweet sound of silence. I love being able to get up, send my partner and kids out the door and sit down (sometimes still in pajamas, don't judge) and start working. Don't get me wrong, as a stylist I love getting ready and as a social person I love going to the office sometimes...but there are so many days where I just want to hop into my day and get going and not spend 2 hours of my day getting ready, taking lunch breaks or commuting to work. Especially if it saves me from working all weekend or night on a project.

CON

Isolation. If you've never worked remotely, the adjustment can be really rough. If you're used to chatting over lunch or visiting with your colleagues everyday...having meetings...stepping out for a bite or happy hour...this world might be a total shock to you! I recently had a phone call with a good friend of mine, and halfway through a story I was telling him I couldn't believe how fast I was word vomiting through the phone. Whoops! I guess I really needed some adult conversation that day after being with my kids and trying to work.

 

 

You also need to be self motivated. Sneaking in some binge watching of Netflix or doing your laundry instead of working can really bite you in the ass whether you work for yourself or remotely for a company. Managing your time effectively is a skill that's absolutely necessary as a remote or contract employee.

 

I hope this list sparks some conversation or thoughts for yourself if you're trying to decide to transition into a remote or self-employed situation.

 

Have more questions? Feel free to email me!

 

XoXo,

Chantel

 

 

 

CON

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