There are two ways to access home-based work, which are:
— firstly to find a job where someone will pay you to do the work from home, or alternatively
— to create your own work through self-employment
(Come to think of it, these are your two main choices when it comes to finding work of any kind anyway).
The latter certainly used to predominate for remote roles, and it’s what I am most used to in recent years — in fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way now, I love it. Having done various employed ‘job-jobs’ over the years I long ago realised that in each of them there were bits I loved and bits I hated, activities which played to my strengths where I felt fulfilled and in flow, and other parts where the time dragged and stress built and my best would never be good enough.
When someone else designs your job description this is inevitable, because a job description is basically a bundle of tasks and areas of responsibility that someone has bundled together, sometimes more arbitrarily vs logically and based on what the organisation has a need for, as well as what activities traditionally associate together to create recognisable professional roles, for which the job title is a shortcut. For me and many others, there’s nothing to beat creating a role 100% for yourself, which enables you to spend time in your zone of maximum joy and productivity.
But I also know that what I love most about self-employment includes factors which other people would find a real turn-off — the endless hustle, the relationship building, the variety (which often means uncertainty), and the lack of any guidance or professional support in the form of a management structure (like having someone to sit down with you and say, “really, a book series about home-based working, are you sure that’s a good idea..?”). Not to mention the fact that you still have to do some of the stuff you don’t see as your flow-state blissful superpower, like business administration and making sure you get paid, for example. Yes, eventually you can outsource a lot of this activity, but you remain 100% responsible for its being done.
Having fallen into full-time freelance writing not exactly deliberately, it has been the most rewarding and fulfilling work I have ever done, and taken me to new places both literally and figuratively — but I also know people who have tried under similar circumstances and found it absolutely was not for them.
A lot of what we’ll talk about in these books relates to self-knowledge and being honest with yourself about what you need and want, what inspires and motivates you to be fulfilled and productive and emotionally well — so kidding yourself along if you’re in the wrong role runs absolutely counter to this (and I speak from experience on that front too).
So, the alternative to self-employment is to find a job where you can do all or part of it based at home, and that is, ironically, now easier than ever.
Excerpt from “Out Of The Office: Making The Transition To Working From Home“, book 1 in the healthy happy homeworking series.