Are you envious of people who work from home?
Do you think it’s easy to start this type of career? I thought of it that way when I was still an observer. An aspirant. A dreamer.
I was amazed by people who are earning dollars at home. They enjoy the benefits every day of a work-at-home career. How did they do it? Was it all easy? Did they go through some hell finding clients online?
To be honest, it’s not that simple.
Working from home per se is not at all pure heaven. That’s what I realized when I started finding clients online.
Actually, some gave up. They went back to their corporate careers after they got exposed to the horrors of finding a job online. It’s difficult especially when you are unprepared.
While others, still find the courage to hang on, waiting for the light to come.
They won’t give up until they get a good client and get a stable online career.
They understand—it’s worth a sacrifice. Correct.
It’s really worth the wait. If you could only persist enough to attract good-paying clients, you can really succeed.
That’s why it’s not sufficient to know the positive side of a work-at-home career. But also to understand the uncertainties or the potential problems.
It will help you out not to depend on some kind of arbitrary success, but the will to survive and thrive online.
Let’s go now and talk about the downsides of working from home.
Let’s dive in.
8 Downsides of Working From Home and Their Undeniable Solutions
1. Applying online is tough
How was it when you apply for offline jobs, isn’t it tough? There’s not a big difference in looking for a stable career online.
Here’s the fact:
It is more difficult to apply online especially when you lack skills. Furthermore, it holds truer when you’re unprepared.
This means getting relevant skills is vital to get a job online. Primarily, your communication skills are the one clients considered the most. It is where you’ll be noticed first.
That’s where you get a chance to hop for an interview and get hired.
Now, it’s time to assess yourself. Know yourself more: your weaknesses and strengths. Improve the things you already know and address the things you don’t know yet.
Make a plan.
Don’t quit your job right away. It’s tough online. You’ll have more competition online for a single job position you’re targeting to apply
Prepare well and have a smooth transition before you dive into this type of career.
2. Once you get clients online, it’s not a guarantee you can keep them forever
Some clients will dump you for no apparent reason. Trust me. I experienced it.
Even if you did everything you can to please them, they still choose to leave without notice. Like a ghost.
That’s life online. Accept it
It’s part of the deal. Part of the risk. And will always be part of the package in working at home
But here is a way you how can address this type of scenario:
Create a backup fund. Like three to six months to live life if you lose a client. Another, don’t rely on one client when you are just starting.
Most of the time, you will be working part-time. So, handle two part-time clients. If one client dumps you, you still have one.
This will be part of your contingency plans. You avoid your family from going hungry.
Though many clients are keen on keeping you when you do well.
Those clients who are ghosting VAs—only occur on rare occasions.
3. Burnout can be your enemy
Did I surprise you telling you this?
Burnout can be your enemy when you work from home. Some virtual assistants or freelancers burn themselves out when they accept too many projects at the same time.
Since they’re eager to earn more, they take more jobs.
And the result: Burnout.
Suddenly, they no longer have time for their family. They forgot to take care of their health. They did not have time to unwind and enjoy life. It happened so fast because they were so greedy and forgot their limits.
When you become a home-based professional, avoid this kind of horror movie. Be extremely aware of this possible scenario.
Don’t repeat what others suffered. Shun it. Find a way out early. And one of the ways is you take projects you can only handle. Know your limits. Remember, you only have one body. Don’t forget your family time. Don’t forget to enjoy life.
Find some time to live a good life while working online. And take care of your health. Not only your income.
Avoid burnout like the plague. Manage your time well.
4. Online income is not fixed
If you do freelancing, income can vary each month.
That means your income is not fixed. Not steady. Not guaranteed. Do you want to know the best solution for this one? Work hard.
By working hard, you can ensure your income each month. Hard work can safeguard your income.
Furthermore, by working hard, it will define your pay and will explain your future to this career. If you keep getting clients, you can earn more. If you STOP getting clients, your income will be no more.
You are trading time with money. You are self-employed.
Another way to also secure your income online is to make your clients satisfied and happy. They will give you good reviews and feedback and keep coming back. They will even recommend you to their friends and families.
It happened to me.
For virtual assistants, your income every month is fixed based on agreements with clients. You lose your income when you lose a client. You have to serve clients well. Impress them. Go beyond expectations.
Do not give up when going gets tough!
Work hard to settle down. Work hard to get stable. And work hard until you find a way to work smart.
And to work smart, you’ll be able to double your income by working less later.
5. Family distractions can sometimes be your enemy
If you have a toddler like me, sometimes he will disturb your working hours. Like my son, I couldn’t control him and predict his playful time.
I don’t have a separate room for work. It’s not a good setup for me. Our home is small. But, I know there’s a way. There’s a way to discipline my son and keep him on the side and not disturb me.
My wife and I had talked about it.
And she helps me control our son when I’m working. He can play around, but not on my computer. Our son understands my work today. When I’m talking to someone on the phone sometimes, he becomes quiet and behaves.
He plays in the background silently.
I love him more.
6. Rotating blackout
It depends on where you live.
Some cities like mine have some rotating power blackouts. It’s quite irritating sometimes. Though I’m fortunate in our city that they announce this bad news in advance. But, sometimes they do not. That’s terrible.
Good thing though, it usually happened in the morning.
I work at night with a full-time client and flexible part-time clients in the morning. I’m not entirely affected by the power interruptions. For some areas in the Philippines, freelancers and virtual assistants are unlucky ducks.
Our electrical power today is improving with our incumbent government. But it’s still not enough. There are some power shortages. Now for those unlucky ones, our solution is to provide our own backup power: using solar systems or a power generator.
It’s expensive. Yes. But if you want to secure your home-based career, there’s no other way.
Treat it as an investment. It’ll give you peace of mind when the unlikely event happens again.
And above all, it’ll give you a sustainable online career.
7. The Internet connection sucks sometimes
It is a common problem of Filipinos today.
The internet in the Philippines really sucks. These happen because there are only two major players providing the internet. And the most practical technical solution, do not depend on Wi-Fi connections. Wire up your laptop/PC to your modem. Always.
Another, get a backup internet.
In case the primary connection fails, your backup can take over. We can’t do anything about our internet condition today. We have to live thatand wait for our government to do wonder to add another player to provide good internet connection.
(As far as I know, they’re currently working on it. Not sure when this becomes real soon.)
You are fortunate if you find a client that doesn’t need a stable internet connection. Like me.
Preferably, I want my laptop that is not wire up to the modem all the time. Yes, because I want to move around. I like changing places around the house when I work.
Something a new background. New environment. New arrangement.
Transferring my tables, bringing my laptop anywhere I want. Like if I want to work outside the house. Wi-Fi connection is my comfort. I’m just lucky to have a non-voice account and my tasks can still be accomplished even with intermittent connections.
But for the most online workers, wiring up their pcs or laptops to a modem is the most viable solution. Another fix: get a backup internet.
It will be your GREAT alternative solution for intermittent internet performance. Which is to run two internet service connections at the same time.
If one internet provider fails, you can still work.
8. The uncontrollable noise
Yeah. One of my significant problems at home. The good thing is, I have a non-voice client as I mentioned earlier. But sometimes, I take calls.
Do you have dogs that bark to ghosts consistently and even to humans who look like a ghost?
Do you have neighbors who sing in karaoke 24-hour non-stop (and worst, they sing like a drunk.)?
Do you have people in the house who are insensitive and talk loud like you do not exist?
These kinds of noise are real problems when you work at home. They’re uncontrollable sometimes.
There are two solutions I propose:
First, talk to people in the house calmly. Inform your neighbors that you’re working online. Or else you’ll report them (secretly) to the local authorities being a nuisance. Befriending your neighbor first is a good strategy. Before going further to report them if it doesn’t work.)
And to animals, what do you think you should do?
What I did I talk to them. I know it sounds crazy. Lunatic even. Our playful Labrador dog knows when I’m mad. I guess dogs can understand, except for other animals like chickens. They’re hopeless. Better cook them.
Second, buy a high-caliber noise-canceling headset. It cancels the human voice. But sadly, not animal sounds.
At least, clients will probably understand that animals are uncontrollable beings.
There may be a third, which is costly. It is to create a soundproof room. Google it. Research the materials to use. Know how to design your working room or bedroom.
I’m not an expert on this. Try to ask others if you know someone.
There will always be pros and cons to our work-at-home career. We can’t avoid them. Instead, we can focus on things we can control and address them.
Try your best to work on the solutions. Acknowledge the difficulties. And find a way to fix the problem.
Others who are successful online, they were able to work out on the downsides of working from home as they were desperate to succeed online.
They avoid excuses. And you must too.
To build a successful career online, do not let the negative things discourage you. You will go nowhere if you do.
At least, now—you know them. That’s your biggest takeaway today!
You can plan well now and get ready to rumble to build a career at home.