DAY TWENTY. A few people asked me what my job is exactly because I seem to be working everywhere and with so much time in my hands. Actually, I don’t really have a lot of time in my hands, contrary to what many people think. However, my flexible schedule allows me to work anytime, anywhere, as long as I have my laptop with me and some fast internet connection.
I’m still doing Internet Marketing and SEO only this time, I’m doing it home-based. After my two-year stint with US Auto Parts (USAP) as part of their Search Engine Marketing team, and, give-or-take four years doing Internet Marketing both full-time and freelance, I decided to jump ship and try home-based work.
And just for the record, since we’re at it, my work experience with USAP was nothing short of awesome. They were kind to me, gave me my biggest break, sent me to New York for training, and trusted me with responsibilities I would never entrust myself. It was there in USAP (and under Marc‘s mentorship) where I was able to envision how I’d like my future to be, and how to do it. I wouldn’t even know half of what I know about the industry if not for the opportunity to pick Marc’s brains (he’s one brilliant guy) and to work with the best marketing team in the world. It’s the best training ground in the Philippines for those who want to take Internet Marketing seriously, if I do say so myself. At one point I really thought I was going to stay there for good because I loved the people and my job there. Resigning was not in the original plan, but I was able to resign because, admittedly, they were able to equip me enough to take on the next chapter of my career.
Which brings us to now, and this work-from-home status. I’ve been doing this for the past 5 months, and here’s some of the things about working from home that you might want to be aware of, before you start taking the leap yourself.
No more 8:00-5:00 work-days
This is probably one of the major factors why I decided to try working from home. At one point being a corporate slave, I have developed some form of insomnia that made it so hard to wake up in the morning, and, even if I was able to drag my feet to the office, my entire morning would still be spent doing my job in a trance. Mornings were not productive. Afternoons were spent cramming on things I should’ve finished earlier. You get the drift. And I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that the 8-5 schedule is really bound to get monotonous and draining, especially for people (like me) who have varied interests.
Now I can start my day anytime I want. I know it’s not healthy, but my most favorite time to work is still at way past midnight, when it’s quiet and no one’s bugging me on YM. More so, I can take long breaks in between and just make up for the lost hours anytime within the day.
Work from anywhere
Every Monday, I’d take my laptop to our church’s Youth Center, and sit in a quiet corner to get some work done. Last month, I was in Tagaytay, and then in Cebu, and I can go to these places and still get my work done without going through the torture of filing Leave forms and/or asking permission from my boss. Once in a while, I would hang out in a coffee shop when I’m starting to get sick of my home office. Often, I would take my laptop to bed and work there.
In the next few months, I’m hoping to take short trips to places in Asia, and maybe a long trip to Sydney before the year ends. And I love not having to worry about leaving my work behind (and not getting paid). I can work literally anywhere, and somehow, the regular changes in environment stimulate my mind even more, increasing my output and allowing me to be more productive.
More time to do things I love
Related to having a flexible schedule, now I can practice my photography, involve in church activities more, blog/write more, read books, engage in possible business opportunities, travel, cook (or at least learn to).
Photography is impossible to do when you have an 8-5 job, unless maybe you want to specialize in taking photos of staplers and ballpens and computers (ugh). Taking photographs with natural daylight is the most awesome thing; I say, you’re missing a lot on daytime and sunlight when you’re confined to the four walls of your office within the day, leaving only when it’s already dark.
Oh, and cook! I have a pretty nice kitchen in my unit, and I’m glad to be able to just take a break, hop to the kitchen from my desk and cook something. I’m no Rachael Ray, but I really enjoy my own Martha Moments. ;)
The workload is the same, if not heavier
Because I work everywhere and in my own time, people would often mistaken it as not doing anything at all. Family and friends would expect me to be present in family gatherings, trips, church activities, etc, ALL THE TIME, as if I’m a bum and don’t have a job. The thing with this set-up is, while it allows me to do other things within the day and start working in my own pace and time, the workload is still somewhat the same, if not heavier. At the end of the day, I have to deliver the same (or even more) amount of work as, say, when I was still in USAP. Hence I have to work in the wee hours of the morning, finishing stuff I wasn’t able to do because I was doing other things during the day. When I was in Tagaytay and Cebu, I had to excuse myself to get some work done in between swimming and chatting with cousins, etc. You see, I’m still doing this full-time (not part-time or freelance), it’s just that I’m not confined within some office walls.
One thing I really miss about the corporate set-up is having to brush elbows with the most awesome professionals in this field, the regular coffee breaks with real people, the face-to-face meetings (not just YM conferences), and blurting random thoughts to USAP’s Web Analytics Manager, Maia, who I used to share a cubicle with. Sometimes, an entire day would pass by without being able to have an interaction with a human being, save for twits, YMs, and FB chats.
I do, however, have virtual workmates; a client who would bug me on YM every now and then to get updates on my tasks, including a team here in Manila who’s doing the work with me on a freelance basis. Simple tasks delegated to them are often delayed though because they’re only doing it freelance, and that’s another thing I have to deal with. Not that I’m complaining. However frustrating sometimes, it’s one of the things I expected to encounter when I took this job anyway. Besides, my autistic, anti-social self somehow enjoys working alone. :)
Delayed remittances, taxes, HR stuff
While most people would wait for the 15th and the 30th of the month to get their salaries, those dates do not mean anything to me. Managing my finances is something I have to master, (ohhh and am failing at, lol) since salary does not come like clockwork. I have to file my own taxes as well, and SSS, etc — oh the pain. I do not have a health card also, hence, I have to pay for my own medicines and trips to the hospital. I have to personally work on getting my ITR if I want to apply for a car loan, or a credit card, etc. The paperwork part sucks.
STILL, IT’S AWESOME
There are a lot of pains to working at home, however, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else at this point in my life. Of course we can always find something wrong about everything, but one has to prioritize what you acknowledge to be most important in your life. To some, it’s stability and getting semi-monthly paychecks on time, or the training that comes with working with a team, for which they have to endure the pains of a corporate set-up. To others, it’s having the freedom to do things at their own pace and time, and to venture in business opportunities where they can be their own boss, for which they have to take the leap and find clients that would hire them to do home-based work.
For me, I recognize that this where God wants me to be right now, and so far, I’m loving it, for all the reasons stated above.
30 Days of Awesome, 20/30.