Thu 6 Mar 2014
Caroline is 40 and lives with her homeworking partner and two children aged under 13.
Case Study written in 1999 and updated 2002/3
- Q. What do you do?
- A. I run a special interest web site which I started in March 1999 in my spare time. My other home-based job is as a web publisher. A year after I started the site I became a fulltime homeworker having given up an excellent job but it involved a daily commute of 2-3 hours. Becoming a full-time homeworker was a gradual strategy where I shifted to part time working whilst setting up the web site and developing my web skills.
- Q. Where do you work at home?
- A. A corner of the front room at a large 3 metre desk I custom made for my husband (who is a full time homeworker) and me.
- Q. What is the best thing about working from home?
- A. Not commuting. Being near the kids schools in case of emergencies. Not getting up at crack of dawn but still being able to start work earlier than normal.
- Q. What are the negative points about working at home?
- A. Fear of not having a regular and steady income. Not being able to shut up shop at the end of the day because one's mind is constantly ticking over even if I'm not actually working.
- Q. What was the deciding factor to help you to decide to work from home?
- A. In early 1999 I was knocked off my motorbike commuting home from work one evening. Although I wasn't seriously hurt I could have been: I was thrown into the path of oncoming traffic. It made me re-evaluate my life and consider what I wanted and where I was going. Although I had a good job I felt I now needed to be nearer home and to begin to be my own boss.
- Q. Do you manage to keep your work and home life separate?
- A. Sometimes, when I make the effort. The edges are blurred and tend to want to work very hard to build up the website and the business. Interestingly the kids have mixed views where they either assume I don't really work and on the other hand complain at times that I am always working.
- Q. How do you manage your time?
- A. I make plans. I set small targets that are easy to achieve and tick off. I have a computer diary with alarm reminders that are easy to set. When I became a full time homeworker I worked out a plan for the proportion of time I need to spend each week on the incoming generating activities, mainly the web publishing and the time to be spent on site content and site promotion. I have an income target for each month so that when I have achieved that I can spend more time on the site content.
- Q. Does your homeworking pay the bills?
- A. Yes, but only as a combined effort with my homeworking husband and that is mainly from web publishing work. The bottom has long since fallen out of the basic banner advertising market so is not one we pursue, although a number of affiliate links are helpful. I save quite a bit from not having to commute and on work expenses such as lunch and special clothing so I no longer need to earn as much to cover the basics.
- Q. How do you cope with distractions at home?
- A. I am quite determined. What distractions! Seriously though, the only distractions are when the kids are around after school hours. They are quite good about going off to play but having to deal with the inevitable arguments they have is the worst.
- Q. What sort of work did you do before working at home?
- A. A very wide range of work. Administration has been part of my life for the last 10 years but previous to that I have worked with children and hotel and catering. Homeworking jobs I have done on and off at various points in my life have included secretarial/personal assistant work, data input, carpentry and catering. All these jobs have paid well enough and have come through word of mouth. I have done a lot of voluntary work in my time and getting out and about like this has lead to people finding out about my skills.
- Q. What two pieces of advice would you suggest to someone considering working from home?
- A. 1. Find a niche that is right for you and until then be realistic.
2. Be clear about WHY you want to work at home, not just superficially but deep down 'why'. If working at home is right for you then the other details will fall into place.
- Q. Anything else you feel needs to be said?
- A. Nothing is ever said about the benefits of homeworking on relationships! I work hard but still have more time with my kids whilst my partner and I can take time out to share quality time together during the day when we are not exhausted and make up for it (if necessary) by working in the evening after the kids have gone to bed.
- Until I had realised I wanted to put together this special interest web site I would not have really considered working full time at home. Also doing the web publishing work is fulfilling a dream to be creative and meticulous whilst working on a computer. Being able to do it at home is the icing on the cake!