With the rise of technology and social media, more and more people are working from home. This includes designers, bloggers, podcasters, writers, and many more professions.
Tony Federico, the vice president of marketing for Natural Force, began working entirely from home in January 2017. Before January, he worked both from home and as a personal trainer. Federico first began working at home when he started a blog titled, Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction.
“While blogging was a good creative outlet, and it was fun, it was probably going to be better for me to use the blog as practice for getting my foot in the door with bigger-scale publications,” said Federico.
After his blog was up and running, Federico began pitching stories to Paleo Magazine, where he was eventually offered a regular column and a podcast channel. Federico did all of his work for Paleo Magazine at home while keeping his job as a personal trainer.
“The thing is, writing a personal blog, you may be able to put some Google ads or affiliate links through Amazon on [the blog], but it’s not going to come close to paying the bills,” said Federico. “Working for Paleo Magazine started to provide me with some more substantial income because I was getting paid for articles and podcasts and things like that…But it was still far from what I needed to pay a mortgage.”
When Federico began working for Natural Force, he was able to quit his other jobs because he was able to make enough money to support himself.
Angela Zhou, the owner of AngeTheArtist, a jewelry making business on Etsy, was also able to quit her waitressing job once she started to make enough money through her shop.
“I used to have another job for my main source of income as a waitress and cashier, but I hated the work and time spent for measly pay. So when I started making pretty good money from Etsy, about one to two months in, I quit my old job. Now I mainly focus on school and [my Etsy shop], which is my little baby that I love,” said Zhou
Zhou is able to earn a sustainable income from just her Etsy shop, but this is not always the case with people who use Etsy.
Heather (who did not want to give her last name), the owner of Purple Owl Products—another jewelry making business on Etsy, also relies on money from a pension due to her Chronic Fatigue.
“I would not be able to support myself on an income from making jewelry,” said Heather.
This is a similar case for Caitlin Swim, who runs a sticker-making business on Etsy and calls herself “The Plangineer.” Swim also works at Whirlpool, so she has enough money to make a living.
“[My sticker-making business] is definitely not my main source of income. I am, right now, an intern at Whirlpool, so that’s my main source of income, and I kind of just [make stickers] on the side. I like to do it so I can have a little bit better justification for spending money,” said Swim. “I’ve always thought about dabbling in making this a full time position, but it’s just not stable enough for me to be able to make an income to live off of.”
Benefits and downsides
Even though it may be difficult to earn a sustainable income from solely working at home, there are still many benefits that working at home offers that office jobs do not.
“For me personally, the benefits of working from home far outweigh the negatives. I am not physically or mentally capable of working at the pace of most people due to my disability, so being able to work from home enables me to actually work and not waste my days doing nothing,” said Heather. “If I need to rest, then I am able to. I work at a pace that suits me, and I don’t have to explain why to a boss.”
For both Swim and Federico, the main benefit to working at home is wearing whatever you want and not having to worry about judgment in the comfort of your own home.
Federico also points out that he saves a lot of money and time by not having to commute to work or getting ready in the morning and that he is present to look over the work done by handyman services.
Summer Segar, the creator of Sun Dream Designs, just began her working at home experience and loves not having a boss and having the opportunity to make her own hours.
“I can go work or create wherever I feel enlightened. For me [that is] somewhere outdoors,” said Segar.
While there are many benefits to working at home, there are also some downsides.
“Sometimes it’s hard to separate work a relaxation time. It’s easy to just keep on working [instead of] putting time for yourself aside,” said Segar.
Swim, who is also an engineering student, sometimes finds it difficult to make time for her work.
“There’s always things that need to be done, so it’s really hard to justify, ‘oh yeah I really need to work,’ because no one is telling me I need to work for this pay for this many hours. I have to have my own motivation and self-discipline in order to get it done and have the orders ship on time,” said Swim. “If I don’t market enough, I don’t get the money that I expect to get.”
Zhou agrees that the marketing side of working at home can be difficult.
“The Etsy business depends on how hard you work on your business. You have to foster your business and help it grow just like it’s your own child and do a lot of marketing, expanding, deals, research etc. if you want to make a pretty lucrative business,” said Zhou. “If you take the time to research and learn about SEO and Internet Marketing for your own business, you can really take it to the next level. Check out this recommended SEO reading guide: https://placementseo.com/onsite-seo-checklist/. They teach a ton of valuable information on Onsite SEO for online businesses.
Heather says her main negative aspect is that she is isolated when she is working from home, but she does make it a priority to be with people while she is not working.
This is the opposite for Federico, who is constantly communicating with people all over the country for his job.
“Working from home, you’re still working with people all day, and all day I’m getting messages,” said Federico. “With that kind of technology, I do get my fill of social interaction, and I am able to communicate very easily with my co-workers. So I don’t feel like I’m working alone even though I’m working at home.”
Social media aid
The rise of technology and social media makes it easier for those who work at home to communicate and advertise their products.
“Using Instagram helps my sales because people come to my shop, see my [stickers] on Instagram in a very clear layout, and I [am able to] post all my sales on Instagram too,” said Swim, who does most of her marketing on Instagram.
Segar also uses Instagram as her main source of marketing.
“Social media is great because it allows me to spread the word about my business without ever having to leave my home. It’s a great avenue for connecting with customers and also receiving feedback about my business,” said Segar. “I use [social media] to announce launches, interact with customers, and even address problems and concerns through direct messages on Instagram and Facebook.”
While it is important to spread word of your business through social media, those who work from home agree that having a routine is essential to being successful.
Federico does have regular 9-to-5 hours while he works at home. Every work day he wakes up, works out, checks his email, social media, etc., and then sets up for his day. He is able to find time for movement breaks throughout his day and a 20 minute lunch break.
Heather begins her day by checking emails and messages from her customers on Etsy and Ebay. She then spends her day printing off orders, making jewelry, and stocking her inventory.
Zhou spends her days making necklaces in an assembly line format and painting beads while watching Netflix.
Because Segar just launched her design brand, her day mostly consists of checking email and social media, logging and preparing orders for shipping, and analyzing costs.
“The hand-drawn designs on the clothing take an average of two to three hours each, then another hour to transfer onto clothing. I choose the designs based on current art I’m working on and photos I’ve taken,” said Segar.
Working from home has become more popular with the rise of social media and technology, but it may not be for everyone.
“Having some practice is good. If someone is thinking of working from home they should try it before they go all in…Start with some self-directed, independent work in conjunction with your regular job,” said Federico.