Not all freelancers are introverts, of course, but those who are, it can seem like the ultimate dream job – with a few caveats.
A brief clarification: Extroverted people aren’t necessarily outgoing social butterflies, it just means that they get their energy from being around other people. They like working as part of a group and enjoy being out and about; being at home can make them feel lethargic or even bored. Introverted people are, naturally, the opposite of that. They may not be shy, but being around other people is exhausting, and even a simple dinner party can use up all their energy. They feel much better and get more done by working alone or at least being in a calm, quiet environment with few others around. So you can see why freelancing is so appealing for many introverts.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows (yet). Working in the idyllic space of your living room has its own share of challenges.
#1 – Working from Home
Pros: It’s all there in the title: you get to work from home! Probably in your pajamas! All day! You don’t have commute for hours in the car or deal with annoying coworkers and an overbearing boss. You can take breaks whenever you want, and work whatever time you want – day, night, or somewhere in between. You’re on no one’s schedule but your own.
Cons: You have to learn how to manage your time. You may have the ability to work whenever, but your clients probably don’t have that luxury. You have to prove yourself as a competent worker by turning your projects in complete and on time. Also, even for the most introverted freelancers, being at home all day may cause a slight case of cabin fever. You have to remember to take a day off by LEAVING the house and running errands, going to the beach, hanging with friends, spending time with family, etc. A social life, even an intimate one, requires a little freedom from your home-slash-work space.
#2 – Text-Only Messaging
Pros: Never having to verbally or physically interact with another person! Immediate responses via email, text, and instant messaging means that if you have a question, you don’t have to wait for a call to go through or a voicemail to be listened to, you can get your answer right now. You can keep all these interactions organized and ready to reference in case you forget a detail or request from a client. You can also talk with family and friends while taking breaks between work tasks. Technology is amazing!
Cons: The problem with text is its ambiguity and vagueness. For the most part, it’s hard to understand exactly what a person means by their message, sarcasm being particularly difficult to detect. And sometimes you and your client needs to relay a lengthy set of instructions or explain a tricky task. It’s usually much faster and easier for one of you to simply call the other and explain in verbal words what needs to be done.
#3 – The Internet
Pros: You have almost of the entirety of human knowledge at your fingertips. Researching a manuscript or double-checking the names in a press release has never been easier. You can learn virtually anything online (pun intended), work from anyplace in your Wi-Fi-enabled home, and write with other people in one document, all without leaving your chair.
Cons: If the Internet is out while you still have work to do, you’re SCREWED.
What about you? What do you think the advantages and/or disadvantages of being an at-home freelancer are? Share your thoughts in the comments below!