I am writing an article on working from home as an Independent Contractor. I have been working from my home office for the past eight years as a Graphic Artist and Web Designer. Now, many people have the impression that when you work from home, you sit around eating bon-bons all day. Why this is, I really do not know? But I guess it's the same impression people get of a stay-at-home mom too. This is farthest from the truth for all of us. And to think I use to also do this when our son was at home. But we have been "empty-nesters" for almost 5 years now.
My normal day begins by first fixing breakfast for my husband, cat and dog. After the little morning "routine" is finished, I sit down at my computer and begin looking for website updates that need to be done by clients. On a normal morning upon opening my e-mails I will have anywhere from 20 to 50 new messages to filter through -- that's on a good day. If there are no website updates from my clients, I will continue designing graphics to upload my artwork onto the hundreds of products available in my online stores and galleries. I also have several of my own websites where I promote other companies and earn affiliate commissions. These websites have to be constantly updated in order to keep the attention of potential customers.
I also do media and secretarial work for the Senior Pastor of our church. At the beginning of each week I will transcribe his two Sunday sermons into a typed format and also convert them into MP3 files. Then, I will upload the MP3 sermons into the iTunes store for a podcast and also onto the church website, for anyone to listen to. A couple times each week, I will also check into different marketing venues since our church is fairly new to the community.
I will stop working for approximately 30 minutes to prepare lunch for when my husband comes home and also for me to take a short break.
Once I am alone again, sometimes I will begin a load of laundry or take care of the dishes, whether it's washing them by hand and loading or unloading the dishwasher.
Upon returning to my computer, I check through my e-mails and take short breaks by checking Facebook and maybe playing a couple games, to break up the stress of graphic design and web design. Or even sometimes I am procrastinating working on something that I know is going to take me a very long time to finish or trying to figure out how I am going to design it.
Now don't get me wrong, I really do love designing new artwork and creating web designs to help others bring their visions into reality. But I honestly have to say working from home is a lot harder than going out of the house and into an office where you can normally leave at the end of the day and go home and do what needs to be done or even just relaxing. The other thing I miss about not working in an office is the interaction I don't have with other people during my day. I guess this is why I enjoy checking my Facebook and also coming here to Shared Reviews because it gives me a sense of having coworkers.
Yes, I usually prepare dinner for when and my husband gets home. And he normally takes care of the dinner dishes. However, our "dinners" are sometimes very rushed, because during the week we go to prayer service on Monday night, Bible College on Tuesday night, being Youth Pastors on Wednesday night, Life Groups on Thursday night and pray that we have Friday and Saturday nights free, but this is a rarity too. For if we do have a Friday or Saturday night available, we normally spend this time frame cleaning up around the house or maybe just taking an hour of sitting and watching some TV.
If by chance we do not have anywhere to go one evening, this is where my day does not end. I have a habit of returning to my computer and going through the same routine that I've already mentioned above. You see, working virtually doesn't have set office hours. In this environment, you are pretty much at that beck and call at all hours of the day. If someone has an urgent request regarding their web site, I will not put it off and I will take care of it immediately.
I know that being an Independent Contractor leaves me open to constantly be working for other people and not have the "normal" office hours as many people do. I am also at the mercy of someone actually being able to pay me on time for my work, but I guess being a multi-tasker, and the fact that I really do enjoy being creative, it all works out. It's just a small downside to what I do pretty much every day and I make a decent income in the meantime. Of course being on a 1099 is not best thing in the world and I have no insurance being self-employed, but I do have freedom during my day and have the ease of being able to schedule appointments, or taking off and need not worry about my "employer" not being supportive.
I guess in closing, whereas my "typical day" as an Independent Contractor may not be the career path for many, it really is working out well for me. But please don't ever assume that any stay-at-home mom or Independent Contractor is sitting home doing nothing in their daytime. I take my hat off to many others like me or in similar situations that have to juggle so many other tasks that just don't hit you in the face when you are able to go out and work a 9 to 5 job.
Sometimes just getting out of the house and away from the household chores and work I have on my computer is enough for me to be rejuvenated and come back and do it all again day after day.
Update On Jan 22, 2010: I forgot to add Sunday to my daily list. On Sunday, we have church service at 10:30am and 6:00pm. I run the PowerPoint during worship and all of the announcements and sermons that our Pastor wants up on the screen. Sunday goes by quite fast for us.
Update On Mar 03, 2010: Well, my taxes are filed and I can sit back another year before going through this again. Of course it doesn't have to be such a nightmare if you keep records when you are on a 1099.
I'd advise anyone wishing to be independent to keep all of your receipts and use a software program that allows you to later import all of those expenses into your tax program the following year. Intuit offers Quicken and then allows importing into Turbo Tax. I will be using Quicken this year for sure.
Remember, that when you are on a 1099, YOU have to pay those taxes since there is no employer to do them for you. Either save enough money out to pay what you owe at the end of the year or have all of your deductions and expenses ready to input. If you estimate 35% of your total income to pay back, then you will be ok just in case you don't have deductions or many business expenses. And anytime you earn over $600 from any single 1099, you ARE required to file that income.