Like any other job, I have good days and not-so-good days… and nights. Sometimes, when I’m still at it in the post-midnight hours, I’ve been known to utter a “WTF am I doing?!” Sometimes going from a Skype call to a blog post to my kid’s soccer practice means I can’t squeeze in a shower. But then again, my job doesn’t require showers!
Maybe you are considering making a job/career out of creating online content. If so, here are some of the ups and downs that I’ve experienced in the past five years of my online career.
1) I work from home –- no commute, no dress code, no inter-office politics. I love being able to create the work environment that suits me best: I’m naturally an introvert and work best when it’s quiet -– no chit chat, no muzac, no office drama. I love the efficiency of rolling out of bed and cracking open the laptop, without wasting a minute getting from one place to another. I have my whole pantry available for lunch and the “occasional” snack — I get sustenance without having to run out and waste too much time. And best of all, I get the pleasure of working side-by-side with my best bud, who is a great listener and as such, has seen me through many a career-crisis and helped me make the most brilliant, insightful business decisions; whose only requirement is a midday walk and potty break but always appreciates a tummy rub.
2) My schedule is flexible – isn’t this the reason most moms want this gig? Yes, I can pick up my kids at 3:30 and show up for the 2nd grade play, chaperone the field trip, and shuttle kids to orthodontists and doctors, etc. It truly fills my heart when I feel like I’m a part of the goings on in the lives of my small people — it seems like they are growing up too fast as it is.
3) I work with other mom entrepreneurs. These are my people. They get me! This is significant in reference to #2 – they are also shuttling kids and conducting highly strategic conference calls in minivans full of rug rats. No need to pretend that we’re in schmancy corporate conference rooms, wearing panty hose.
4) I’m portable. My “office” is only limited by my access to WiFi. So work doesn’t have to come to a screeching halt if I want a change of scenery for a few hours, weekend, or a week!
5) I call the shots. I can make red light/green light decisions sans political posturing and bureaucracy. The time between decision and execution is minimal. I love that my business can be nimble and innovative because there’s none of the lag time that naturally occurs with larger organizations.
Of course, each of those comes with it’s flip-side, down-side.
1) I work from home – by myself. If I want input on a project/task assignment, there’s no poking my head over the cubicle wall or popping into someone’s office to get another opinion. Of course, there’s the phone, Twitter or Skype… but #2 coupled with #3 also means that you never know if the person you need is going to pick up or @reply for your spur of the moment consultation.
2) My schedule is flexible. Like any entrepreneur, I’m not a clock puncher — which means I’m never really off the clock. Owning a business is not a 40 hour a week proposition. Period. Try 60-80… and because I want to pick my kids up at 3:30 means I have a five-hour work day to accomplish a daily average of 10 hours worth of work. Hmmm… this is why no-commute, no-stopping-for-lunch, and no-showers-required are essential parts of the equation.
3) I work with other mom entrepreneurs. It’s tough to find a downside to “they get me!” other than the obvious – we’re all working around nap times, feeding schedules, sleep deprivation, and screaming kids!!!!
4) I’m portable. That change of scenery a.k.a. vacations are rarely work-free because… well, I’m portable.
5) I call the shots. And sometimes, I miss. There is no board of directors or team of advisers that are built-in hedge betters and devil’s advocates. It helps that Suzanne and Jen are incredibly savvy, brilliant women so that keeps the miss count down. I highly recommend partnerships like this because there is nothing like knowing that you do have someone to bounce ideas off of – someone who as much skin in the game as you do.
So there you have it. My attempt at a balanced picture of this unconventional career. I’m sure there are many other pros and cons. Feel free to add your own.
photo credit: stock xchng
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