11 October 2008

Working from home... and loving it!

A few months ago, I began working on my own as an editor and writer. And I must say that I like the experience, with all its accompanying risks. I had never realized that there is such a market out there for good freelance writers and editors in India. After working in all kinds of companies – MNCs, newspapers, proprietary firms, start-ups – I thought I had seen it all.

But working from home has its own rules, which, if followed, will work well for you. A few things I learnt from my short stint as a freelance writer and editor are:
a. Discipline. There’s no one to watch over you, which is good and bad. It’s up to you to keep your mind on track all the time, without giving in to tempting distractions like watching TV or chatting/talking to family and friends during work hours.

b. Clarity. The terms of work should be very clear between you and your client. If something is not getting through over e-mail or chat, call your client and discuss it thoroughly. Unless you completely understand your role, do not commit to anything. And if the client says the details can be worked out later, insist on doing it before you take on the task.

c. Do not compromise. You should know what your rock bottom price is and, however hard the client bargains, do not go below this. At the end of the day, after all the hard work, you want to be satisfied with what you earned. Otherwise, what’s the point? You might as well take up a regular job.

d. Be fair to yourself and your client. There is only so much humanly possible. Keep this in mind when taking on new assignments.

e. Take time off. You might end up working all the time and sometimes it may be necessary. But take at least an hour off each day in which you do only what you love to do.

f. Smile. Yes, handling clients can be tough, but relax: at least you don't have a boss to manage. How many people can afford such luxury?

Working on your own can be dicey, as you never know if a client will come back or not. But good work is noticed, and what the heck? No job is secure unless you are employed with the Government of India, is it?

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