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I have been working at home part time for the last 2 years, full time for the last 3 months.
I gave up my full time job at the end of May and opted for working from home, my stress levels at work were through the roof, commuting was a pain (even when I walked to work I got tired of it in the freezing winter) and I just felt unappreciated and underpaid. To get the money I wanted I would have had to work in the city, or private clinic and they wanted blood out of me to earn it.
So, slowly I moved to working at home, I am by profession a Medical Secretary, but with a rather good IT background also. I work for 3 companies now, transcribing medico-legal reports, clinic letters (occasionally I do non medical, transribing interviews and focus groups etc.).
I am doing quite well - at least holding onto the salary i'm used to - but do not be fooled into thinking that its the best thing since sliced bread. It is isolating, being at home, but my husband is at home for half of the week too, which actually makes it easier to get up and work - a good routine also helps, in fact having a dog makes me get up in the morning anyway so that's not a problem. From a medical perspective i'm not sure if I would be earning this much if it were not for my Orthopaedic experience, there is so much of this type of clinic work because of the nature of it (fracture clinics are overflowing with broken bones). For anybody going into medical, many of the companies are not hiring at the moment and those that are want at least 2 years experience in the specialities you wish to type clinics for.
Be aware that you have to pay National Insurance - work out your own tax via self assessment at the end of the year, be disciplined enough to put the money aside to pay the tax man when he asks for it!!! - understand that you do not get paid for being on holiday - or being ill, and you do not get employer pension contributions paid into your own pension and you need your own personal pension.
All that said, i love working at home, my stress levels are very good - being in a routine helps, going out with the dog, a good exercise program and setting a quota of work each day to aspire to.
Some tips for first timers.....
1. Keep good records of who owes you money, do invoices on time and keep receipts for equipment (they are tax deductible at the end of the year).
2. Give yourself targets for each day and try to hit them, do not think "i'll do it tomorrow" by the time the end of the month comes, tomorrow's have run out and you have no money!
3. Be persistent with your applications to be taken on as freelancers - sometimes it takes a couple of goes, mainly because the companies get so many CV's and applications they do not have the time to go through them all, don't be dishearted if you don't hear, it can be frequent, but think "out of 1000 emails perhaps they just lost mine2.
4. Give yourself time away, but don't wander around the house doing housework, its not something you'd do in the daytime anyway, you should be working. Take a lunch break but its sometimes best to just watch the news and not get hitched on a good daytime program, most of it is trash anyway!
5. Try and budget for giving yourself some time off - going over your goals every month may allow you to have an unexpected day off, enjoy it.
6. Put your money for the tax man in a high interest account, it stays there for a year, let it work for you and don't touch it.
7. Be aware you may not always get paid on time and move your direct debits to further along in the month.
8. Take pride in your work and do it if you enjoy it, if you feel you need a break consider a temping agency to get out for a few weeks or days to clear your head.
Finally - be prepared to work hard the first few months, establish yourself and take on work as it comes as often as you can, to show companies that you are reliable and worthwhile sending work t.