Why a Work-at-Home Job Will Never Give You The Independence You Crave
“Monday is great if I can spend it in bed.”
- Arthur Darvill
Mondays suck, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear the collective groans around the world as the Sun shines down on each time zone.
Tuesday isn’t much better, but you grit your teeth anyway until hump day finally arrives. This is it, you’re on your way. It’s all downhill from here, into the arms of your favorite friend Friday.
It’s as if nothing matters because freedom is only few hours away. Well, temporary freedom, also known as the weekend. You’ve made it!
It’s finally here.
But time flies when you’re having fun. And you can’t enjoy the entire weekend anyway because halfway through Sunday anxiety is going to kick in. Another Monday is only one sleep away and you’ll back where you started.
If only there was a way to work from home. To wake up peacefully Monday morning, without an alarm clock, and enjoy the aromas of bacon, toast and coffee. To start your day on your own terms, without the stress, anxiety and despair.
It’s An Epidemic!
Study’s claim that 9 out of 10 people are unhappy with their job, which should be a surprise. But it’s not.
Maybe it’s your commute, your co-workers or even your boss. And don’t get me started on the backstabbing and office politics.
Maybe it’s just too busy because someone’s too cheap to hire the right number of people to get the job done.
In some rare instances, the workplace may even be abusive.
You’re not alone and I suspect you know that. You probably talk about it to your family, friends and co-workers. And they probably feel the same way too.
There’s a reason for rush hour traffic. Everyone on the road is going through it too. You might even call it an epidemic.
In contrast, a work-at-home job sounds like a dream and in some ways it is. I mean, you wouldn’t be stuck at stoplights every day, or bumping elbows with strangers on a bus.
You’d spend less money on food and clothes, and you’d live wherever you want.
Fewer expenses and less stress. In theory, you’d have more time for the things you love, more time with your family and you wouldn’t have to answer to a boss. At least not one who’s looking over your shoulder.
It all sounds wonderful but is it really?
The Wonderful Myth of Working at Home is A Big Fat Lie!
As someone who works from home I won’t say it’s bad, because it’s not. There are huge benefits to working from home but they need to be put in perspective.
The independence you might think comes with working at home is a myth.
First, a work-at-home job is still a job. You’re trading hours for dollars and in most cases the dollars are a lot smaller.
Second, you’re not free from responsibility. In fact, you may even have more.
Third, life’s pretty good when you make your own schedule, but the more time you’re out of the traditional workplace, the more painful it is to imagine going back.
It’s kind of like a trap, and it creates a lot of pressure.
It can feel like the good times won’t last and unless you’ve got a second household income to survive on, you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.
No job is guaranteed, but if your regular job is more secure than your home job, then working for someone else might give you more peace of mind. And when it comes to being free and independent, there’s something to be said about peace of mind.
If You Think You Work Hard Now, Just Wait Until You Work From Home
There’s also more work involved like tracking expenses, purchasing and maintaining any equipment that’s needed to do your job. You might have to take courses you won’t get paid for.
All these things add up and you may actually have less time for yourself, not more.
You also have distractions at home that don’t exist in the workplace.
Your kids want attention, the messy kitchen is calling, and of course… Facebook is just one browser tab away.
If you’re married, you may even have a spouse who makes certain assumptions about getting things done around the house since you’re home all day.
You still have “Mondays”, they’re just different. Just because you have the choice of staying in bed and waiting until Tuesday doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. It’s not like calling in sick to a regular job where you’re coworkers will pick up your slack.
At home, it’s only you. No one is coming to your rescue.
The work-at-home lifestyle may look great from the outside. It might appear to be independent, but as I’m sure you know, the grass isn’t always greener.
Sometimes a simple job that doesn’t come home with you isn’t so bad, even if it sucks when you’re there.
So, if a work-at-home job doesn’t give you the independence you’re looking for, what will?
How To Make Phat Stacks of Cash While Dreaming Between Your Cozy Sheets
Passive income is defined by earnings derived from an enterprise in which a person is not actively involved.
In other words, it’s the proverbial get paid while you sleep.
Of course, it’s not that easy but if there’s a path to independence, it’s passive income. The ability to do what you want while money pours into your bank account.
Okay, maybe it doesn’t pour into your bank so much as trickle, and it might not resemble phat stacks of cash — but having enough to live comfortably without going to work every day would qualify as independence for most people.
Examples of passive income would be money from rental properties you own, dividends from investments or sales of a book you wrote.
You can also earn passive income online, but making passive income online differs from a work-at-home job in one big way. You won’t get paid.
At least, you won’t get paid immediately — which for most people is a problem. You’re still caught between a rock and a hard place.
Who can afford to work without pay? And, doing what you’re already doing isn’t working either, so what’s the answer?
The Price of Freedom is “Sacrifice”
Whether it’s fast food, easy credit or the perfect lives of the people we follow on Instagram, society is obsessed with instant results. Or at least, easy results.
But earning passive income is anything but easy. It takes time, effort and sacrifice. It means giving up the very things you’re after, also known as sacrifice.
To get more independence you’re going to have to give up independence. To get more time with your family, you’ll have to give up time with your family.
To have more of the things you want, you’re going to have to give up the things you want and… well, you get the idea.
Basically, you’ll need to invest your time, efforts and maybe even some money into creating something that one day generates passive income.
What that something is depends on what you’re interested in. You can’t do it just for money, and I’ll explain why…
If You’re Chasing Money, You’re Missing The Point
Most people want more out of life and they want their independence. They’re even willing to sacrifice.
What they don’t want is to sacrifice for nothing. To invest a ton of time and/or money into something that doesn’t pay off.
Their fear leads to indecision and for some, paralysis. It’s overwhelming and on most days, binge watching Netflix seems like the best option.
And that’s why you need to do what you’re interested in, because money is never guaranteed. The time and effort you invest might not give you the passive income you want, or the independence, but it will give you something.
It’ll give you an entirely new set of skills and maybe even a little fun.
That’s the real value you should be chasing. Money is just a byproduct of what you know how to do.
If you like writing for example, your book that never sells is not a failure or a waste of time. It’s an opportunity to become a better writer, and who knows where being a better writer takes you.
The Beatles had no idea that practicing and playing clubs in Liverpool would one day take them from amateur unknowns to one of the most famous and influential rock bands in history.
I’m not saying you’ll become rich and famous, but let’s say you’re interested in finance and numbers. You can’t look at investing in pure monetary terms — as win or lose, but rather an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of becoming the financial wizard you want to be.
The same is true if your interest is real estate.
Maybe an online business is your thing and while most who fail to make money online will simply close their laptop lid and say, “see, it doesn’t work”… a few will walk away with an entirely new set of skills they can build upon and apply somewhere else that gets them closer to their goal.
Your time and effort is never for nothing, unless you want it to be. And it’s not the “thing” you do that generates passive income and independence… it’s the skills you acquire along the way.
A mechanic doesn’t go to school to fix a car. They go to school to acquire the skills they need to fix cars. And, when they graduate, they don’t earn a full-time income because they fixed a car. They earn it because they now know how to fix cars.
In other words, if you want to earn passive income and independence, you can’t focus on those as your goal. You must focus on the skills you need to achieve those goals, and just as importantly, a strategic combination of skills that’ll give you the unique ability to do what most people can’t do.
Let me explain…
Becoming Extraordinary Is Easier Than You Think
Whether you work in an office, on a construction site or five feet from your bed, creating the independence you want requires a strategy — a plan to build something that one day provides passive income.
But it’s impossible to have a strategy if you limit your options to only those things that generate immediate money.
What do I mean?
Well, something like Uber or delivering pizza will generate immediate income in your spare time, but even if you save every penny, you’re not going to get much closer to your independence.
You could shop clearance deals around town and sell them for profit on eBay, but again… those are not passive income strategies.
The list of things you can do to earn immediate income is limited but when you take a skills approach, instead of an income approach, you open yourself up to endless options.
So, what’s a skills approach?
Unlike an income approach where you’re limited to things that produce income, a skills approach is doing something that produces skills, of which you have countless options.
This allows you to do what Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, calls talent stacking, which is what I meant when I said a strategic combination of skills.
Talent stacking is the idea that you can combine ordinary skills in the right kind of way to become extraordinary. It’s a strategy, and it requires that you focus on skills rather than money.
And it’s your talent stack that has commercial value.
As Scott puts it, “I’m not much of an artist, not much of a business expert, and my writing skills are mostly self-taught. I’m funny, but not the funniest person in my town. The reason I can succeed without any world-class skills is that my talent stack is so well-designed.”
If you shift your focus from trading time for money to time for skill development, you create value with everything you do. You transform what others consider ordinary into something that’s extraordinary.
If you play a musical instrument or plan to learn, you can combine that skill with blogging or social media marketing and sell courses online. If you enjoy dogs, baking, and customer service… you’re a dog-biscuit-business away from independence.
Okay, maybe it’s not that simple, but nothing worth doing is. There’s a reason most people are stuck in jobs they hate. It’s hard to earn a living doing something you love and people want their efforts to count for something.
My suggestion is that your efforts do count for something — that the skills you learn and the experiences you gain as you work towards independence are something.
And, as Scott Adams says, it’s the right combination of ordinary skills, which anyone can develop, that makes you extraordinary.
You Can’t Lose!
Your goal of independence is within reach and although a work-at-home job isn’t the answer, it is a positive first step.
You’ll still have “Mondays” but hey, even if sleeping in is a bad idea, it feels great having the choice.
So no, I do not want to discourage you from a work-at-home job. I earn my income from home and if you can do it, I highly recommend it.
And you may also have legitimate reasons to work from home, such as health, children to look after, or difficulty finding work in a tough economy.
But don’t expect it to give you independence. At least, not the “laptop lifestyle”some gurus would have you believe.
For that, you’ll have to do something different. You’ll have to give up something now in exchange for the life you want later, but this is absolutely possible.
Whether it’s a book, business, blog, or an investment portfolio… creating an asset that generates passive income (and independence) is what you want, and it’s something you can do. When the true value of your efforts are found in the skills you develop and the person you become, you can’t lose.
Not to mention the abundance of opportunity you open yourself up to.
Imagine having the life you want. To wake up everyday without an alarm and become the subject of envy among your friends.
Doing what you must may feel like sacrifice today, but what else are you going to do?
You can watch TV or scroll Facebook while admiring someone else’s life. You can hope for a flash of inspiration and a perfect opportunity.
Or, you can take action today and learn something new. Build your talent stack and invest in yourself, even if you’re not sure yet what you want to do, or where your journey will take you.
Discovering yourself along the way is part of the adventure, and before long you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come.
It may be a cliche but it’s true — There’s no time like the present. Today is the perfect day to get started.
Originally published at gighustlers.com on March 12, 2019.