How Working From Home Has Helped Me Get Through the Recession

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This is a guest post by Kathryn Vercillo. Kathryn is a writer for which gives away free coupon codes and also publishes a save money blog. She quit her day job long ago so she could work from home and discusses why she is now better able to cope with the recession as a result.

I started working from home nearly ten years ago. There were numerous reasons that working from home made the most sense for my life. However, earning a good income was not ever one of those reasons.

As far as the financial risks go, I wasn’t sure if working from home was a good idea. And I’ll admit that I made a lot of mistakes along the way which caused me financial trouble. Nevertheless the benefits outweighed the costs. And what I’ve discovered is that the financial lessons that I learned from deciding to work at home are lessons that have helped me to weather the recession better than a lot of people I know who continue to work in the corporate world.

Some of the recession-fighting benefits of working from home have included:

  • Ebbs and flows in income don’t frighten me. One of the scariest things about the recession is that it’s causing income changes for everyone. I accepted from the day that I decided to work at home that there would be ups and downs in my income stream. I’ve learned to budget, save and accommodate for those changes. I’ve been lucky in that the recession hasn’t changed my income much but also in that I would know how to get by if it did. People who have been relying on a corporate salary for years may not feel so confident in this.
  • I feel some control over what I earn. A major reason that I don’t worry much about my income is because I feel like I have control over what I earn to at least a small degree. Working from home usually means that you earn an income in proportion to the effort that you put into your work. If I need more money, I work harder to market my business and to create new products that I can sell. Boosting your income isn’t as easy when you work for a set salary at a job.
  • I understand online marketing. Working from home for me has meant working on the web. This means that I’ve had a lot of time to learn online marketing. Many people today are struggling to catch up in this area which puts me one step ahead in trying to find jobs, customers and people who support my work.
  • I’m happy with the work that I do. Ultimately, the key reason that working from home benefits me during the recession is that I love what I do. I took the chance on working from home because I wanted to do work that mattered to me in a space that I love. Even if the recession tightens up the flow of money, I feel content knowing that I can wake up and do work I enjoy.

Being in a recession certainly isn’t easy for any of us. However, the skills and experiences that I gained while working from home have served me well during this time.

Do you gave a question for Kathyrn? Please leave your questions in the comment section below.

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8 thoughts on “How Working From Home Has Helped Me Get Through the Recession”

  1. Hi Kathryn,

    Thanks for the guest post Kathyrn. I thought I’d start the round of questions with a few of my own

    What portion of your income is derived online and how long did it take you to start making meaningful money working from home?

    Could you elaborate more on some of the mistakes you made that got you into financial trouble?

    What was your primary motivation for working from home?

  2. @ Steve … Thanks for putting up my guest post and for your curiosity about my work. To answer your questions:

    – I’ve been working full-time as a web writer for nearly five years. I’ve done a couple of small offline projects during that time but I’d say that 99% of my income comes from my online work. Most of that work is doing blogging and social promotion for other businesses but I also do articles for some sites.

    – Meaningful money, huh? I suppose that depends on what you define as meaningful. I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country and I started out this endeavor with a lot of personal debt. It took me about three years of full-time web work to get to the point where I was able to actually pay all of my monthly bills and have a little bit left over every month. However, if I’d been living back in my hometown (in AZ) then I would’ve been earning enough in the first year to do that. In the fourth year, I managed to make enough to pay off all of my outstanding debt.

    – There were two big mistakes that I made financially when I launched my own business working from home. The first was that I moved to this expensive city. :) It was well worth it because I love it here but it was also really tough to make a go of it in this situation. The second was that I quit all of my other jobs to be able to do this full-time. It ended up working out for me but it meant that I was living off of credit cards for a couple of years which clearly isn’t a good way to fund a new business. :)

    – In all honesty, my primary motivation for doing this work was that I really hate going to a job. I hate being on anyone else’s schedule or having a boss looking over my shoulder. I want to be able to do things on my own time or to take vacations without asking permission. And I like being able to sleep in until I’m not tired each day rather than waking up to an alarm. That said, I wouldn’t do this work if I didn’t also enjoy doing it.



  3. Sorry for bombarding you Kathyrn. Here are a few more.

    You mentioned that one of your biggest financial mistakes was that you quit all of your other jobs to be able to write full time. On this blog, I always try to encourage everyone to keep their main job and do something on the side until the side job starts making decent money. If you were to do it all over again, would you have kept your main job while starting your freelance career or did you just hate going to a job too much?

    You mentioned that one of the benefits of working from home is that you have a better understanding of online marketing. Would you have picked up these skills at your old day job? What specific skills did you gain working from home that you could not have attained at your day job?

  4. @ Steve … Those are great questions.

    I generally recommend to people to do what you’ve said which is to keep working at a main job while launching a new job. Ideally, you would cut back on the main job while increasing hours at the side job until the side job becomes the main job. However, that advice doesn’t seem to actually work out too well for me. I seem to do much better if I can go whole hog with something. In fact, I’m hoping to make a transition to new work in 3-4 years and my goal is to take a solid year off of work entirely in order to make that happen. However, I’m doing it differently this time in that I’m trying to save up enough money to live off of during that time. So, for me, the best option seems to be staying at a job long enough to save the money that I need to start a new job.

    As far as what I’ve learned from working at home that I didn’t learn from working at a job … the line of work that I was in before was entirely different from what I do now. I was working in social work which means that I really didn’t do anything online. I gained a lot of great skills in regards to working with people one-on-one but I didn’t learn anything about business, online networking or web interactions which is what I’ve learned from working at home.

  5. Hi Kathryn,
    I began working from home for all of the same reasons as yourself! I started my shop in January of this year and quit my full-time job in April to stay home. My big scare came in June when the store came to a complete standstill (after doing so well the prior months)! Needless to say, I freaked, started looking for part-time work (no luck there) and wondered if I was really doing the right thing. I have started having weekly sales and introducing new products to keep things interesting and I can see the past couple of weeks, the store started picking up a little. I would like to ask how you prepare yourself for the “slowdown” period and if you have any tips to stay afloat.
    Thank you for your time!

  6. @ Toma … Congrats to you for making a go of it with your store! I think that the best thing that we can do in situations like this is to keep on working on new marketing to build up the business. Even when things are slowed down, there’s a lot that we can do to spread the word, attract new clients and build a better foundation for our businesses. It’s tough, of course, because we have to pay the bills in the meantime. Still, I think that if we focus on creative and innovative ways of growing our work then the money will come through.

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