This article appeared in print as part of “Remote Control”
With a growing gig economy, remote work isn’t just for employees. Think you have what it takes to walk away from your steady paying job and start your own business? Here are some important factors to consider (from someone who’s done it).
- Get comfortable with accountability. Realize that you’re the only one keeping you on track. Start to think of a to-do list more like a must-do list each day. And be real with yourself when you aren’t performing up to par. “You have to hold yourself accountable to what you’re going to get done that day,” says Amanda Quick, owner of The Hatchery, a co-working space in Columbia.
- Know yourself. You don’t have to follow the advice of every productivity article you read. Know your strengths and what’s possible for you. “There’s all this data about, ‘the top CEOs wake up four hours before they go to work everyday,’” says Amber Monaco, a full-time freelancer and founding member of The Hatchery. “That doesn’t work for me at all. I’m not a morning person.” Not into techy time-tracking apps? Monaco uses pen and paper and has recently started bullet journaling, a quick method of tracking goals and day-to-day activities. “I’ve just really gotten to know my strengths, and I’ve accepted them for what they are.”
- Know what lifestyle you want. Working remotely or starting your own business could affect your income level. Decide if you’re comfortable living within different means. Monaco got rid of many expenses and spent two years traveling around the world and working from whatever coffee shop or co-working space she could find. Her decrease in expenses made a decrease in income work for her.
- Confront the possibility of failure. Monaco wanted to be realistic about the risks involved in her new venture. “What am I going to do when I run out of money? What am I going to do if my sister needs a new kidney and I have to come back tomorrow?” she says. “So I had to get over and really let go of those things. I had to come to terms with the fact that failure is a real, real option.”