As long-time adult educators, we are frequently asked about the benefits of working at home as an independent contractor. It seems that many people are getting tired of the day-to-day grind of getting dressed up, leaving home, and being gone for 8 to 10 hours every day. They miss their children, pets, and many times become very fatigued and disillusioned about the dream of working hard to have many material things, but not having enough time to enjoy them. Having a healthy life-work balance is crucial to life success and happiness. Having money is no fun if you have no time to enjoy it. The dilemma for many people is that they are too young to retire. They must work and bring in income to support themselves and their family. However, in many ways, being a work-at-home independent contractor allows you the best of both worlds. Working from the comfort of your own home has many advantages in the following areas: flexibility, family, income/taxes, and other perks. So, what are the benefits of being a work-at-home contractor?
Legally independent contractors cannot be told “when” or “how” to work but can be told when the job is to be completed. So, if one is working as a medical transcriptionist, for example, they would be told when the work must be transcribed and returned, but when it’s actually done and how it’s done is up to the contractor. The client can give specifics as to the formatting, etc., of course, but if the contractor wishes to use medical spellcheckers, word expander software, or other efficiency software, it is up to her. This type of flexibility is wonderful for many different types of people: Mothers can take an hour or two in the afternoon to spend with their children and choose to work a few hours in the evening. People with disabilities such as chronic pain can take a nap for an hour in the afternoon, and simply work a bit later to get the job done. A person who has elderly parents at home can care for them during their work day and not leave them alone or with people they do not fully trust.
One of the biggest reasons I hear from people for wanting to work at home is to spend more time with their family and loved ones (including their pets). We live in a high-tech and fast-paced world. Striving for the almighty dollar sometimes makes connecting with those we love nearly impossible. Working at home as an independent contractor makes it easier to take breaks during the day to be with family. Sometimes it can be a juggling act. For example, if you take 2 hours off in the afternoon to take the kids to the zoo, you may have to work 2 hours in the evening after they go to bed. Many independent contracting jobs pay by production (some pay hourly), which also means that if you become expert at your work-at-home skill, then you can make a full day’s wages in 6 or so hours, which leaves the rest of the day free to be with family.
Working at home, can net the same or even better income than working in an office. For example, years ago some medical transcriptionists worked in small offices making $8 to $10 an hour. The office had to pay for office space, equipment, benefits, etc. So, the amount that could be paid to the medical transcriptionist was less. However, when an office is able to allow their contractors to work at home they do not pay for equipment, benefits, office space, etc. and that extra money can be paid out to the transcriptionist. In the USA, MTs make about $16 to $20 an hour. In Canada, they make about $21 to $31 an hour. Or you could paid by the page, by the word, by the line, etc. So, the income is there for independent contractors. There are also tax benefits: Usually, one can write off on their taxes office supplies, the space in their home dedicated to working, computers used to work, expenses, office supplies, etc.
The perks of working at home are many. You don’t have to buy fancy work clothes or do your hair and makeup every day. You save money on the cost of gas and commuting expenses. You save money on childcare. You save money on eating lunch out every day. You have more time to cook healthier meals for your family. You have more time to run errands like pick up prescription or dry cleaning or even to do things for yourself like go to the beauty salon or even (gasp!) take a nap! The perks are endless when it comes to working from the comfort of your own home.
Working at home as an independent contractor has many perks and advantages. One of the careers that is perfect for working at home is medical transcription. If you need more flexibility, want to spend more time with family, want tax breaks and good income and other perks, then working at home as an independent contractor may be for you.