Some of you will cringe at the thought of working overtime and who likes it anyway?
As a general rule, I always inform my clients (especially the new ones) of my preferred working hours. I never go for clients who would require me to work during their local 9-5.
I also tell them that I’d rather not work during the weekends and that is stated at the beginning of our partnership. In the event that I had to work during the weekends, that is only because it was on offset of a weekday that I was unable to accomplish my task. I wanted my weekends to be free for family time and household errands.
When you work from home, you need to be organized about your schedule to make sure you do not miss out on anything. You need to specify your availability to your clients so it is clear when they should expect output from you.
While working overtime may increase your profits, it may be at the cost of family time or your health. Try to keep in mind why you started working from home. If that is to be with your children, then make sure this new career will not hinder that from happening.
When It is Alright to Work Overtime
While that is true, there are cases wherein putting in longer hours is expected. If you are new at freelance writing, you can expect that you will find yourself working overtime a lot. This is understandable because you basically have no market yet. You need to grow your client base and build your online portfolio.
When I started working from home full time, I had to work overtime and I tried not to be too picky about my project choices.
Price was also one of the reasons why putting in longer hours seemed acceptable. A high rate was not really something that you can negotiate just yet when you are starting. I was working through the oDesk platform and a lot of clients will not take a second look at your application unless you have had a couple of successful projects to your name. Only a few clients will take note of you. These are the clients who will offer a really low price for your services. To reach my financial quota, I had to take in more jobs and that meant working overtime.
But as I was able to build my work history and portfolio, I started to be strict about my schedule. I tell my clients the time and day of the week that is allotted for their projects. I am quite transparent in telling them that I have other clients and that I need to stick to my schedule to make sure I attend to all my responsibilities.
While I think it is every contractor’s right to charge extra if they are forced to working overtime, this is something that I do not practice. That is probably because my working arrangement with most of my clients gives me the flexibility to work anytime – as long as I complete the time requirement for the week. I usually say no and I haven’t been put in a position wherein I was forced to say yes. There were instances wherein I said yes – but these were clients that I have developed a respectful friendship with – having worked with them for more than a year already.
Your client cannot force you to working overtime and use up your family time. However, that is really under your discretion. Granting them a favour may benefit you. If it is only 3-4 hours, that may not be too bad to give in to. It’s your choice.