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When Working From Home Becomes Hell

I just read a blog post from Mark Rofe, fellow Internet Marketer and creator of the ingenius Wank Sock, who has just made the decision to return to work.

It’s an interesting topic.

(Although I bet you’re now thinking about wank socks).

Is the 9-5 really such a bad thing?

Is there a time to forget the false paradise of working from home happily ever after?

I think Mark has made the right decision based on it being his career, his life, his happiness. Nothing more and nothing less.

There’s a small subset of the Internet Marketing community that believes you have to be earning big bucks from home whilst trolling the working class, or you’re doing it wrong.

There’s an even larger subset of the population that believes this myth before trying it for a single day.

Let’s forget about what goes in to running a successful business.

You can do this from home, from work, from a beach, or from a park bench.

Is working from home for everybody?

No, no and NO.

I divide the Not Working From Home majority in to three subsets.

  1. Introverts who want to work from home.
  2. Extroverts who want to work from home.
  3. The rest of the world who doesn’t want to work from home.

Why introverts and extroverts?

I believe your natural disposition here will determine the challenges you face working on your own.

But first, everybody else.

Internet Marketers can be guilty — myself included — of viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses and thinking everybody should want to do what we do. It’s the entrepreneurship argument.

“Why wouldn’t you want to earn a fortune on your sofa? What better way to live?”

The rebuttal is Purpose.

Not everybody wants to be an entrepreneur, and many people are just fine following somebody else’s orders.

This should be a relief.

An economy full of entrepreneurs would have a lot of great ideas that never materialised.

For most Internet Marketers, purpose means maximising income whilst finding more time for pleasure. Usually from the comfort of home.

It’s a captivating pursuit for those of us who live by it.

But many people don’t.

And it’s not because we know something they don’t. They simply don’t want to.

They’ve seen what we do, they hear what we do, and still it’s not for them.

They are right.

Collectively as an industry, we should get over ourselves and appreciate that.

People will always moan about tax hikes, bills, outgoings and their financial responsibilities. It’s tempting to throw back the ‘You should have been an Internet Marketer‘ line.

Except it solves nothing and changes nothing.

That’s not what they chose to be, and their choice is always right.

The world simply cannot function with 7 billion Internet Marketers working from home.

Introvert vs. Extrovert

Now, for those who do decide to work from home, there are two distinct personality types:

Introverts:

  • Very self-aware
  • Thoughtful
  • Enjoys understanding details
  • Interested in self-knowledge and self-understanding
  • Tends to keep emotions private
  • Quiet and reserved in large groups or around unfamiliar people
  • More sociable and gregarious around people they know well
  • Learns well through observation

Extroverts:

  • Warm
  • Seeking novelty and excitement
  • Gregariousness
  • Assertive
  • Cheerful
  • Talkative
  • Enjoys being the center of attention
  • Action oriented

As with any personality type, these are generalisations. There are extroverts who keep their emotions in check, and cheerful introverts who live for novelty.

Which category are you?

There’s an easy way to tell.

Extroverts gain energy from frequent social interaction, introverts lose it.

That’s not to say that social interactions aren’t enjoyed by all.

Rather that while some extroverts will thrive on the ‘banter’ of a typical work day, an introvert will be looking pretty bruised and battered if he feels he can’t escape it anytime soon.

The Best First Day in the History of Work

The happiness (and productivity) you get from working from home is largely a combination of:

a) Your personality type
b) The environment you inflict upon it.

In Mark’s returning to work post, he touches on the sore spot that seems to have led his decision: isolation.

Nobody likes isolation. It doesn’t matter what personality type you are.

Isolation is used as a form of torture for good reason.

It eventually hurts.

But I’d argue that introverts are better equipped to deal with working in isolation.

And this is the point I’d make to any extroverted reader who wants to quit his 9-5 and work from home:

For a while… it’s going to be fucking great.

Seriously, you’re missing out on the best first day of any career in the history of Man.

But there’s a catch. Many of them.

Once you’ve cashed in the novelty of “Oh shiiiit, I’m doing work in my boxers with only empty packets of Popchips and my balls for company!”, the only way to share the grotesque image is to post it on your Facebook.

(Which many of us do, extroverted or not!)

If you need the social interaction of a thriving workplace, then the echo of your thoughts racing around an empty house will probably not suffice — not in the long run.

Staying Somewhat Sane

I am introverted by nature

I enjoy catching up with friends and meeting people who are interesting. Keyword: interesting.

I simply don’t have the capacity to enjoy being around people for shits and giggles. And I highly doubt they’d enjoy being around me. Not for any extended period of time.

I like the comfort of my own space and I protect it in the only way I know how:

By making a shit ton of money online.

Whether you are introverted or extroverted goes a long way to deciding if you will enjoy working on your own.

Yet it’s important to distinguish this question has nothing to do with running a successful business.

It’s possible to be a badass super-rich affiliate with any personality type. (Which makes it all the more baffling why so many choose to be bags of dicks.)

Knowing your own characteristics will do much for increasing your chances of happiness along the way.

My tips for extroverts:

Bear in mind, I’m not one. I could be very wrong. Please offer your own suggestions if these suck.

  1. Consider a shared office space with like-minded professionals. There are plenty of these springing up in major cities. At the very least, get a laptop and hit the road.

  2. Use your social wings and network, network, network. Many affiliates struggle at this, so cash in the advantage and use it to get ahead of us.

  3. Leverage the many online communities at your disposal, become a connector and embed yourself in the industry.

  4. Work shorter hours and join local clubs (sports or otherwise) with scheduled meets every week.

My tips for introverts:

  1. Make sure your friends, family et all respect the boundaries of your work space and work hours. Lest you go insane.

  2. Build a small circle of masterminds and use it as your eyes and ears. Focus on the quality of your contacts instead of quantity. A Skype group is a good start.

  3. Work out exactly what form of social interaction wears you out the least, then arrange a lot of it. For me, this is a quiet pub and several pints. Fight, fight, fight the urge to get lazy, which is so much more of a danger to introverts.

  4. Get a dog. Like me, you probably believe they’re better than humans.

  5. Separate your work space from your living space. If you spend a lot of time at home, you need to disconnect part of the house from your work activities. That’s why I’ve bought a LazySpa and created a reading room with beanbags.

I highly recommend the LazySpa:

Lazy Spa Finch

My tips for those who aren’t sure if they want to work from home:

  1. Try it for three weekends in a row. Are you still sane?

There, probably, is your answer.

If anybody needs to fill a vacancy for a creative, hard-working individual with a lot of wank socks in his wardrobe, give Mark a call.

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About the author

Finch

Hi, I’m Finch. A 26 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who makes a lot of money from the Internet.

16 Comments

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  • People (generally) tend to be a bit of a mix of both introvert and extrovert; to varying degrees.

    Popular opinion may say extroverts make for great salespeople or entrepreneurs, but studies have shown otherwise.

    Recent research shows the most productive salespeople are ‘ambiverts’; “neither extremely introverted nor extremely extroverted…They’re not quiet, but they’re not loud”.

    http://www.washingtonpost [dot] com/business/on-leadership/why-extroverts-fail-introverts-flounder-and-you-probably-succeed/2013/01/28/bc4949b0-695d-11e2-95b3-272d604a10a3_story.html

    http://pss.sagepub [dot] com/content/24/6/1024.short

    ( replace [dot] with .)
    ( I posted a similar post on another blog.. )

  • I started working online fourteen years ago and have been fully employed online since around 2003/2004. I can relate to what Mark is saying.

    During my twenties, working online on my own suited my lifestyle. I travelled on and off for several years and when I was in the UK, it allowed me to train martial arts during the day three or four times a week.

    I used to hang out with friends a lot during the week too. Working online allowed me to work my hours around my lifestyle, rather than the other way around.

    Things have been very different over the last few years. I got a neck injury so couldn’t train as much. Additionally, most of my friends are now settled down with kids. This effectively means that I am best sticking to regular working hours so that I can socialise at nights and at weekends. That makes me wonder sometimes why I don’t just do a regular job.

    But the grass is not always greener. I loathe commuting and in every job I have worked in, I have inevitably been frustrated by the way that good workers are not rewarded, whilst people who do very little continue to be paid more (this is especially true in the contracting game when your rate depends on your initial bargaining skills).

    I still love the freedom of working online too. And I hope to travel some more over the next year o so – something I couldn’t do with a nine to five.

    I do however feel that I would enjoy returning to work – if only for a few months. I am sure that would be enough time for me to remember why I wanted to work for myself 🙂

    Keep up the good work Finch.

  • Yep, the ironic part of ‘escaping the 9-5’ is that your friends and family are still in it. They tend to stick to their own routines, which means you’re going to be sticking to them too. I know a lot of affiliates mingle with other affiliates (who share their lifestyle), but it’s pretty rare in the UK.

    You also lose the external reward system when you work from home.

    Who’s going to congratulate you for work well done? Your bank manager, maybe. But a lot of people thrive on being seen to have done good work. And sharing in success with colleagues. Those needs are difficult to replicate.

  • I agree. My situation has been made even worse as my girlfriend has been helping me on my projects over the last year or so. It was ideal when we were travelling South America as I still had to take time off and update my websites. But it’s been a pain since.

    Partners should not see each other that frequently. There is a reason why people do their own thing during the day.

    And it’s never fun having an argument about work and then hoping that everything will be ok when you switch back to boyfriend and girlfriend mode. I created my own hell 🙂

    On a side note, I recommend adding a comment link to the end of your posts on the home page. I found myself reading the post and then having to scroll back to the top of the post in order to click on a link to leave a comment 🙂

    On another side note, I’m writing a post for Elegant Themes about monetising blogs. So I’m using your blog as an example of how to make money by selling premium posts. Enjoy the single link goodness 🙂

  • Ideally, the IM lifestyle is made to be able to pursue passions outside of work during the day, and then go out at night and meet new people, at least for me anyways.

  • Absolutely spot on Finch. I am in the extrovert bunch generally speaking , but the caveat is that I have to get the quite time you talk about . I have to isolate myself to a degree so I can focus . ADD is a blessing and a curse in this matter . I have joined groups and I love to mastermind . I hear people say they are afraid someone will steal their ideas if they share them but I share my ideas with those around me to make them better . So that I can improve the ideas . I digress ….Bottom line extrovert or introvert surround yourself with people who will challenge you and make you a better person and you will find success !

  • I agree. But you’ve still got to find time for work in there somewhere. 4 hour work week style?!

  • Definitely. The people you surround yourself with are the type of person you’ll become. Social osmosis!

  • Nice post. Makes me realize that I probably chose the right industry, being and introverted myself (the “work in my boxers with only empty packets of Popchips and my balls for company” industry).

    Curious thing is, despite having trouble communicating and relating to others, I pushed myself all my life through customer service, and business management. Where had to deal day to day with loads of stressful human interactions. Climbing the corporate ladder where very functional extroverts, backstabbed each other in a highly competitive enviroment (ok that part of the gig was kinda fun I reckon, heh). Is actually pretty odd how close to the sociopath spectrum you gotta be after the interviews and tests to land a corporate job lol.

    So I’m actually glad I did, and a bit proud of what I got to achieve besides my many shortcomings, in the “work actually wearing pants” industry. And I probably won’t be looking back, cause I like it here, and I say this maybe cause I got out of the 9-5 enviroment, less than a year ago, but you guys have it pretty fucking sweet, heh. Except maybe Kevin since he works with his girlfriend now…like everyday… I feel your pain brother. And everyone who believes that’s a good thing, haven’t spent that much time with a girlfriend, and now I kinda hope yours is not reading this lol.

    I still wonder if the most successful affiliates tend to be introverts, since a lot of super ones, live abroad over periods of time, in countries with a very different language and culture. Which will end up isolating them in a way, but that’s probably what they want, which is part the mystique of being an “international man of marketing”.

    So I’m thankful for successful affiliates feeling a bit isolated and having to reach out and express themselves through kickass posts on their blogs, with knowledge newbes like me can actually benefit from. And I’m also very thankful for foamy water blocking our vision in that pic lol. Thanks for the great post Finch.

    Cheers & good luck.

  • I was talking with my friend a few days ago who thought I have the best job ever because I can work at home. I argued with him that it isn’t and he just couldn’t accept my answer. Guess I found your article at the perfect time. I started writing an article very similar to yours and match up with a lot of your points with being an introvert. Definitely a challenge sometimes. Great read.

  • The minute mark said he was unhappy at home I told him to get a job. Took him about two weeks. Within days of him getting the job his attitude and outlook changed in so many ways. He was immediately more positive

  • Im an extrovert myself, you really got me there, you are correct on all your points, I’ll follow your tips! thanks man!

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