Working from home options when living with IBD
Recently, I wrote about how beneficial being my own boss is for me and, by extension, my illness. Since leaving full-time employment as a teacher and transitioning to self-employed as a writer, I have felt much more in control of my illness. Yep, there are drawbacks. I'm talking no sick pay, the pressure of an unsteady income and the constant need to keep putting yourself out there to get work.
However, for me, they are outweighed by the benefits. I can pick my own hours. I no longer feel guilty about taking time off during a flare-up. Hospital appointments are SO much easier to attend. I also feel as if I don't have to explain myself or my condition to a boss or fellow employee. And, oh, did I mention I'm never two seconds away from a toilet? Today, I thought I'd share some tips for those looking to make the transition too.
Working from home without quitting your job
First of all, I thought I'd raise the point that working from home doesn't have to mean quitting your job. There is a whole movement now that encourages employers to see the value of flextime and homeworking. British author Emma Ganon explores this in the 'Multi-Hyphen Method' whilst Tim Ferris also lauds its benefits in the 'Four Hour Work Week.'
Sometimes, speaking to your employer and selling them the benefits of working part-time from home could be the trick. You might find you are way more productive in your own home since you know you have a toilet and supplies safe at hand, can relax, work in comfortable clothing and even snuggle with your hot water bottle! When your boss can see how productive you are during this time, they may well offer to turn it into a permanent thing. Start small: speak to your employer (if possible) about potentially doing one day a week from home as a trial and take it from there.
New career options for working from home
However, working from home is not possible for everyone. And sometimes, the stress of a career on your body might mean you are looking for a career change too. Here are a few general potential options for earning whilst working from home...
Become a Virtual Assistant
These are incredibly in demand and if your previous role has given you experience in things like basic admin, social media, appointment scheduling, and executive support. It could be possible to make a transition. There's tons of advice online for becoming a virtual assistant. It could be worth joining this facebook group where people regularly request VAs for work to get a feel for the type of work on offer and if your skill set matches.
Become a Patient Advocate
People are extremely interested in understanding more about certain conditions. And patient advocates are the best people to educate! Patient Advocates can be paid to be part of market research, clinical trials, giving talks to medical professionals or contributing to patient literature. To get started, make yourself a profile on Linked In and Twitter explaining you are a patient advocate and connect with businesses in your area (such as ostomy supply companies for example). Register with market research and clinical trial companies. Clinical trials can usually be found an online-for example here (please note, I've not personally used this site but they do look well compensated) but also keep an eye out as they're advertised in hospitals too.
Start a blog or get writing
Starting a blog is a fantastic way to potentially earn. It will take a while but if you become successful, there's a possibility to earn from advertising or brand partnership. Other options are writing for home for other websites. Again, approach local medical companies who might be looking for patient experiences or a site like this one who relies on patients words. You can also submit your profile to Disabled Writers; which aims to connect writers with disabilities with relevant editors.
There are many sites looking for native English speakers to tutor students abroad. All you'll need is a great grasp of the language and a laptop to Skye! Fees vary but there are lots of options-so just start searching.
I really hope these tips are useful! As someone who has made the leap, I'm so happy to answer any questions you have or point you in the direction of any resources that could help you make the transition too!
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?