When you work from home you have to balance home stuff (chores, distractions, etc.), children (in my case there are two), and work. Also, clients don't pay you as much when you work at home because they don't have to compensate you for things like travel time, work clothes, gas, etc.
When I first started out as a freelance writer from home, clients paid me about $0.50 per 500 word article. Do you know how many I had to do just to pay bills? I worked constantly and rarely had a day off (or minute off it felt like). I averaged $2 to $5 per hour. As a freelance writer working from home you don't meet the minimum wage requirements. Clients don't have to pay you a specific amount nor is there any regulation on what you're paid -- that's why it's called freelance.
Today I make about $30 to $75 per hour depending on the client, but I had to work and I had to work hard to reach there. No one just handed me $30 per hour -- I earned it. I meet a lot of people who think it's awesome to work from home and assume they'll make a lot of money right out of the gates. Boy are they disappointed when that doesn't happen. You not only need natural writing skills (and i'm not talking getting straight A's in English or writing awesome school reports), but a hard work ethic and a KILLER portfolio. Today I have clients like USA Today to brag about, but it took two years and about 80 to 100 hours per week to earn that reputation.
If you work from home, plan on working and working a lot. Don't think money just lands in your pocket and also, develop an awesome work ethic. Clients hire me and keep me (which is rare in freelance) because I am an excellent worker.
- I'm never late on assignments -- ever. If by a rare chance I am (which I can count about three times in two years) I offer a discount on the work for being late.
- I turn in my work early, always.
- I proofread my work.
- I add personality and I don't just spew the same old crap everyone else writes.
- I offer insight, additional help and services so the clients consider me an asset.
When you're a freelance writer working at home, you are your reputation. If you have a flaky reputation, people won't hire you. My oDesk, Elance and other online profiles have clients boasting about how I'm on time, turn in excellent work and I have almost perfect ratings (you can't please everyone...that's just reality).
So, if you want to work from home, develop a work ethic and of course realize you are WORKING, so take it seriously.