Today's episode is particularly aimed at those of you who wish to start a business from home, have recently started one and feel you may benefit from some advice, or have moved recently and are trying maintain a position you had previously, in a remote capacity. I cover 5 key points and expand on each one in turn. There will no doubt be something for everyone.
Lord knows it can be so tempting to work from the couch or even from your bed, after all, who would know? Try to avoid this if you can, though. Ideally, you would have a space dedicated purely to work, a 'home office', with plenty of storage, but all too often this just is not possible. I have always managed to squeeze a desk into a spare room but it is possible to allow space on a kitchen table if you must, as long as you can find space to store your work paraphernalia before dinner.
Having a separate location is also beneficial as it encourages you to get into work mode and delineate between home life and work life. Some people go as far as to leave the house through the front door and come in through the back so you have effectively gone out to work.
Too much time alone isn't good for anyone. Try to get out and into other places, like coffee shops, libraries or dedicated co-working spaces. Public places give a level of white noise and bustle that can aid concentration and you might find that a lot of the same people will frequent the same places regularly, so it can be an opportunity to meet other like minded people. Co-working spaces are particularly good for freelancers, web designers and graphic people as you are able to rent a desk in a communal office. Free opportunities for this are available via UK Jelly which notifies you of co-working events where small/micro-business owners come to work, chat and collaborate.
It is all too easy to work all hours and create a monster wherein you make yourself available 24/7 and raise client expectations to that level. Have a set number of 'office hours' and do your best to stick to those. If you absolutely cannot then at least try to use a scheduling tool like Boomerang so emails go in office hours. It is also vital to take regular breaks or your productivity will suffer. One good template is the Pomodoro Technique which advocates taking 5 minute breaks after 25 minutes of work and taking a longer 15-20 minute break every 100 minutes. The idea behind this is that it prevents you from becoming overtired and therefore keeps your productivity up.
And keep the household chores until after work time. You wouldn't be doing those if you were out at work so you need feel no guilt at not doing them when you are working at home.
It is important to try and find 'office colleagues' elsewhere. Some good places to start are business groups, networking groups and local Chambers of Commerce. Don't be afraid to shop around to find a good fit or be put off if you try a couple and they don't work, it's not a one size fits all scene. If you're brave enough you could start your own, perhaps with a theme like military wives or mums at home meetings that are child friendly.
If you really cant find one that works for you in the real world then find one in the cyber world. LinkedIn, Facebook or specific online membership sites are good places to look and easy to negotiate. Our very own Notice To Move community should be utterly ideal for this.
As we heard from Chloe last week you need to be realistic about what you can achieve. You do not need to take on work you are not good at, save yourself for what you are great at. After all, saying yes to one opportunity means having to say no to another, so choose wisely. Do not beat yourself up for not being able to do everything either, you're good but you're still human.
I've created a free group on Facebook for the podcast for all listeners to hang out together, get hints, tips and support in their business endeavours. Please come over and join me there!