Taking the plunge and working for yourself gives you an incredible sense of autonomy and self-direction. It allows you freedom and flexibility in when and how you work. You don’t have to commute; saving an enormous amount of time and money. You are master of your own destiny.
Once the initial euphoria starts to dissipate, you realise that being the boss means you are also responsible for deadlines, invoicing, seeking new clients, marketing, office supplies, in fact, everything. You need the ability to wear many different hats, multi-task, have a good sense of self-discipline and not allow yourself to be distracted. Most people understand this and prepare for it, however, one thing many people tend to overlook with working at home is a sense of isolation.
It seems wonderful at first, no co-workers, no creepy office guy, no gossiping; you just get to be you, getting on with what you do. But day after day it can become lonely and overwhelming. Without the need to travel to work, you might find that a day has gone by without actually leaving your house, if that stretches to a few days it becomes unhealthy for you, your body and your mind.
So what’s the solution?
Luckily there are many ways to beat this…
- Join online forums of like-minded people, let them become your ‘virtual’ colleagues. Online forums are a great way to get advice from people who are more experienced than you, as well as somewhere you can offer advice to those just starting out. They are also a great space to just have a little rant with people who totally understand where you’re coming from.
- Next, get involved in your local business networking group, this has the double advantage of meeting other business people and letting them know what you do. You will find other small businesses just like yours, with the same problems, and will make contacts and friends that, as you grow, can help with some of the day-to-day things like book-keeping, or marketing, freeing up your precious time to concentrate on your business.
- Join the gym! It’s a great excuse to get out of the house, keep up a routine and get moving. Most of us who work at home spend long hours sitting at our desk. New research shows this is bad for our health. Getting ourselves mobile and active by going to the gym will help keep the health issues of sedentary work to a minimum. If it’s a sunny day (or even if it’s not) take half an hour and go for a walk. It will clear your head, get you away from your office and give you the chance to say hi to people. Go for a swim! Walk to your post office instead of driving, or dust off your bike and get cycling.
- Lastly, make sure that you take some time for you. You can’t pour from an empty jug. It’s okay to go and have a coffee with a friend, go and watch your kids at Sports Day, sit and read a book in the garden for half an hour; that’s why you are working for yourself. You are your business’ most valuable asset. Nurture and grow yourself both physically and mentally, and your business will follow.