Well, it’s been one whole month since I left the security of my full time job and decided to give this whole working for yourself malarky a go. I’ve had a fair few of you ask how it’s going so I figured I’d drop a quick post together on what I’ve learned so far…
Structure is key.
Yep, I might work from home but that doesn’t mean I sleep in till noon and spend all day in my PJ’s. I’m sure there are people that run successful businesses this way, but that just doesn’t work for me.
I structure my day – set my alarm for 8 (which is now a lie in), have a heathy breakfast with Wally snuggles (because I’m not rushing out the door or eating at my desk), do a quick Yoga session (you can follow the youtube channel I’ve been using here. I’ve started with the 30 day programme in the link), do a morning’s work, have a nice healthy lunch (again I have time because I’m not rushing around), head out for a quick walk in the lanes, do an afternoons work, down tools around half 5 and prep dinner for when Matt walks in the door at 6.
I never work from the lounge or take a lunch break in front of the TV as I know I’ll never move. I take lots of little breaks from the laptop, either because I’ve got a bunny nudging my feet for tickles or I’m popping a wash on, etc.
I’ve basically found that without this structure I get sweet FA done. Some days just aren’t as productive as others but guess what, thats ok.
Have a designated work space.
We do have a home office but it’s most definitely a ‘man cave’. I did a mini makeover on it a few years ago so it should be the perfect place for me to work, however, it’s well and truly become a boys only zone. I think i’d spend more time cleaning than working.
Now this might sound completely uninspiring but to me it’s perfect… I work from our dining room table. I love our dining room decor, it’s got lots of lovely light from the french doors and it means 90% of the time I’ve got a snoozing bunny at my feet. I’m a neat person so I’ve got a wee basket (actually its one of the ones we sell here) full of my notebooks, colour charts and stationery that I pack up each night. It really works for me, it’s my working space by day and dining room by night.
This is MY LIFE.
I think this has been the biggest learning curve… this is MY life, I’m in control and I know who I am.
One of my biggest reasons for leaving my previous job was the constant feeling like my life wasn’t my own. Decisions were being made for me, I didn’t have a say day to day, I was told to be places, I was afraid to get ill which was making me ill, and I was becoming some dead-behind-the-eyes zombie.
All these things were 10 years in the making so of course they couldn’t be undone in 30 days but wow do I recognise it now.
It’s really hard to discuss this one without specifics but, daily, I face encounters and situations where this comes up…
One of the biggest things you will learn in setting up a company is just how many people have opinions on how you should do things and guess what, each one of them is different – “you shouldn’t bother with that, it’ll never make money”, “you should do MORE of that, it will make more money”, “you should do it this way”, “nope you should do it that way”… ARGH!
I know people are trying to help and of course I do listen and take it on board but my biggest piece of advice is to really think about what you want, write it down and never, NEVER stop looking at it or referring back to it. Of course paths change and we need to be flexible, but if we don’t own our s**t then we’ll never get anywhere or be anything more than some weird mix of other people and their opinions.
I’ve definitely realised how much healing I need to do, It took me ages to know who I am and what I’m about and it got lost for a while but this move is about getting that back.
It’s ok to say no!
So here I am moaning about other people having options on my life when this lesson has only been learned because other people pointed it out!
Guess what, I’m in control so I can say NO! Just because you’re working hard for much needed income it doesn’t mean you should say yes to everything that comes your way. By the way, I totally appreciate that goes against what most business coaches would say – Just say yes then figure it out, and say yes to every opportunity as you don’t know where it will lead bla, bla, bla. I don’t disagree but equally if it doesn’t sit right, if it doesn’t fit with your brand and vision, then say no!
One of the best pieces of advice I was given is to know my worth and to never doubt it. Just because my business is new it doesn’t mean my experience and knowledge are!
Friend or foe?
Ok, so I’ve already said people have opinions and that can be annoying AF, and yet I’ve just said that sometimes it takes an outsider to remind you what’s what, so, without sounding like Carrie bloody Bradshaw – People… friend or foe?!
I’ve encountered both so far… As a professional with over ten years marketing experience, I have so far met two types of foe in my new venture; 1 – those who see me as an asset and like Professor Slughorn in Harry Pottry, they try to ‘collect’ me as part of their business – which, as much as it’s a compliment is more about their business than mine. 2 – the new ‘best friends’ who are quietly pocketing my ideas and using them for themselves. Both of these groups could potentially be damaging to my new business but, as with all risks, they should be recognised and then managed.
Anyway, let’s not get too caught up on this one, let’s just take a lesson from knowing, and I mean really knowing who you can trust and keeping our cards close to our chest.
I wouldn’t be where I am without the amazing support from my ‘network’. It’s true what they say about being ‘nice to those you meet on the way up because you will meet them on the way down’. In my case being nice to people on my way up has definitely been invaluable now I’m meeting them on my way – Just my way, not my way down (I hope)
So, so, so many people and businesses I’ve worked with over the last 10 years have been beyond supportive in my new journey and I’ve literally had the warmest most heartfelt feeling of gratitude towards them. I pride myself on kindness and treating ‘suppliers’ as partners and extensions of your own team and wow, how this kindness has been retuned is just so bloody yummy.
I do work.
I say this one in jest but at the same time… I haven’t given up work and yes I am home all day now (this one usually comes with “you could have a baby”), it’s not that I’m now not working, in fact I’m working harder than ever. It’s just from home and for myself and yes, that makes me VERY lucky but I’m most defiantly working.
last but not least…
I. am. happy
I honestly don’t know at what point saying we are happy has become a negative. Like, if we admit we are happy then that makes us smug b*****s, no, just NO! I. am. happy.
This move was about being heathy and happy. It was about taking back control of my life, following my morals and spending more time with my loved ones. It was 100% the right move for me and I feel thankful every flipping day to have this opportunity.
Right, apologies if it’s been a wishy-washy post, it’s hard to give examples of these things… let me know if this has been helpful in anyway and if you’d like to hear more…