Making the decision to start working from home was a big one. Every man and their dog wanted to tell me how convenient it was going to be because I’d be able to do a load of washing or put dinner on during the day. Whilst in my head I was thinking, ‘nothing is changing but my location and I sure as hell didn’t make this move to do more housework!’
Up until last year my business (if you want to read further about the changes to my business go here) was based 25 mins from my home on an estate surrounded by other businesses. My friends worked at the business next door and it was a super social affair. Cups of tea, chats on the way to the toilet, chats in the corridor, chats while checking the post. You get the idea there was a lot of chat!
When I decided to build the Studio and move my business home I was really conscious that the daily running of my business wasn’t going to change. Before the move I set myself some ground rules and here they are.
BE AT YOUR DESK BY 9AM, MUST WEAR MAKE-UP, PROPER CLOTHES
I decided that even though I could sleep in a little longer and have a more leisurely morning routine, I needed to be sat at my desk by 9am ready to start work. I didn’t want to get out of a routine and just mosey on over to work when I felt like it. Also I have staff to show up for and as much as its lovely to work from a garden we still have a job to do. As well as being there on time I needed to have make-up on. Any of you that know me know I’m very minimal on the make-up front but eye brows filled in and mascara are a must! And finally I needed to be dressed in work appropriate clothing. Again we have a very casual office so this isn’t hard to stick to.
In my previous work life I’d snack all day and not eat lunch. Also because of the layout of the building I very rarely saw daylight! I made the decision that as this was a lifestyle change and it was all about enjoying life more that I had to schedule in breaks. Whether that’s sitting out on the deck with Lou Chops for 10mins or replying to e-mails from my laptop in the garden. Scheduling breaks also means I’m not constantly running back and forth to the house. I’ll pop over to make lunch or get ice for my coffee but thats it.
This year Charlotte and I have taken it a step further and we are sitting down and eating lunch! I want to say this happens everyday but I’d be lying, what can I say we are a work in progress!
DON’T ALLOW SOCIAL CALLS 9-5
Sometimes I think when you work for yourself and from home friends think that means that your not working hard or that your not busy all the time. This couldn’t be further from the truth, being self employed means you have 15 plates in the air and no one is stepping in to cover sick days or holidays!
Ask anyone that knows me, I won’t answer your call between the hours of 9-5. Actually to be completely honest I’m a nightmare with my phone and your better getting me on Instagram! I set my stall out with this one because I kept receiving calls whilst I was in the middle of 10 things and then I’d forget where I was up to. Between the hours of 9-5 I am constantly on the phone to suppliers, customers, sign fitters, my team. I can’t add in there are you coming on Saturday night? What are you wearing? Absolutely not!
ALWAYS REFER TO IT AS WORK AND KEEP OFFICE HOURS
When I decided to build the studio at home a lot of people thought that I was making it a part-time thing or scaling back. I am always very clear, the studio is my place of work, it just happen to be across the garden. Just because its cute and unassuming doesn’t mean serious business isn’t going down. I always refer to it as my workplace and I stick to office hours, if you don’t take it seriously how do you expect other people to! ‘No Mrs Smith, you can not collect your order at 8.30pm on the way home from gymnastics! I’ll be on to sofa in my dinosaur PJs’ cuddling my dog!’
STAY CONNECTED WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD!
This is a really important one for me. Being a business owner is a really lonely place. The buck stops with you, every decision is yours and sometimes I find the responsiblity crippling. To combat the dreaded loneliness I have an amazing bunch of local business ladies that I meet with on a monthly basis. We bounce ideas of each other, talk about problems within our businesses and lift each other up when life kicks us! I love having my own company but when your trying to run an empire you definitely need a tribe of people around you. Whether it’s a networking group, other local businesses, a friend or an online community stay connected with the outside world!
So they are my 5 tips for successfully running my business from a home studio.
I’d love to hear any tips you many have!