One of the biggest challenges in life is learning how to deal with sudden changes and curve balls along life’s journey. I like to call them seasons!
Over 3 years ago I was made redundant which came as quite a shock not just to me but for my family. The thought of having to survive on one salary was quite daunting and I had to readjust my mind to the overwhelming thought of getting back into the employment market and finding myself a job.
As I sat down one day to consider my next steps, the thought dawned on me, that with my given experience I could incorporate my knowledge and skills and offer them to others who need solutions. I have been working for myself for over 3 years now and I absolutely love it. However, it’s taken me quite a while to get here. I’m convinced that if I knew then what I know now I would have gotten to this state of acceptance a lot quicker.
Self employment can have its challenges especially as a female with a young family so I thought I’d share some tips on how to enjoy entrepreneurship for those of you who are between jobs, redundant or looking to make the awesome leap into the unknown
1. If you decide to work from home make sure that you have a decent space, room or office to work from. This space must be dedicated to your work and should not be incorporated into the rest of the house. It must have what I call the ‘Out of Bounds Factor’. This means that this space should be free of all kids paraphernalia, kitchen utensils and anything else that represents home time. This may sound extreme but trust me, after a while if you don’t set up your own space it will begin to upset your productivity.
2. Try to get up out of bed with everyone else, get a shower, have breakfast and get dressed just as if you were leaving the house. This is vital to remaining motivated and will ensure that when everyone else leaves you are ready and rearing to start your day.
3. Never do housework in between your work! If you were working at an established organisation you would never pop home to do a spot of housework at 10am.
4. Be firm about letting everyone know your schedule the day before the tasks are set. This way the people around you get to understand very quickly that even though you work from home you’re not there to be the family gofer. Don’t encourage running errands for all and sundry. You’re not retired yet, you’re still very much working to make ends meet.
5. Plan your day before it actually happens. If you’re not a diary or scheduling person it’s time to start? You must ensure that you have a clear plan in your head of what you’re going to work on for any given day. Otherwise you can easily get side tracked when other competing interests come your way.
6. Know when to cut off. By this I mean, do not allow the morning to run into evening where you grab a bite of dinner and go straight back to work until midnight. There’s a tendency to over compensate because you are working from home. Try to establish some normalcy in your work hours as not to affect the regular family life.
7. Embrace the fact that you are now self employed and that this comes with benefits. Once you have completed all of your tasks for the day, embrace the fact that you’ve finished work and go out and do something you enjoy, spend some quality time with family or loved ones or just take some time to relax. Why is this important? Well it’s simple. When you work on your own you no longer have a gauge of if you’ve done enough for the day or not, as oppose to working in an office with others where as soon as the receptionist puts her coat and lipstick on, that’s usually a good cue that home time is nearing. Sometimes the guilt can set in if you’ve completed your work early because you’re so used to finishing work at a certain time or way after 5pm. Learn to accept the fact that you are now your own boss and you are now the judge on if you’ve put in your pound of flesh for the day.
8. Try and build an exercise routine into your new schedule. This is also a great way to start the day, keeps you healthy and gets rid of any lurking lethargy that may try to come your way in the morning.
9. Be proud and feel privileged that you have the opportunity to work from home and make up your own rules and game plan. Don’t let your old corporate colleagues make you feel lesser because you’ve chosen to no longer run around in circles on the hamsters Ferris wheel or the corporate rat race. Believe it or not they’d die for 1/2 of the freedom that you now have.
10. Lastly, take a vacation. The martyr workhorse mentality can ruin life and family if you don’t get a grip on the fact that you have to take time to regroup, revision and reinvent yourself.
Well whether you’re on this journey at the moment or thinking about taking a quantum leap into the sea of entrepreneurship, I hope that you’ll find these simple tips useful. They have helped me tremendously and I wanted to share them with you.