A Room of One’s Own

April 27, 2010

One of the things that preoccupied me most before taking the jump to self-employment was whether I would work from home or find an office somewhere. Initially I was adamant that I had to find an office space since I couldn’t imagine not having contact with other human beings on a daily basis – as I have mentioned before, the social aspect of going to work has always been important to me.

I explored a couple of possibilities and the one that was most promising was a shared office space with a group of other freelancers doing similar work. It was a great office in the centre of Copenhagen, great people that I could imagine working and having fun with and I was very close to agreeing to move in with them. But when it came down to it I realised that 1. It was going to be a fairly hefty financial commitment, 2. If I made that commitment I would feel obliged to go there all day every day “to get my money’s worth”.

One of the main reasons for wanting to become self-employed was to win more flexibility with regards to how much and when I would work. I’d like to be able to take time off during school holidays or in the run up to a marathon, for example, but also to be able to do other things during the day and work during evening (or not at all) if that suited me better. I realised that by signing up for that office I would have to work to pay the rent, and I was going to end up working regular office hours to justify it. So I said no.

Instead we have reorganised at home and have created a really comfortable office in a room that doubles as our guest room.

And interestingly, so far I haven’t missed the social aspect of going to the office. Facebook and Skype keep me in contact with my network. And with regular travel, it’s not like I’m here all the time anyway. If, I do start to feel the need to get out I may join more informal office “club” like La Officina. But then again…. maybe I’ll just invest more time and energy in my non-work social life!

Night sweats……

April 21, 2010

I’m not actually supposed to be sitting in my office at the moment – I’m supposed to be on the other side of the world working. My area of work depends on my spending a fairly large proportion of my time travelling to all kinds of weird and wonderful places. This week I was scheduled to be on my first trip as a freelancer – to a country in the pacific.

I guess everyone who contemplates starting their own business spends more than a little time worrying about the risks. My 4 am panic sessions have been focused around two main themes – “what if I don’t get any work?” and “what if I get too much work?” It never crossed my mind to spend time worrying about “what if I get enough work, but I have to let my clients down (and not make any money) because I can’t leave Denmark because a volcano in Iceland will erupt sending a cloud of dust into the Danish airspace”. 

I mean, what are the chances of that actually happening? And on my very first assignment?

So I spent the weekend glued to the screen following the tracks of the volcano dust, before finally throwing the towel in the ring. Luckily the volcano hype has reached the pacific even if the dust hasn’t so my clients are cool even if my bank account is suffering.

And I can devote my 4 am panic attacks to “will the volcano calm down before my next trip scheduled in 10 days??????”

My husband, who has been very supportive of my new venture, sent me a link to a blogpost recently – “10 Tips to keep yourself sane when working from home” (http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PeteBrown/~3/xjGNlqK95Ig/10-tips-to-keep-yourself-sane-while-working-from-home-or-alone). Some of these top tips were really useful (“build a comfortable office”), others obviously more targetted at IT nerds than me (“get more than one awesome computer system”??????), but one really shocked me “shower every day”! SHOWER EVERY DAY????? What is that about? It wouldn’t cross my mind not to shower every day – at least once (being a runner)….

But I got to thinking that maybe this thing is a question of degree. While “to shower or not to shower” is not something I spend a lot of time chewing over, I have had a bit of a concern that “to dress or not to dress” could be an issue. Not that I was anticipating lounging around my new comfortable office in my birthday suit. But I was worried that I would fall into the trap of spending all day every day sitting around either in pyjamas or running gear. In my previous “going out to work” life, I had a bit of a tendency to change into my running gear straight after work and after my run either to shower and put on pyjamas or similar comfy but unattractive slobby gear – or to hang around in my sweaty gear and to shower just before bed. The same at weekends if I’m not going out.

But can you do a professional piece of work when sitting at your desk in your pyjamas?????

Maybe you can, but I think I would probably very quickly start feeling like a total slob. Therefore I have made some rules:

  • I have to get dressed in proper clothes every day. It doesn’t have to be my best business gear, but it can’t be jogging trousers, pyjamas or running gear.
  • I need to put on mascara and brush my hair every day.

And, I can report, so far so good!

Hello World!

April 12, 2010

Thank you for joining me for a coffee break! I’m now in week 2 of my new life as a self-employed consultant working from home. After more than 25 years of going out to work every day, I now just head into my home office!

My home office

 So far I’m liking it, but I do miss the social aspect of going to work. I’ve always had friends at work, not just colleagues, and the daily chit chat about life in general is one of the best parts of going to work! So I’ve started this Blog to satisfy some of my chit chat needs!

I’m expecting I’ll want to chat a lot about starting up my business, and the huge lifestyle change that this is for me. But one of the reasons for taking the plunge was to give me more flexibility in my life overall, so I  wouldn’t be surprised if I feel inspired to share on some of the other aspects of my life – my travel experiences, family life and let’s face it…running……..