Gene Mullen's Blog
Today's work culture allows for many jobs and positions to work from home full or part-time. Creating a freelance business for yourself is possible more now than ever. It can give you the opportunity you need to take charge of your career or support your efforts to start a new company. But, if you haven't worked from home before you may not have experience in setting your own schedule, managing clients directly and maintaining a comfortable work-life balance. Here are some suggestions to help you set yourself up for success.
Set a schedule and stick to it
.One of the joys of freelance work is being able to determine your schedule. Once you gain experience working for yourself you will able to change your plan when something comes up, a client needs something on the fly, or there's a social activity you want to attend. When you first embark on your new work-lifestyle, it is essential to stick to a schedule to help you create the best habits to support your business. Determine what your office hours will be and spend the first 6-months sticking to those hours. During that time take notes of your busiest times of day, when you receive calls or emails the most and how the schedule you initially set up fits with the typical deadlines of your clients. After you've tried working from home for some time, you can examine your notes and adjust your schedule accordingly. You'll see where you can be flexible, when you need to send calls to voicemail and when you have the best time and mental space to allow for maintaining client relationships.
Get up each day like you’re going to an office.
It might feel luxurious at first but rolling out of bed and immediately starting to work in your pajamas can very quickly have a negative impact on your motivation and productivity. It becomes comfortable to sleep and push your start time because you don't have to get ready. You might not get out of the house to meet clients because you aren't dressed to go out. As with your new schedule, every morning get up, shower and get dressed just like you would for an office job. Taking this time in the morning helps you mentally prepare for the day and get into work mode. Bonus — you can save a bit on hair product or makeup. A fresh shower and clean face will help you be bright and bushy tailed to start the day, finishing touches on hair or makeup can wait until you know you’ll need to meet with a client that day.
Find your best place to work.
Depending on your situation you may not have a designated home office or space for one. Try working in different areas of your home, the dining table, kitchen counter or living room. If you find distraction in any of these spots, you may need to locate space in your home to designate for your home office to keep you focused. Even in small interiors, there are creative ways to design your home office space. You might find that although your skillset and personality function well-doing freelance, you don't enjoy working at home or have a difficult time motivating yourself when completely alone at your house. Try working at a coffee shop or joining a co-work space. Working around other freelancers and entrepreneurs can increase your motivation and create opportunities for you to network and meet new clients or partners. Many freelancers work well designating some hours of work from home and some from a community space.
To make the most of your new work-life take the steps above to set yourself up for success. If you're moving into a new area or looking at new homes work with your agent to find a perfect place that allows you to create a home office for yourself. Speak with them about communal working environments near the neighborhoods you’re considering to build in opportunities for you to engage with other freelancers like you.