Creating Space for Your Self Employment
Ah yes, I scribbled it on the back of an envelope, its around here somewhere... in one of these piles.... or maybe over here....
One of the things that we sometimes don’t give much attention to in our Self Employment preparation is where we will work but that has a big impact on how we work and therefore the results we achieve.
Usually businesses are launched at home, at least initially, and even when you have an external workshop or office or are mobile, you are likely to want to spend at least some time working at home.
It is important to have a space where you can engage your creativity without distractions. Space where you have easy access to paper documents and where you can store any equipment you need. Investing some time in this up-front, and ‘practising’ your set-up in advance, can save valuable time and energy once your business is up and running.
When working from home, there is a temptation to be casual about when you are working and when you are relaxing. You might think, when you are so passionate about what you do, you’ll love spending all your time working. There are quotes about work being play and eagerly jumping out of bed in the morning because you are Self Employed. However, even the most passionate entrepreneurs experience low moods and it is simply not healthy to neglect the rest of your life, especially your relationships and self care.
Blurred boundaries between work and personal time mean it is difficult to fully engage in either activity, and both suffer. These boundaries are for you but also those you are close to. One of the ways of showing those boundaries is where you do the activity. You might also have rituals of moving from one space to another or getting out/ packing away work things. In the Seed Handbook, Lynne Franks described how she worked at her kitchen table but lit a candle to signal the start of her work day.
If you have a dedicated space, check you have all you need for this to be an inspiring and comfortable place to work. Check all you need is to hand (or deliberately build in exercise when you go to get other things you need). Remember you will now need to provide your own Occupational Health and IT services. Do your research so you know who to contact if you have problems.
I prefer to have different spaces for different activities. I have my office set up for admin with my laptop, printer and files but I prefer to sit comfortably and look out at the sea for coaching calls and writing I might do from my sofa or a cosy coffee shop. When I posted about this recently, Rich Spicer said the smell of his working environment was important, something I hadn’t considered. Here are my priorities for creating your space....
1. Fitting your space with your passions and what’s important to you. Perhaps you love to see nature (as my Facebook followers highlighted) or feel part of a community. In what environment do you do your best work?
2. Making your space productive considering your business processes and work flow. Make sure you are not dancing round extension leads or having to move things out of the way to find essential items that you need to access quickly.
3. Keeping your space healthy. It might be tempting to work on your laptop in bed but is this good for your back and posture? Are you lifting and moving in healthy ways? Do you have fresh air, natural light and peace. Do you need to invest in equipment to support or protect your health?
4. Organising Storage. Even with a paperless office ethos, you will need to keep records for accounting purposes and you may also need essential documents in printed form just in case you need to navigate a technology crises. If any of your business systems are too complicated, you will put off doing them so better to keep it simple so you can stay up to date. I’m a big fan of drop files for this reason.
I’m not sure which comes first, but cluttered thinking is often reflected in cluttered space. Clearing clutter usually settles the mind and allows space for more creativity to appear.
5. Allowing space for visuals. Even if visual learning isn’t your preference, most people respond to visuals in their environment. Maybe it’s an inspirational quote, or a photo that reminds you of your Big Why? It could be your vision board, plan or schedule. You might have a white board so you can map out your ideas or pegs for important notes.
All of these priorities will evolve as your business develops so it’s important to check in regularly and adapt. Know the signs/criteria that show your business needs a space upgrade. That way you be able to move when your business can support the extra cost without limiting growth.
All this said, from time to time, it’s good to get out of your familiar environment. This allows you to see different perspectives and get fresh thinking on your business. With the end of the year approaching, I am recruiting a select group of Self Employed Adventures to spend time with me at the seaside reviewing their experience of Self Employment to date and creating their plans for 2019.
This is business planning, but not in its traditional form! We will consider all areas of your work and life, move through any areas where you are stuck or holding back and create a compelling vision for the future as well as practical action plans.
If being part of this group is of interest to you, click on the envelope button below to email me and I will be in touch with more information.