Loads of people do it, I never have and I only ever had the minimum amount of maternity leave so I’ve never even been a stay at home mum. Since a very early age I have always worked for someone and now……
When I made the decision to give up my teaching career and start my own business I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I know for a fact that lots of people have the dream to do it and envisage themselves with this cool life of business lunches, chilled out days and no one to answer to! Let me assure you that this is not all it seems. I thought I would put together the 5 main things that I have realised over the last 6 months and the essentials that I need to keep me going.
In my 17 years of teaching I didn’t function without a list and now is no different. I used to spend Sunday evenings dreading the thought of work the next day, this no longer happens which is amazing but I do sit and write my list for the following week. I start with my priorities at the top, especially if I have a deadline all the way down to the small things (my daughter loves this and likes to add things to it!) If you are not a list person I can assure you that nothing feels better than ticking things off. I even add things to my list after I have done them just so I can tick them! It also acts as a reminder of everything you have done and achieved that week.
2. Make plans for the week and beyond
If you read my first post of the year you will know that I crammed an awful lot into 2016. This wasn’t an accident, I wanted to get out and meet people and make plans. When you are writing your list for the week try and incorporate days out to visit other people in the similar industry to you. There are loads of amazing groups and organisations who’s sole aim is to get people together to share ideas, worries or just chat. I have quickly realised that working from home can be lonely but it doesn’t need to be. Instagram is a fantastic source for finding your crew and everyone needs a crew. Make plans for further down the line too, its great to have something to look forward to, a trip to London, a blogger event or take the initiative and arrange a larger meet up. Even if its just meeting your mate for coffee every now and again, bouncing ideas off someone else is invaluable. I do talk to myself a lot! This works for me, what can I say?
3. Get out of bed and get dressed!
Now this isn’t an option for me as I have to take my son to school each day and this obviously puts me into a routine. I can assure you however there have been times when all I have wanted to do is come home, put the PJs back on and crawl into bed. (I promise I have only done it once!!!) What you probably don’t know is that I do supply teaching and my work day is always dependant on a phone call from the agency. Once 8.30 comes around I know whether I am free or not. However if I have planned to do something I stick to it and I turn the agency down. For me it is important to treat each day as a work day and so I get ready and wait to see what the day brings. Now, on the subject of tea, how much is too much and how many cups are you really allowed before you officially start work in the morning? You work from home! Have as many as you want when you want them. The perks are real guys, real!!!
4. Make your workspace beautiful and don’t put your phone away!
Ok, so my office at school was pretty depressing and I couldn’t wait to get home everyday and play in my workroom, yes it used to be a dining room but who actually needs a dining room anyway?!! If you work from home you need to stay inspired, you need to surround yourself with beautiful things and I am lucky to be able to call this my workroom. I know not everyone has this luxury but even if you just dedicate one area in your spare room or lounge and make it yours it really does help to make it feel more like a real place of work. Now obviously I am not content with one area and I am avidly awaiting the construction of my new shed!!! This will not be any shed! And I will not be happy until I have put my stamp on it. Watch this space…. The other part of this lesson was not to put your phone away, why? I have read so much from other entrepreneurs and small businesses about staying focused and not spending all of your time on Instagram and Facebook but isn’t that the point? My whole business world is built around these things, I gain new inspiration and ideas every day on there and I don’t want to miss a thing. Obviously if it stops you from doing your job properly then thats different but I almost use it as a reward for each task I complete, 10 minutes catching up over another cup of tea!
5. Be thankful
This final lesson is the one I am working on the most. I couldn’t be happier right now but it isn’t easy. The lack of a regular income has hit us hard and not knowing what is around the corner is a weird one. We had our lives mapped out and then I turned it on its head! But I am so thankful for this opportunity and I am determined to make a success of it. Many people don’t get the chance to follow their dreams, oh its banded about all over the place, you only have to walk in The Range and it plastered on every surface! But not many people actually do it do they? I remind myself of this every day and I remind my lovely husband how lucky we are that we have each other (that always works) and 2 happy healthy kids. I am living my dream, I get to to visit some of the nicest brides and grooms at beautiful venues and up until now have had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic people, long may this continue. Not every day is a bed of roses, I am not quite at the stage where people want to take me to fancy lunches every day to discuss new ideas but I do get to take my boy to school and pick him up and thats gold dust.
Oh and on the subject of picking up your kids from school, lesson 6 – don’t ever get so engrossed in what you are doing and forget will you? Apparently thats frowned upon……….