Recently, I became self-employed working as a social media manager and video producer. This new career; was a job in line with a position I held at an organization last year, but now something I do for clients of small businesses. It is great to have the freedom some days of having lunch with friends, or networking for business opportunities. So from that perspective, there is no complaint.
However, being self-employed and working from home is a very challenging job. It requires the skills of organization, diligence, and perseverance. Your income is not consistent, and projects have a variety of deadlines, not to mention come and go like the weather.
So how do you stay focused? That is probably the million-dollar question, and there are motivational speakers I’m sure that could answer that. Setting goals for the day or the week are key to keeping on track to accomplish your workload. There is nothing wrong with sleeping in until 9 am if you wish, but it might mean you work until 6 pm or sometimes later.
I find my most creative moments happen after 7 pm. I’m not sure why that is. But it is around that time I get my second wind and I have the best clarity. So for me, it is not unusual to work while the rest of the house falls asleep at 10 pm.
What is perfect about this new arrangement, is the work I do does not have a set time or location. For instance, in retail the store opens at 9 am someone has to be there to greet the customers, the store closes at 9 pm someone has to be there to lock up.
As a social media manager who works from home, the internet is always open. Posts can be scheduled, weeks in advance, research and planning can be done while the rest of the world sleeps, and if you are fortunate enough, and some of this work could be done in your pajamas or at the beach.
Does this sound like a dream job? Some days it is, and there other days when it is lonely working away, with only the sound of the furnace going off and on. So this where it gets tricky. It is easy to fall into procrastination mode. So how do self-employed home businesses stay focused?
By planning. Each week I get out my calendar and chart my destiny for the week. I make sure that I start with the most pressing projects so I ensure deadlines are met, and then I schedule meetings and coffee breaks. That’s right coffee breaks. These are used as a two-fold method. It allows me to get my favourite cup of coffee at the café and gives me a chance to meet with other like-minded individuals to discuss the day’s events. It gives me a reason to leave the house and something to look forward to.
Because most of my work is done on a computer, talking to clients is usually done through text or email. Some days that works well especially when I am in the middle of a video edit and need my concentration. Other days it gets kind of lonely not talking to anyone other than the dog.
Working from home is not for everyone. There are some who can become so engrossed in their work they don’t even notice they have been there for two hours. And there are creative people like me who work then have to walk away to regroup and then come back. Sometimes I don’t come back for a few hours, and honestly, that is a good way to ensure that content is accurate.
If you are able to be organized, diligent, and perseverant, working from home provides you with the perfect mix of social, work, and family time.
While writing this blog, I was able to cook my family dinner, and download a video for a client, while wearing my PJ’s, well not really but comfy clothes.
RaDeana Montgomery has over 25 years of experience as a journalist, public relations practitioner, and communications strategist. Her passion is to help other entrepreneurs find their WHY but most importantly, created engaging and interesting content.