Thursday, March 21, 2013

Working at Working from Home

This is my second go around with working from home in the last two years.  The first time I tried it was during a 3 month stint from October through December.  I had been laid off of a job I really loved, thanks to a cut in government funding, and was smarting from the loss.  My self-esteem was in the gutter, but I was determined to stay off of unemployment and make a living through Found Beauty Studio.  Too bad I was completely unprepared.  I was undercharging for my work, over-extending myself by selling in 3 brick and mortar stores and online during the holiday season, barely turning a profit, and on the verge of a particularly bad bout of depression.  Let's just say, this was not a resounding success.  I essentially holed myself up in my house as the days were getting shorter and colder, and sat in my living room producing as much as I could.  I was also selling several different kind of products, so there was no streamlining anything.  I was a one-woman crazy factory.  I'm pretty sure at some point my husband must have considered leaving town until I re-entered the world of the sane and rational.  Needless to say that when I was offered a job out of the blue in January, I jumped at the offer.  I was important again!  I had a reason to get dressed!  I had a nice fat paycheck and big executive's desk!  I finally felt like I could breathe. 

It only took a few months before I realized how incredibly stressed out I was by trying to work a full-time day job, which ended up taking 50 - 60 hours a week, and run this business with the remaining time.  Plus, here's the thing - I really hate rigid work schedules.  Having to be in one place day after day for a predetermined amount of time makes me want to scratch my eyes out.  So I bailed on that job, took two months in the summer to run Found Beauty Studio full time again, and then was offered what seemed like an incredible opportunity at another organization.  Again, the siren song of a steady paycheck won out.  It turned out not to be a good fit for me (see above for my hatred of rigid work schedules) and at the beginning of last month I went free range again.  Seeing a pattern here?  Yeah, me too.

So what do I expect to be different this time around?  Thankfully, quite a bit.  I know what my downfalls have been and I have a pretty good idea how to avoid them.  They include:
  • Leaving the house every day.  Sounds funny, right?  But I'm dead serious.  It's so easy to get caught up in the strange and all-consuming world in my house and I need to be reminded of the outside.  Plus, it makes me feel better to talk to other people and not just my cats (and myself)...
  • Socializing.  For real.  I have friends and we're all busy, so I make a concerted effort to schedule coffee dates, mini road trips, and impromptu social gatherings.  This was the hardest part of my first work from home experience.  I went from supervising 30 people and being constantly surrounded by coworkers to seeing maybe one or two people a week, one of whom was my husband.  It was so isolating.  
  • Having a work plan.  I'm like a magpie around a bunch of shiny objects.  It doesn't take much to distract me, so in order to get things done, I need to have goals set out for each week.  I don't give myself time of the day deadlines as that would violate my no rigid work schedule rule and I'd hate life, but I do know what I want to have done by the time Saturday rolls around.  
  • Giving myself a break  This one is by far the hardest for me.  I'm a workaholic and a perfectionist and I have a tendency to set completely unrealistic goals and then beat myself up for not reaching them.  So I'm trying to be kinder and gentler to my psyche.  It's a one day at a time approach, but it's working.  If I'm my own worst enemy, working for myself by myself is a bad idea. 
So far, so good.  Two months in and I'm really enjoying my life.  But if you see me staring crazily out my window and yelling at kids to get off my lawn, feel free to intervene :)


  1. I love your bullet points. These are things I am trying to do too!

  2. We'll have to compare notes as we go along :)