I have been self employed for two different companies for years now. It can be isolating and lonely at times working from home. There are no coworkers to banter with next to you or no one to chat to over lunch period. It’s just you, the computer, and the same four walls. While it’s the most rewarding job I have ever had being able to be at my kid’s school activities, doing the school runs and being able to go to doctor’s appointments without running it by a boss it’s also been a struggle for me.
I am a people person. I love socializing and overall chatting to people on a daily basis. I am one of those people that need human contact. It’s just the way I tick. I have always been in job roles managing people, working with customer services or a job that requires working with people face to face. When I first went self employed the quietness was hard to get used to. My kids were only one years old and four weeks old when I first started so it wasn’t so lonely as I was busy in between conference calls, emails, and writing. But once they both started school things got lonely too. I would work five days a week at home and then if the weather was bad I could be at home all weekend with the kids having fun but never really leaving the house in winter. I came up with a work routine that really helped me out of this tough isolating period.
I wanted to be self employed but part of a working community too. Could someone have it both ways?
Yes, I believe you can.
It started out as a few coffee cafe days with my laptop that felt nice getting out of the house and just working around a buzz of people. But I still wanted someone to bounce ideas off, someone to talk shop and just to talk to in general. So I started meeting up with other bloggers for work days in cafes. We would bring our laptops, grab our coffees and settled down into a corner of a cafe together. There would be banter, chatting, then emails and work. We could help motivate, inspire or share ideas off each other too as we were in the same industry. It was like running my business but also being apart of a community of people that did the same thing as me.
It’s evolved dramatically into meet ups where we collaborate together maybe a collaborative vlog for youtube, or we have brands that need styled photos and we get together and style and take photos of each other for work, helping each other out. It’s not always easier to capture your own hands at work while holding a camera taking photos of yourself. This is when you can really help each other out. Some days I work from home, some days I work alone in a cafe for a change of scenery and other days I try to make sure at least once a month I am working with someone else by myself. It’s made me feel less isolated and lonely on the days I can’t leave the house. It’s been an opener for me to branch out my work to collaborate with like minded people. And it’s the biggest step I have taken to really up my game in my business from the advice and tips I take away or the experiences of working with other again.
When I am home, I make sure to have a strict working routine so I don’t let the laundry, dishes and other things like food in the fridge sidetrack me. I spread my time out so I don’t get overwhelmed too. I make sure I take those coffee breaks or that lunch break even when I am deep in food styling or writing. I used to get carried away and realize I had been sitting there for six hours straight typing at the computer without even eating or drinking anything. Once I started my work routine it felt a lot better in terms of a ‘real’ job. Even though it is very much a real job from writing for other websites, photographing and styling other client content and products for them to keeping my own blog ticking over and writing blog posts for myself, it’s very busy.
One of the biggest changes to my work routine is not getting sucked into one social media platform during the day where I used to think focusing on just one a day was better. I don’t think this anymore. I find setting a timer for instagram, pinterest, facebook, and twitter each morning after I take care of my work emails is best. I make sure to answer all emails first thing after school drop off so there is nothing pressing from a client that needs attention. I then start the timer! Do I need to add something to ig stories? Do my instagram post for the day and like and comment on a few hundred of my favorite instagrammers. Once the timer goes off that’s it. I need to reply to anything on twitter and facebook and maybe add a tweet or fb post out. Timer goes off again, it’s add a few pinterest pins to boards that people will be searching for currently like Easter, or spring time. I usually set my timer for 20 minutes. Emails and timed sessions on social media usually take me up to my coffee/snack break.
I normally whip on the dishwasher from morning breakfast dishes and possible last night dinner dishes and through a load of laundry in. Grab my coffee and a snack and get back to work.
The afternoon is where I will do all my photographing, editing, videoing, writing content and whatever needs to be done for that days work. Or this is where I would meet up in a cafe for a work afternoon or in a cafe solo before the school pickup.
By the time the kids come home, I am free to get dinner on, do homework, run them to sports and activities, bath and story time at bedtime. I might finish up any lose ends that I didn’t get done after they have gone to sleep but I have a new rule only working one late night a week and no more weekends. I wanted my working from home to be normal working hours if I can help it. The weekends tend to be out at events or days out experiences with the kids so we are too busy.
This self employed working from home and being apart of a working community has really made me love my job even more than I ever did. It’s made me feel like it’s something I could keep doing for years to come and not get burned out, too lonely or feel too isolated even in those dark winter months.
Do you have a work routine at home? Do you get out and meet up with others that do the same job as you? It really can help you as much as it can help them. Let’s build a working community of self employed bloggers in every local area. It can really make a difference and give you new opportunities to make new friends. Get on facebook groups, ask around if there are any bloggers in your local area. Some might just be a 30 minute train ride you can meet in the middle somewhere. I have about fifteen bloggers that I know of in my area I can meet up with for various work days, collaborations, photoshoots, and more. Even if you find one that you can do it with it will really make a difference.
One friend whom I have been friends with for years before we both told each other about our blogs has become my regular work day partner. I have Morgana from Coffee Work Sleep Repeat to thank for motivating me when I think I can’t do a project or shouldn’t change something risky on my blog. I have Morgana to thank for even teaching me the way of blogs in general when I told her I had a blog it was very much a place I shared our family adventures and memories so my expat family back home didn’t miss out on our lives in England. It quickly after advice and tips from her that gave me the confidence and knowledge to get it going as a full time career. I have so much to thank her for but mostly for the fact she keeps inspiring and motivated me to better myself, my business, and my blog. We love getting together for a coffee and a catch up. Sometimes we just inspire each other with ideas or things we might want to try next and just have a good work chat session and other times we get together laptops against one another and type to our hearts content knowing we can talk back and forth as we work and keep each other company. She even introduced me to her photographer friend, Robyn Swain who took these gorgeous photos of us hard at work in a cafe near us. I have already booked Robyn in for a variety of jobs to help me out. Networking will bring you things you didn’t know you were looking for or people in your lives that can help you grow in one way or another.
Don’t stay home isolated and lonely thinking this is the only way to make a career working from home for yourself. You can have it both ways you just got to be willing to go out and find it and arrange it.
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