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-- Putting Theory into Practice. . . A Personal Perspective
Putting Theory into Practice. . . A Personal Perspective
"Putting Theory into Practice . . . A Personal Perspective"
By Elena Fawkner
Since July last year I have been writing about the benefits and pitfalls of working from home. Up until now, though,
I've been preaching theory rather than practice since all that time I was working full-time as a corporate lawyer
and running this business part-time in my spare time. Last month, though, the company I worked for for 12 years
was sold and my request for a termination was granted. I now officially run my online business full-time from home.
In this article, I'd like to share with you my first month's experiences and observations in making the transition
from full-time corporate suit to full-time work-from-home entrepreneur. If you're about to make the break, hopefully
these words will help ease you through your own transition.
1. Identity Adjustment
To begin with, don't underestimate the mixed emotions you will experience when you leave the paid workforce to
work at home, particularly if you've been in your job for a long time. I wanted desperately to leave my job (I'd
been waiting for my package for two years before it finally happened) but when the time came I was surprised to
find how much I'd identified with what I did for a living. I was comfortable with Elena Fawkner, corporate lawyer,
but how did I feel about Elena Fawkner, home-based internet business entrepreneur? Just fine as it turned out,
but it took a few days to adjust to the idea.
In my job I had a 75 minute commute. Each way. Do I miss that? Yeah, like a hole in the head.
3. Time Control
Without a doubt one of THE best things about working for yourself from home is being able to control what you do
or, more particularly, when you do it.
I have always been an early riser and this hasn't changed. I still get up at 500 am, the same time I used to get
up to go to work, but now I start work at 500 am and find that the three hours from then until 800 am are the most
productive of my whole day. I use this time to read and respond to email and to work on the next issue of AHBBO
(my ezine), among other things. There is something about the peace and serenity of that time of day that makes
it ideal for thinking work.
Then at 8:00 am I hit the shower and get dressed, take the dog for a walk, have breakfast and pick up around the
house, maybe put on a load of laundry and get the dishwasher underway.
By 10:30 I'm back at my desk ready to pick up work again. Painless, and everything gets done. Business AND personal.
Then I work through until lunch, break at 1:00 pm for lunch and do a few other things around the house, then get
back to it until around 5:00pm when I FINISH for the day (with no interminable commute to face). None of this 18
hour day nonsense for me!
I am no longer dead tired at the end of the day, just pleasantly relaxed. What a difference!!
4. Working With Your Body Clock
Closely aligned to the time control point is the fact that you can organize your work so that it dovetails with
your body clock. If, like me, you're an early morning person, you can get your most intellectually demanding work
done in the early morning and less demanding work, such as creating web pages or whatever, during your less 'sharp'
time. On the other hand, if you're a night owl, by all means work from 1000 pm through 400 am if that's your 'time'.
You can sleep until noon if you want (if, like me, you don't have kids, that is!).
Being able to schedule your work around your body clock rather than around someone else's arbitrarily determined
'work day' means you are far more productive than ever before and, as a result, you will find you get more done
in less time than you would if you were still caged within your 9 to 5 prison.
5. Blurring the Edges
Another unanticipated benefit of working from home is that I don't have to segregate my business and home lives.
Whereas before I would work from 830 am through 500 pm (which meant being away from home from 700 am through 615
pm by the time you add in the commute each way), I would have to do all the other stuff of life, such as grocery
shopping, laundry and cleaning the house in what I thought of as 'my own time'. Now all time is my own and I can
do what I want at the most appropriate time for me.
In this sense, I have integrated my business into my day to day life and from one hour to the next I can switch
between business activities and non-business activities. After all, it's all just stuff that has to get done sometime
during the day. Why label it 'business' or 'non-business'. Why have 'business' hours and 'non-business' hours?
Why can't time be just time?
Now, it must be realized this is a double-edged sword. It works fine now, in the early days of my full-time home
business, but as time goes on I expect that I will want to more clearly delineate my business and personal lives
if I start having trouble turning business off for the day. For now, though, I'm thoroughly enjoying the freedom
of calling the shots in all aspects of my life.
Another advantage that I hadn't thought of in advance is that when the weather is foul, I don't have to leave the
house. That's more of a luxury than I ever would have believed.
On the other hand, when the weather is delightful, I CAN go out and enjoy it. Even if I need to work, my laptop
works just as well outside in the sunshine as it does inside in my home office.
7. Grocery Shopping
OK I know this one is pretty frivolous and it may seem strange to you that I've bothered to include it here, but
one of the things I like most about working from home is that I don't have to do that one huge shop each week,
battling with unruly trolleys, loading the car up and then unloading at the other end. Now I can go to the store
every couple of days, buying stuff on an as-needed basis, not having to use a trolley at all! One obvious benefit
is the ability to buy and consume food when it's still very fresh, without having to freeze or store it for several
days before needed.
The isolation monster hasn't reared its ugly head yet but I expect it to, sooner or later. I have found it difficult
to work in a completely silent environment though, but that could just be because I'm used to the 'busy noise'
of an office. In the meantime, I have the radio on for company (talkback station) and find that takes the edge
9. Activity Level
One disadvantage of this lifestyle that I hadn't anticipated is that I am less physically active than when I worked
in a corporate office. I no longer have to go marching down a long corridor 20 times a day to go talk to someone
about something. I no longer run up and down 4 flights of stairs 3 or 4 times a day as I did at my office building.
But with the time I'm saving not having to commute, I can certainly afford the time to take some exercise every
day. Walking the dog for an hour a day will do nicely.
10. Relative Economic Insecurity
There's no doubt that you enjoy a certain feeling of security knowing you have a regular paycheck coming in. Those
days are over for me and I am acutely aware that my income now is solely dependent upon my own efforts. Although
finances won't be an issue for some time, funds won't last forever so my business had better be a success if I'm
to avoid returning to the corporate world.
11. Personal Discipline
This one comes as no surprise. If you're not personally disciplined and self-motivated, don't even THINK about
giving up your day job. You need to be a self starter to work for yourself and if you need a 'boss' looking over
your shoulder to make sure you work, then working from home is not for you.
So there you have them. The personal reflections of a fledgling full-time home-business entrepreneur. Naturally,
if you have young children, then your ability to be home with them while making your living would obviously make
number 1 on your list.
These are early days and the novelty is yet to wear off. I have no illusions that as time goes on other issues
will arise that will test my resolve to work for myself. In time, I may forget there is any other way of working
and begin to take it all for granted. In the meantime though, I plan to enjoy my newfound freedom and independence
for the luxuries they are.
About the Author:
Elena Fawkner is editor of the award-winning A Home-Based Business Online ... practical ideas, resources and
strategies for your home-based or online business. Subscribe at http://www.fawkner.com/subscribe.html
Tags: Home Office