Have you ever noticed how quiet it can be when you are working at home? Of course, if you have five children that might not be an issue, in fact, having a quiet house might be a blessing! Having worked in an office where nearly 200 of us sat on the same floor, it was a stark realisation to go from the constant hum of computers, chattering and muffled voices to having no human interaction all day. When I met one of my ex-colleagues who had also started up her own business at the same time as me, she mentioned that she was finding it tough working from home. No drinks on a Friday evening at the pub, no Christmas parties to attend and definitely no water cooler moments to discuss TOWIE (The Only Way is Essex). I realised that although working from home has tonnes of benefits it can be quite a lonely experience. So to banish the blues consider the following:
- Take planned breaks throughout the day and get out of your house/apartment. For example, go out for a 30 minute brisk walk first thing in the morning; it will get those endorphins working and set you up for the rest of the day.
- Create your own distribution group of professionals. For example, if you are a freelance web designer then join forces with an accountant, a PR expert, a marketing consultant and an IT specialist, amongst others. You can recommend each others’ businesses and meet on a regular basis so that you support each other and share information from a business perspective.
- Social networking is a great way to reach out, not just to people in your own field or geographic location but people all over the world who share common business interests. You will be amazed at just how many people work independently and how encouraging they can be when you are having a tough day.
- Approach your competition; behind the company name is a person who may be in a similar situation to you. Find people who are operating at the same level, email them and suggest meeting up for a coffee. At these meetings it’s important to build a good relationship and sharing your knowledge is a great way to start building trust.
- Try to attend at least one networking meeting a week. Set yourself a target to speak to a certain number of new people at each; identify those you want to follow up with in order to gain new business and those you want to add to your support network.
- Don’t forget to join social groups and make sure you try something new. There is nothing like stepping out of your comfort zone to make you realise just how fantastic a human being you are. Imagine the richness you will bring to your conversations as well as the new friends you will make. So many people are trying different sports as a result of the 2012 London Olympics – so why don’t you consider doing something different.
At first all of this may seem a little bit scary but it’s a bit like getting back into the dating scene after a hiatus in the Gobi Desert. It can be time consuming and daunting but if you take one step at a time and plan effectively, you’ll be surprised to find how quickly you can enrich your environment and ensure that your self-employed status is vibrant and energised.
Have a great evening everyone.