I have spent the four months of this University summer break working for myself to see whether I can cut it, and to see if I can pay the bills managing my own workload and finding enough commissions. I have to say, it worked. I was flat out until my cut off point on 1st September. And I worked from home.
It seems ideal doesn’t it? So long as you stay focused and keep on moving forward how difficult can it be? But no matter what your age or what you’re doing, working from home is hard – so hard. There are always distractions, always better things to be doing, or at the very least, nagging tasks around the house that must be accomplished before you can clear your head and get on with the work.
And then of course you can never get away from work unless you have a suitable room put aside that you can shut the door on at the end of the day. I don’t unfortunately and so my dining room became the office and the pathway between the kitchen, the front door and pretty much every bit of the house. I was effectively living in my office.
It’s also very solitary. I can count on one hand the number of times I left Lincoln this summer and on both the number of times I got to let my hair down and go out with friends. This is primarily because working for yourself also involves cash flow issues and bills always take priority – especially when your home is also your place of work.
Yesterday I went back to University for my final year. The relief of walking back into a working environment, somewhere I can go every day and switch completely into work mode is liberating and it means home is now home again.
Now I can compartmentalise things again. I have a 9 – 5 I can go to every day and do work and I can come home and do home stuff and personal projects. The blurry lines between work and recreation have become defined again. Not only has it suddenly switched me on creatively again and given me renewed enthusiasm but ‘chez moi’ no longer feels like the work / home prison.
I guess that’s why I am happily sitting here at ten to nine in the morning tapping away at my keyboard and writing this blog.
I also wanted this to be a learning curve in many ways and I now know that one of the most important things I can plan before I leave Uni next May is to sort out a studio so that I can treat my business like a business. I am planning to remain in Lincoln at least for the first year whilst things are still new and tentative. Everything is here, everything is vastly affordable and I am settled here. Lincoln is my home, not just my University town. I have several options to investigate but they will all incur extra costs on top of home bills and that means extra work to be found. Sadly that may mean less TF work and more ‘business head on’.
Thankfully I am already booking commissions in for next year, so things are already looking up and I’ve still got a whole academic year to go.