Running your own business when you work alone can be an excruciatingly lonely business.
A few months ago a colleague in the building where I am based gave up his office to work from home. His journey has reminded me of similar problems I have faced. And I was happy to pass on my advice to help him keep his sanity and a work life balance.
When you work from home isolation is a major problem. When you run your own business keeping costs down is often vital and working from home can save you valuable funds. But unless your job involves a lot of customer contact making time for other human beings should be a priority. The novelty of working from home quickly wears off when you lose the structure to your day and without it your inspiration, your enthusiasm and your ability and desire to socialise will dry up.
One of the best places I have found for meeting people if you lack a strong social circle outside work is Meetup. Whilst finding like-minded communities is important, you never know where your next collaborator or customer will come from. So limiting yourself to, for instance, other makers with a shop on Etsy, isn’t always going to be beneficial to you. Sometimes you need to distance yourself from your own industry to get perspective.
Finding somewhere you can ‘dip in’ such as business hubs and internet cafes can be a real boost to your day. In Manchester we have places like Zieferblat, which provide internet and as much tea and cake as you can eat for 8p a minute. It makes a perfect base for those days when you want to work in a livelier environment.
When you work for yourself a place of work that you have to commute to has huge benefits even if it just gets you out of the house every day. My drive and enthusiasm for work has changed immeasurably since I moved to Manchester in January 2015 and took up residence in a managed building. I wouldn’t give it up for anything, especially now that my business has expanded to fit the space I have.
Separating work from home has become far easier and inevitably I have crossed paths with people from a whole range of backgrounds. We are all running our own businesses. We’re not connected industry wise but it’s great to be able to compare notes, or simply chat about the day to day mundane stuff that the rest of us take forgranted.
Exercising your sociable muscles is really important. It has a knock on effect and will benefit your business. If you’re struggling with the social aspects of working for yourself, take a look in your local area. You might be surprised by what you find.
For all things Falcieri Designs check out my website at www.falcieridesigns.co.uk