Tips on working for yourself

I left my corporate job at the end of July to pursue my dream of working for myself in the creative industry. Although time will truly tell – so far, it’s been the best decision I have made.

I’m not going to lie, it is really hard work but i’m really enjoying the journey.

With last week as my first full week of working from home, I wanted to record my thoughts and share the many lessons I have learnt.

Get in to a routine as quickly as possible

Everyone is different and whilst i’m normally pretty spontaneous, I need structure within my work life and was keen to get in to a routine as quickly as possible.

From day one, I set my alarm and go for a morning run before I switch on the laptop. This time is when I would normally be starting my long commute to the office.

This is working really well as it avoids the cabin fever that sometimes comes along with working from home. It also allows me to receive some fresh air and i’m usually raring to go when I get back.

Be strict with your family & friends

This is one that I hadn’t forseen before starting. During the first few days, many of my mum friends and retired family popped in for a cuppa and a chat.

Whilst this was lovely, I was always multi-tasking, not giving them my full attention and it can be quite disruptive.

What works well for me is to have set lunchtimes to see different members. Now I get to spend quality time with each of them which also forces me to take a break. I’m also more productive when I go back to work.

Invoice as soon as the work has been completed and set your payment terms

When I was building my client base and design work was a secondary income, I could afford to wait until the weekend and batch send my invoices.

Now it is my main income, i’ve now become a lot stricter with my payment terms and send all invoices as soon as the work has been completed. This will help keep a steady cash flow during tougher times.

Now on to two of my favourite topics. Food and wardrobe….

Dress as if you were going to the office

We all like to wear our dressing gowns now and then (except for client meetings!!) but your mindset is so much more productive if you get ready as if you are going to work.

Stock up on plenty of healthy food that you can cook quickly

Now that i’m not fortunate to have a subsidized work canteen, my shopping list for food includes plenty of pasta, salad, stir-frys and sandwiches.

Many of which I make in batch to get me through lunch breaks when i’m normally rushing to eat and meet people. I have also found that keeping food which has a long life span at family & friends houses really helps.

Summary

Obviously one of the main benefits of working for yourself is the freedom and flexibility it provides.

I’m conscious of being too regimented but keeping to a routine helps me to keep my focus and remain as productive as possible as every hour counts.

It’s still very early days but so far i’m really enjoing the journey and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about taking the leap.

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