On the cover you see one of the drawings I made for my son, trying to explain a biology lesson. While working from home, I had a lot of time with him, solving problems in maths, literature and biology. And believe me or not, I am very thankful for these moments. They are my best memories from my first “work from home” years.
So, meet Bob the Bacteria!
Before you leave the office
In the previous article I gave you my personally tested and proven 10 suggestions of what to do before you leave your “office” job.
Here are the next 10 including some suggestions on how to create your strategy.
- Consider where at home will be the best workspace
It is important that your home office area is organized and finished while you still have a regular salary. Try some days to do some work from home. Try different places. Maybe you will feel more comfortable when you can hear the noises from the kids’ room.
If your child is very small, maybe you may have to decide on a workspace in the nursery? Of course, if your work includes a lot of phone calls or other noises or dust from crafting, this is not a great idea. But, if you are writing, or programming, or doing other quiet activities, why not? Draw a plan of your home using a measuring tape, paper and pencil. Take photos of different areas and print them. Draw on top of the plan and the photos your ideas about the desk, cupboards, shelves…
Ask yourself – do you expect people to come to your office? Is it ok to meet clients at home? Maybe you will need to somehow separate your living space from your office? Do you have a garage or a storage room? Is it possible to be remodelled as office space? Is it possible to have a separate entrance? If not, is it possible to find a nice coffee shop in your location, where you can meet your clients for coffee or tea, and is it also quiet enough to talk? I recommend you do not choose a café close to an office building or high school!
- Increase the level of your knowledge and skills
Apart from the skills you will employ in your business, I suggest you also improve your other skills. Maybe the locals will love your homemade baking business, but if you want to grow bigger, you’ll need something more – accountancy maybe? Cake decorating classes?
- Ask for help
One of my biggest mistakes in the past was to be too proud to ask the people I know for help. I am not talking about asking for money. But word-of-mouth advertising is the best for beginning businesses.
And something very important: never rely only on any single person’s promises. Circumstances change and people change their minds. Always have an “emergency exit” from all situations. I am calling it an “emergency exit” and for me this is exactly what it is. Write a list of “what ifs”: What if I have no clients? What if there’s not enough money for materials? What if I have too big an order?… Write down every bad possibility with some ideas on how to fix the problem.
And always be kind! Yes, sometimes we are busy or tired and even angry and sometimes our words come out sharper than we want but remember, being kind, opens doors as easily as rudeness closes them. So always be kind.
- Once you’ve decided what your business will be, create an online site
The internet offers you a huge free advertising platform and you would be stupid not to use it. Depending on what your services will be, maybe you will also have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn account or maybe Instagram and Pinterest as well. An online presence is crucial for almost any business nowadays. For craft businesses Pinterest (and somehow Instagram) is the best platform for finding new clients and attracting traffic to your site. I can’t really recommend a Twitter account, because you will have to spend a lot of time there to make it worthwhile. But it works for some people so you can try and if it doesn’t work for you in the first 6 months, stop using it. Work with the other social media and leave Twitter to the Kardashians of this World.
If you have a teenager, it is a great idea to ask him or her to administer this for a small amount of money which can even be related to the percentage of new clients coming from social media. Of course, in the beginning you will still have to control the content – to write the posts, fix the links, but using the young person’s ability to work online. They are great at this. Also, not only is it time-saving for you but it is always good to involve your children in your work. This ensures they know where the money comes from and helps teach them to be more responsible.
- Learn another skill, it will be helpful
The best example for me is crocheting which has been a great benefit to me for many years for some extra income, created with pleasure. It is a great way to clear my mind and to make some money while relaxing. Not a huge income, but something more to save for those rainy days.
- Create a daily program and start to follow it every minute as if you already have a real 24-hour business
Allow time for sport, for a walk outside, for reading books too. Allow time for social media – especially if it is important for your future job. Even though social media can be such a time-eater, I have profiles in different media because they are a great way to advertise my craft.
All you need to create your daily program is to have two things in mind – when is your most productive time and what are your responsibilities to your family. If you have a small child or children of school age which you have to drive or walk to school, put this time in your program first and organise all the other tasks around it.
Most people believe that once you become your own boss, this will make your life easier. They imagine working from home like a beach experience with a laptop and a cocktail, surfing between the beautiful view, the plans for the evening and your work. I have even seen a work-from-home book cover with woman’s legs in high heels on the desk… Hm. Politely put, this is bullshit.
If you believe this, you will be in serious trouble. Being your own boss means to have the worst boss ever! The most evil one! The one, who says, “Today we are not going to pay you, but you still have to work until after midnight, because you have deadlines and also – a lot of other obligations like washing, cooking, cleaning! So take those feet down from the desk immediately or I will take the cost of fixing the scratches in the wood from your salary!”…
- Create a schedule to achieve the preparation steps
And start following the goals in it and ticking the boxes!
- Keep your plans a secret!
People are jealous. Don’t tell anyone, even your best friend at work, you are planning to leave. Of course, you can share that you need extra income, so you are starting some other activities in your “free time in the weekends”. But don’t say you are preparing to quit!
- Do not destroy the relationships with your previous colleagues and your ex-boss if possible!
This is important for your future, because angry people can always ruin your new career and plans.
- Believe you can create a better future for yourself and your family!
Because it is true!
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