Oh how I love my home office. Its my money saving, genius solution to being a lean entrepreneur on the go. For most of us entrepreneurs who have issues with forking over enormous amounts of our hard earned cash for a store front that serves little to no value when the only viable foot traffic is your own, seems ridiculous. I think I can say for most lean entrepreneurs the idea of a storefront is not only barbaric to the wallet but also archaic to how current business models in the consulting world.
Most of my clients are not even in the same town I’m in. So when I meet them I am either driving or flying to them, consulting over a conference call, or connecting over coffee somewhere via Zoom or Face Time.
Having a home office can be a more desirable solution to saving money as an entrepreneur on multiple fronts, but there is always a flip side to every coin. While I have days where I can be quite productive chugging out the behind the scenes jazz that keeps my business a well oiled machine I have found it best to leave the house when one of these three symptoms start to impact how effective I am to my company:
1. Creative Slump- You’ve heard the old adage a change of place is a change of pace. There are times while being a business owner that having a home office can feel and seem confining, depressing and monotonous. Sometimes the best shift in perspective is changing up your location. Put your autonomy to work and get out of your office when you have the work place blues or when you’re having difficulty developing a solution to an idea that is taking longer than expected to solve. Don’t let yourself slip into an entrepreneurial block. My three favorite go to places are my local park, coffee shop by my house and local university library.
2. Social Strains- I’ve learned being in business for yourself sometimes causes strains on your relationships with family and friends. Being a workaholic or someone who can’t leave the office (figuratively or literally) can all be signs that priorities are in need of a check up. I had an entrepreneur tell me once he doesn’t take days off and even while on vacation with his family if his clients needed him they are the ones that put the food on the table so they come first. He said this statement with pride, and I was shocked. But how often have the rest of us neglected or abused our own relationships with family and friends in the name of maintaining our business. I have made it a point in my schedule to set aside lunch & coffee dates for those most important to me. It is now a weekly and monthly discipline especially after noticing that my business benefited and improved when I made a deliberate attempt to leave the exclusivity of my home office, change out of my grunge and leave my work to be picked back up later.
3. Sleeplessness- Early on in my journey to be an entrepreneur I had issues with sleeplessness. I would fall asleep with my laptop in my bed and my half drunk 7 shot latte on my bedside windowsill. It didn’t take long to start seeing the toll it took on my body. My hair started thinning, I couldn’t sleep, and worst yet I began to get heart palpitations. I was so intent on pushing myself to the limit I couldn’t relax. My perfectionistic tendency and need to be affirmed, as the best, was about to take me from my 6 inch heals to 6 feet in under. Rest is vital to your sanity in business. Your body needs to repair itself, your brain needs time to process the day and you need a break from you. Some of the ways I found my way back off the ledge of sleeplessness was through working out, yoga, eating better and going from 8 cups of coffee a day to 2. The most important thing that impacted me was prayer and meditation. In the morning I would start with coffee, a kind bar, my devotional and writing my prayers down. I end my day with a gratitude prayer to Christ my savior.
Know the signs of being the entrepreneur who goes from being a homebody to nobody. Home offices are awesome but don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the above 3 symptoms don’t impact you directly that you don’t need to do a self-check for your own symptoms. Know yourself. Stay alert and take charge of how you are impacting yourself, your business and social circle. You have been given a great gift, the entrepreneurial spirit. Keep being a rock star! But remember being busy doesn’t equate success. Intentional focus on what matters is what equals success. I hope these insights and tips can help you steer away from a few pitfalls and help you be your best in business and life.