Being a business owner is the best thing in the galaxy. It's freedom, it's stress, it's challenge, it's motivation and it's no pants all day long. Being a business owner doesn't always mean you can work from home but if you have that luxury, it can be an interesting journey to say the least. While I've worked the more common 9-5, Monday through Friday for an employer, being self-employed is definitely what fits my personality best. No misunderstanding here, the working world wouldn't survive without both types of individuals and both are equally important. If you don't work from home, there's a hefty list of things you likely cannot relate to and us home-workers, we love it; it's like our secret rite of passage. I'll let you in on some of our secrets and answer the question, what do people who work from home REALLY do all day?
We don't wear pants. Sometimes we don't even put real clothes on. What for? Virtual world is our method of communication and it's totally unnecessary. Granted, I do get dressed at least once a week to remind myself I'm an actual human and OWN clothing but typically it's fuzzy socks and sweatshirts. It's comfort over anything else really. If a video call is in the works, dress up is from the neck up. It also makes getting dressed for an outing or event much more fun. No shame in our game!
We have NO clue what traffic patterns look like. Rush hour? Lunchtime traffic? Not a clue. Recently, I had to be at a speaking event early in the morning and didn't take into consideration the morning rush hour and was almost late. It sounds quite silly for all of you 'leave-for-workers' but honestly, it just doesn't cross my mind anymore. My morning commute takes about 30 seconds and my biggest obstacles are generally dog bones on the floor. Did I mention we spend WAY less in gas than you do? Awesome sauce.
We eat all day. Maybe I should speak for myself here, but I'm pretty sure this is a general habit. I have meals life morning coffee, snack, breakfast, snack, brunch, lunch, second lunch, shakes and more snacks. It's so readily available, why wouldn't we? The key here of course, is stocking the kitchen with really healthy snacks and foods. If not, things could get ugly real fast.
We have the beautiful luxury of taking breaks on our own schedule. I love to get up and take a walk with my pup, have lunch outside on the porch, call my family, write blogs like I am right now and text my friends. It's all about time management. You're probably thinking, when does this girl work!? When you're organized, when you delegate and when you work efficiently, these things are cinch to fit in and it's a beautiful exercise of freedom and awareness. It amazes me to think about having to ask permission to take breaks or have snacks. Today, it seems so basic but I definitely don't take it for granted.
We tend to become socially, well, awkward. Again, maybe I should speak for myself here, but there are times I find myself so unfamiliar with being around people in the most normal settings, I feel a little out of place! I don't have children and my clients are all over the country. I am literally alone from 8am (or earlier) to 8 in the evening. That probably sounded much sadder than it really is so let me clarify. I love being alone. I work well when I am by myself without distractions and my work allows me to feel like I am contributing something really significant to the world. Drinks with friends and the gym are literally my saving grace! Which leads me to my next point...
The gym is seriously the best part of the day. This may be the case for many people who enjoy exercising and have a lot of energy to burn after a long day at work, but it's more than a workout for me. I get to be around people! If it's group fitness I'm doing or teaching a Zumba class, I get to interact, converse and laugh! It's awesome and keeps me sane.
We have an impeccable amount of self-discipline. My success and the growth of my business depends 100 percent on my dedication. I learned this early on and definitely with some challenge. I have the freedom to do, technically, whatever I want. If I want to try and juggle my business by only working 2 days during the week, I can. Will it succeed? Will my clients be happy? Probably not. My planner is on steroids and would probably intimidate most people, but it has to be that way! I have to carve out time for all parts of my day, all of my clients and all of my responsibilities. As a young entrepreneur, I've learned (and continue to learn) that everything in my life is a result of me. My failures and my successes come from my thoughts that eventually turn into actions. I'm by no means implying that people who go to a job everyday don't have self-discipline or time management skills. I am highlighting however, that being given a list of responsibilities and specific deadlines by someone higher up makes that workflow a little easier. My role is not only to get these things done, but also to identify WHAT needs to get done which isn't always easy.
Working from home is awesome. Self-employed individuals definitely face a very different set of struggles and challenges than those who go to work. It's all absolutely relevant and everyone has a role to play in our seriously rapidly changing workforce. Value your role and what you do every single day. Don't take it for granted and try and find yourself enjoying it in the moment. If you're unhappy with where you are, start to make change and remember you completely create a life you love or hate. Cheers to hard work and no pants!