I’ve been self-employed for two weeks now so clearly it’s time to share my wisdom from the experience thus far. Here’s what I’ve got:
Going to an office everyday has all kinds of advantages but foremost among them is the structure it provides. You’ve got to get there which requires the structure of a morning routine and the structure of a drive to work (you go the same way every time, right?). When you arrive there is a building and an office and a desk and a chair. There is coffee and a computer and a phone and books and paper. Oh, and there are people there who do things to support you if you ask nicely and treat them respectfully and return the favor once in a while. There are also people who work late at night to clean up after the other people which is a pretty nice deal. Office structure is predictable and reliable. Mostly.
At my house…er, “home office,” this is not always the case. There is definitely an existing structure but it is built and managed to run a family. Asking that same structure to also support a new business venture is a little like asking the dog to do the dishes. She’s equipped in some ways…not so much in others. That said, I am an interloper in the routine; useful on occasion – I spent much of first week handling school drop-offs and pick-ups – and in others I’m more of a redundant skulker, drinking coffee while the house moves into action around me. (Sorry, but I really do suck at doing girl’s hair; I have been told this many times.)
At the office, you may or may not do your best work on a given day but the framework is there; the structure exists to support the possibility of something cool happening. At home, you control your destiny. You get to decide what happens when, what goes where and whether or not you want to:
A) walk the dog
D) catch-up on Glee (last I checked Rachel was KILLING it at NYADA)
E) check for new blog subscribers (someone’s reading this, right?)
F) play golf
G) write something (anything)
H) do the dishes (greatest form of procrastination EVER, by the way, because you feel SO DAMN USEFUL)
I) watch the clock for the socially acceptable hour to mix a cocktail (let’s just say that afternoon tea needed an upgrade anyway)
J) make dinner (I barely could add this as it is such foreign territory)
K) call people who will generously validate your existence (thanks, you guys)
L) bemoan the ridiculously brief length of the modern school day
You get the idea…
I’m a beginner at this, that much is clear. I need to allow myself some space to exist in the unknown; to bounce around a little while I sort it out. So far what I can tell you is that an unstructured life is definitely worth living. It’s just that you need some structure to pull it off.
One last observation about home office life: upon closer examination I have noticed the following: there is coffee and a computer and a phone and books and paper. Oh, and there are people there who do things to support you if you ask nicely and treat them respectfully and return the favor once in a while. There are also people who work late at night to clean up after the other people which is a pretty nice deal. Home office structure is predictable and reliable.