The New Year is often a time to think about where your life is going both personally and in your career. If you managed to get a break over the festive period, this week is often the time when you go back to work and wonder if you wouldn’t be better doing something else.
Home based working is a real option these days and allows you to take a more flexible approach to your career. You might be able to negotiate some work from home days in your current job or perhaps you want to think about a complete career change?
In the last 8 years, I have been running Concise Training, I have met some amazing people doing some interesting jobs, based from home and perhaps, more importantly, working the hours they want to work. I have met coaches, trainers, accountants, HR Managers, software developers and of course website developers and marketers who have all been based at home, working flexible hours.
Only yesterday, I met a lady based in who looks after dogs – walking, home boarding and home visits. She has grown her business over the past 2 years, is very busy and loving her job.
In my own business, we have a flexible business model – my employees work from home – they have set hours but the nature of the business is that there is some flexibility within that. Doctor’s appointments, children’s school plays or builders have all meant over the past year that individuals have been able to take time away from the business during the set hours – and make up the time later. A win / win for everybody.
Personally, I find the advantages of home based working are massive:
- I set up my business to be able to work around my children, so I could have a conversation with them when they got home from school (or now, phone from University), or take time out when they needed to go places.
- I can walk my dog during the day – good for me and the dog – and make up any time outside traditional working hours.
- I keep my overheads low, so can pass that saving on to clients
- I can work from anywhere. At the moment, I’m working from Swansea rather than my home in Faringdon but there is no difference from the point of view of my clients or team.
- As I travel to clients to deliver or consultancy – I can work anywhere in the UK (or world)
However, home based working isn’t for everybody – before you start, think about:
- Can you be disciplined?
- Have set hours you work – and keep to them. This might avoid the ‘oh I’ll just finish this one more task’ syndrome and allow you to switch off.
- Create a work environment that you can shut the door on.
- Don’t check your email outside work hours – all too easy now email is accessible on a mobile phone.
- Are you self-motivated? When you are working, you are meant to be working not cooking, cleaning or ironing.
- Do you have plans to get out and talk to others? Use Skype and phone to talk to your clients and others in your team. Get out to networking meetings, yes to market your business, but also to have relevant conversations with others.
I know some people prefer to actually have a nearby office to go to each day – perhaps at a local business centre to separate home from work. as well as have the option to talk to others.
This is all possible because of the changes in the last few years in both the Internet and more importantly the changes in social media / digital marketing. At the end of the day, you still need to find clients and market your business – one of the ways of doing this is via social networking.
I found my dog walker in Swansea via Facebook – she has an active account, regularly posting pictures of happy dogs on the walks. My own business would not survive without the Internet and obviously, we would not have a business without social/digital marketing.
Whatever the business, the Internet and digital marketing in some form have become essential to announce you are open for business. In fact, digital/social media marketing is now a career in its own right – there are currently 3,741 digital marketing jobs and 491 social media marketing jobs advertised on LinkedIn in the UK. Clearly, not all of these jobs are home based, but I was pleased to see this was advertised as a home based role.
In reality, many businesses are struggling to use social media / digital marketing correctly to get a return on investment and are looking for help. Many of the learners who have done our social media and digital marketing City & Guilds qualifications have set up their own consultancy business working from home to offer this help. We will be sharing their stories in our blog during 2017. If this is something that appeals to you, why not look into our 12 month starting on 10th Feb or our starting on 17th March.
What are your experiences of home working? Do share.