Many people experience issues when transitioning from an employed role in an office, to being self-employed.
I’ll cover several ways to overcome the issues that are commonly experienced when starting to work on a self-employed basis.
By the end you’ll have an understanding of how to choose a productive working environment, that works for you.
When people are employed they generally work in an office, perhaps in one building that has been arranged for work. You leave home in the morning and set out to commute to the office, where you spend the day working before heading home. You may have a regular schedule that is similar through the week.
Commuting can add a significant number of hours to the working week, so remember to factor this in when you are looking at your goals.
Indeed, some commuters in the UK are spending nearly two hours every day commuting. Whilst this is supposed to be the worst in the UK, for many it is a significant cost.
However, as a self-employed person you can change all of that, and maybe reclaim an extra day every week when you go full-time. You can then choose how to spend that day, either on business or leisure.
There are different challenges for the self-employed person though – particularly if you are starting out by working part-time. Rather than being just a 9-5 worker, you will also become what is called a 5-9 worker, with perhaps extra work at the weekends as well.
As a part-time home worker you would ideally set aside an area to work from at home. One in a separate room where you can close the door to physically signify ending work would be ideal. However, for many people it will just be located on a table or desk – which is where the laptop I’m going to talk about in the next session is an advantage.
If you are full-time self-employed then working from home means that you don’t have any lost commuting time, but it is important to develop a schedule that works for you.
Initially you may want to start by aiming to work the same hours as you did when you were an employee. However, you will most likely find yourself working more hours – but this is an investment in the business that you are aiming to have pay off later.
If working from home is not possible perhaps due to disruptions, then maybe a shared office or rented office could be for you…
For some people they find that they are able to work better with a physical separation from home. For them a serviced office can work well. It may be similar to the environment they were in before. However, there will be significant costs in both time and money for choosing this. You will have a commuting time cost, as well as the charges for the shared office or private office rental. And you may need to sign a contract for a minimum term.
If you need to be away from home but don’t want to spend the additional costs in a serviced office, then perhaps a coffee shop or other public area such as a hotel could work for you
Some people thrive on being in an environment surrounded by other people, so for them somewhere like a coffee shop would be ideal.
They’ll usually have Wi-Fi available, and also a ready supply of drinks – however costs can mount up as you’ll be expected to purchase items in order to ‘pay’ for your use of their space.
In conclusion, everyone prefers a different type of environment to work from.
Whether it is from home, a serviced office or a coffee shop – you should choose the location that suits you best and not what you may think a self-employed person would choose. I’ll come back to this topic later when we discuss where you will meet your clients – which may differ from where you actually work.