It’s safe to say that self-employment and working from home can be challenging at times…!
Below are 30 tips I’ve pulled together for the benefit of fellow self-employed folk; especially those who are new to this lifestyle.
So, without further ado…
Try to get up at a similar (and sensible!) time each morning. When your workspace is a mere few metres away, it can be tempting to stay in bed a little longer, but it’s important to establish a routine.
Take regular breaks. Just because you’re not in a typical workplace setting, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time out.
Stop working at a certain time of day and allow yourself to have a restful evening. I make a point of closing my laptop once my partner comes home from work.
Take holidays! You’re allowed to give yourself a decent chunk of time off.
Try to ‘leave work at work’. This is very difficult, when you work from home, but you must try to separate your work life from your personal life.
Exercise. I go for long walks or short runs and do resistance-training in my office, which is probably quite amusing for the people who live opposite…!
Get some fresh air. I try to go outside at least once a day, even if only to grab some milk from the local shop.
Eat healthily. Try and keep your fridge and cupboards stocked with food that will make you feel nourished and alert, rather than hyped-up on sugar!
Take care of your mental health. As a sole trader, I am fully responsible for all aspects of my business, and that can be a worrying thought! Manage your stress in ways that work for you.
Be honest with those around you and speak up if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your friends and family will want to support you in any way they can.
Make time to see those you care about. Working from home can be lonely, so try to arrange regular meet-ups.
Consider renting a desk in an office or look into co-working opportunities in your area if you’re struggling with lone working.
Network with other self-employed people. You might be able to help each other, and it’s refreshing to speak to someone who knows what you’re going through. Keep an eye out for free local workshops.
Keep your workspace tidy. If you’re anything like me, a cluttered desk will only add to any stress you might be experiencing, so try to keep it organised.
Make sure you’re comfortable… and this doesn’t mean working from your bed! If you’re going to be looking at a screen all day, make sure you’ve set yourself up in a way that won’t wreak havoc on your back and neck.
Learn to prioritise your workload. You’ll definitely need to be able to do this if you’re going to succeed as a self-employed person!
Set yourself daily goals in a work diary and tick them off as you go; no matter how small.
Keep a record of your income and expenses and make a habit of saving receipts for tax purposes. (An obvious one, but vital!)
Seek help if you need it e.g. with registering as a sole trader or limited company, keeping track of your finances, filing your first tax return etc. I would be happy to point you in the direction of companies who have advised me along the way.
Accept that you will need to put money into your business before you get any back!
Don’t feel pressured into lowering your rates. You set them for a reason.
Don’t be afraid to say “no”. Sometimes a project won’t be right for you, for one reason or another. It’s OK to turn down a job, and you shouldn’t be wracked with guilt for doing so.
Narrow down your target market; not everyone will be interested in your services or products, so it’s a waste of time trying to sell to everyone!
Know where your target market can be found and act accordingly. It’s no good paying to advertise in a magazine when your potential clients are predominantly on Facebook, for example.
Try not to catastrophise. Sometimes things won’t go your way. Don’t let this drag you down!
Make the most of quiet periods! You might want to use this time to market your services, work on your CV or update your website.
Find ways to continue learning. You could attend workshops, take a course or read books that will benefit your business.
Take your time creating templates for your contracts and invoices. These are very important! Look online for help .
If you’re a sole trader, don’t pretend you have a team of people around you. You should be proud of the fact that you’re running a business on your own!
Be yourself. You can be professional while allowing your personality to come through.
There are plenty more tips, I’m sure, but I hope the above help a little!