I became a freelance PR at the end of 2006. It wasn’t planned, at all. I had become sick in the summer, suffering from Bells Palsy, which had me laid up for a few weeks and during that time I realised that I just didn’t want to go back to my job, working in a PR agency in Covent Garden.
While convalessing back in Bristol, where I’d fallen sick, I started to think about what I would do if the Bels Palsy left me with permanant damage to my face. I was suffering from stroke like syptoms down the left-hand side of my face, and I began to wonder if I could do my job, which mainly involved writing and talking to the media, from home.
I met up with a good friend who said she was looking for some freelance support and that was all I needed to hand in my notice. I leapt into an unknown future.
What I love most about being self-employed, though it has its ups and downs, is working from home. It has surprised me that I don’t mind being alone for one thing, because for the most part I’m on my own and I love to talk. I mean I can really chat some when I want to and I love company. You only have to look at my old school reports to know, “well, Mrs Dibble, Gail is easily distracted”.
More and more people are choosing to work alone, so I thought I would share some tips that I’ve learned. If you have tips and tricks please share in the comments below.
1 – Music All Day Long
Steve is the real music fan in this house, so I’ve learnt from the best and have a radio on in the background all day long. It keeps me up to speed on the news of the day, there’s chatter that can imitate a noisy office background and I turn the dial to suit the different moods I’m in or need to get to. If I need to quicken my pace it’s Kisstory club sounds all the day, but there’s plenty of times that I’ll go on Youtube and pick out a favourite and enjoy The Best Of…
2 – Early Morning Jog
It wakes me up with a blast of fresh air – there’s nothing more mind-numbing than moving from bed to desk in one move – and means I can tick exercise off the list before my day really begins. I just have a quick espresso, start up Strava and stick on my head phones. Admittedly sometimes I feel like I’m running in my sleep and my legs are still heavy from the night’s sleep, but I really am chuffed.
3 – Watching the Clock
It’s not what you think. I watch the clock to do the best, most effective job I can. By keeping track of my time, from the start of a piece of work, to when I finish, not only means I’m efficient for my own purposes, I’m accurately billing for my businesses. If you don’t, you can easily think you haven’t done enough and over-service, equally, the people who pay me want their money’s worth. Using timesheets means we’re both winning.
4 – Office Essentials
Includes a clutter free desk (have I said I can be easily distracted), good coffee (see last week’s post here), hand cream – (currently loving Neutrogena Hydra Boost), a pin board with motivational quotes and pics of family and friends, cute fairy lights to cheer me up in the winter and a leafy plant to help clean the air. I have a Spider plant on a shelf, which I bought years ago. I’ve never looked after a plant so well. And I talk to it!
Lastly, I always have a bottle of bubbles on the side of my desk. It reminds me that my job is supposed to be fun. I’m not saving the planet, but sometimes it can get stressful when working to others deadlines. You remember Ab Fab, right?! Successful pitches, wins, achievements just need to be celebrated…
We turned our small bedroom into an office space. Aside from the usual equipment (desk, exec-style office chair, printer/copier/scanner, modern table lamp, white blinds and a mug coaster) I added a snazzy rug and brick wallpaper, to give the space a sense of being in a real office. There’s no room for lying on a bed when you’re trying to earn money.
Have a great weekend.
P.S I didn’t take the photo on the front page. Credit: wong via unsplash