When I first started my business, I worked from my home office. I “freelanced” back in the mid-90s when moonlighting (I always had a full-time job or was in school full-time) wasn’t as common as it is now. Actually, it probably was as common but we just didn’t know so many other people were doing it because we were so not in the uber-connected (e-mail, Skype, Twitter, etc.) world we’re now in.
Then, in 2001, after being laid off from a job I really thought I loved, I moped for a few days and then launched Get It In Writing full-time, again from my home office.
Now, let me tell you about my home office: It is an amazing space. It’s bright, airy, calming and has been an extremely productive and inspiring place for me. There are palm trees waving in the breeze right outside the window, and a gorgeous long lake in the back. And the cafeteria is free and open 24/7.
Because I operated my business like an agency for the first years, I would meet often with vendors and clients, most of whom were local. I didn’t want anyone coming to my home (for various reasons), so I would meet them at their offices or at the Universal Office (Starbucks).
My business was growing — booming actually — but I was driving myself crazy, literally, because I would spend half or more of each day out of the office and on the roads. I also began to develop a bit of a complex stemming from the question “Do you work from home?”
Many people, I felt (perhaps wrongly so), still viewed home-based businesses as small-time or part-time or less-than-serious. I was so determined to not be any of those things (and so worn out from all the driving) that I decided to get a “real” office — an office outside of my home.
And that is exactly what I did in the Summer of 2006.
The office was great — a nice building, wonderful neighbors, a reasonable rent and even a pond surrounded by orchids and filled with Koi fish in front of the building (remember, I live in Florida — it’s always warm). The commute was very reasonable (15-20 minutes one way) and for the first time, clients and meetings came to me.
Best of all, I began to separate home life and work life — something that, as a Type A-bordering-on-workaholic I had never been able to do before.
Things have been great since Summer of 2006 when I made the move. My team has grown enormously. Whereas I was once a “cave dweller,” doing it all on my own, I now have team members throughout the U.S. (+ the 4 or 5 who worked with my in the office every day at different times). My business has grown in new and amazing ways, and my path has included all sorts of additions and twists that I had never even imagined.
Over time, I started working from my home office on days when I either a) needed some uninterrupted “think time” (I felt and still do that I think best in my home office) or b) needed the extra hour (approximate total commute and “packing” time) for something specific. Over time, I also got a lot better at separating work from home and setting boundaries when needed and, most importantly, at using the most important word in the English language: NO.
Over time, as well, my business became more and more virtual. Most of my clients are not local (they are all over the U.S., Canada and even beyond) and even those local ones don’t have the need or time to meet in person. While they enjoy my beautiful face, they’d prefer to see my beautiful copy and make beautiful sales. So the meeting in person time and location didn’t matter much anymore.
Then, over the past few months, I started working from my home office more and more. I started to appreciate my huge window, my great space, the gorgeous view — a whole lot more. I started to envy my team members, all of whom (without exception) work from home.
And slowly but surely, I began to realize that I, my business and my life didn’t need the outside office anymore. To keep moving forward and to keep growing and realize everything I wanted, I didn’t have to go any further. I was already in the right place. And knowing I was already in the right place brought me more peace than I would have ever imagined.
I made my final decision at the beginning of November and by Thanksgiving (how appropriate), I was back home, permanently. I read an awesome book on Feng Shui, did some re-arranging and de-cluttering, thought about what I really needed and wanted and, without even a blip of disruption to my business, I am back from where I never really left.
Welcome Home…to me!