Monday, November 14, 2011

Working From Home: What Does It Look Like?

Before we moved to Pittsburgh, I worked part-time teaching music at a local pre-school and taught classes and private lessons to young acting hopefuls after school and most evenings. I enjoyed both. But times, seasons, interests and locations/states change, and well, I left both behind.

Since moving to Beaver, I have thrown myself into building a home business with Team Beachbody. I've immersed myself in training on how to use social media to build my business - for truly, any independent business owner must embrace the electronic age. I've also actively sought out writing gigs and now write monthly for and the Hero Program. And, after rekindling my love of performing, and hopping back on stage twice this year, I am planning, in 2012, to reactivate the old SAG card, dust off the on-camera acting chops and have at my new city.

I've entertained many questions about my set up, and thought I'd write this post to share some thoughts about working from home.

1. Facebook much?
"You seem to be on FB a lot." I hear this. Often. I immediately cringe and feel this awful need to explain my actions - for the statement feels weighted and dripping with a bit of judgement. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. While I realize I shouldn't have to explain, it's hard not to want to launch into an explanation about the amount of time I spend online. Quite simply: I run an INTERNET business. As in, on the internet.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm patting myself on the back, but part of my business training this year was time management and goal setting - how to run both a home and a home-business effectively while working towards some personal bench marks I've set for myself.

Facebook, has been the ULTIMATE tool to win new business, connect with new customers immediately, and hold myself accountable for sticking to my goals. For me, Facebook is my cubicle. My office. It is where I connect with total strangers about my business ("ooh, that's scary" - no, it's not, if you ran a shop, you wouldn't know everyone who walks in . . .). It's also where I run private groups (think, traditional conference rooms) with customers, coaches, and my team. It's where I connect with my CEO. Where some drive to the office? I login.

And here's an interesting tid-bit. If you see an owl underneath something I've posted, you can be pretty sure that I am not currently online and that the post you are reading was scheduled a day in advance. Where for many Facebook is a time-waster, for me, it's a money-maker and essential to my business. Time-management. It's beautiful thing.

2. Busy much?
I think this is one of the BIGGEST misunderstandings about those of us who work at home and are unavailable during the day. Why are we? Because WE ARE AT WORK! There is a reason that I make a steady weekly paycheck with Beachbody. Because I "clock in" every day at 9:00 and put in the hours at my JOB. In between phone calls, coach training, social media updates, and even creating video posts to share my enthusiasm for my company, I also exercise, run errands, do laundry, straighten rooms, prep dinner, and attend school functions.  Believe it or not, there is a sense of "rest" in my home. We can not escape the calendar. Our life must take on a schedule in order to avoid chaos. And avoid it we do. George and I are thankful that I can stay home and work ('cause the paycheck doesn't just fall in my lap), while unloading the dishwasher or folding laundry.

Yes, this arrangement is definitely easier to manage than the one experienced by Moms who work outside the home (God bless you) BUT, that doesn't mean I'm out shopping or having lunch with the girls. (Although, I certainly could if I chose to do so.) No, I work. From home. Or from a coffee shop (if I don't need to be on the phone).

I don't like to "be at work" when my kids are home, so I have from 9-3 to accomplish my list for the day. Some may view that as "busy". I view that as focused.

3. Workout much?
No, I don't teach exercise classes. But, yes, I DO get paid to workout. Actually, I DO NOT get paid if I fail to do so. Sure, that may sound silly, but I put that plan in place to insure that I would remain consistent and committed to the personal health and fitness goals I have fought to create as a habit over this past 1.5 years. It worked. I now workout. And get paid to do so.

4. Scheduled much?
Yes, I keep a VERY detailed calendar. Complete with color-coding for each member of the family.  I even plan meals (gasp!). Now, let's not confuse using and sticking to the calendar (and the "to-do" list) as being "rigid". Seeing as I DO work at home, I am completely responsible for my own schedule. No one is giving me orders to telling me what to do. And, actually, that can be dangerous. For without a set schedule, or a manager, I could waste a lot of time. Instead, making the effort to keep "order", actually frees me up to do more! What? Being scheduled actually creates FREEDOM?


2011 has been simply amazing.

I began the year taking a great goal-setting course and learning how to create a Daily To-Do list that would actually help me reach some yearly goals.

Due, in part, to this focus, I was able to:
  • Return to acting and win an award for doing so (a total bucket-list BONUS goal)
  • Earn a trip for George and me through Beachbody (we've not been away ALONE since before Harper was born)
  • Pay off half of our debt (don't knock network marketing - Beachbody has SURPASSED my expectations)
  • Start Daily Fast Fuel with some great writers/friends (want work? CREATE your own!)
These were all items written down in January of 2011. 

Listen, our family life is pretty faced-paced with my gig, my husband's, and the kids. But, it is certainly not chaotic, by any means. But that is something I have FOUGHT to combat. 

I know others who work from home, and their arrangement looks incredibly different than mine. This is MY adopted plan. I'm thankful to have the opportunity to create what my day looks like, and truly, it's taken over a year to figure out HOW to be the most effective I can be for my husband, my children, my friends, and my customers/coaches.

Do you work from home? What does you day look like?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing how you make work...well, work. My structure is similar to yours. I try to do most of my focused writing and meetings while the boys are in school, although now that they are older (12 and 10) and are developing their own interests and social lives, they don't require (or want) as much direct oversight. When I travel, Dave's schedule is flexible enough, and the boys self-sufficient enough, that I can be fully engaged in that gig without worrying about the home front.

I also love that I can work in my sweats, do laundry between emails (or emails between laundry), and get dinner going just a few steps from my desk. I also plan meals, for us a month at a time, as a guideline and not a rigid schedule, just like you mentioned. But planning my meals in advance keeps my shopping and prep more efficient, giving me more time to work or play.

And yes, we play a lot in our family. We have friends over for meals, we serve others through our church and other opportunities, we enjoy family game nights, movie nights and restful weekends. We rarely feel that our schedule is packed.

People often ask me if I stay at home or if I work out of the home. My answer is that I work FROM home. For me, I can no longer imagine a nine-to-five in an office somewhere.