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        Putting Theory Into Practice ... A Personal Perspective

        © 2013 Elena Fawkner

        Since July last year I have been writing about the benefits
        and pitfalls of working from home.  Up until now, though, I've
        been preaching theory rather than practice since all that
        time I was working full-time as a corporate lawyer and running
        this business part-time in my spare time.  Last month, though,
        the company I worked for for 12 years was sold and my
        request for a termination was granted.  I now officially run my
        online business full-time from home.

        In this article, I'd like to share with you my first month's
        experiences and observations in making the transition from
        full-time corporate suit to full-time work-from-home
        entrepreneur.  If you're about to make the break, hopefully
        these words will help ease you through your own transition.
         

        1. Identity Adjustment

        To begin with, don't underestimate the mixed emotions you
        will experience when you leave the paid workforce to work at
        home, particularly if you've been in your job for a long time.
        I wanted desperately to leave my job (I'd been waiting for my
        package for two years before it finally happened) but when the
        time came I was surprised to find how much I'd identified  with
        what I did for a living.  I was comfortable with Elena Fawkner,
        corporate lawyer, but how did I feel about Elena Fawkner,
        home-based internet business entrepreneur?  Just fine as it
        turned out but it took a few days to adjust to the idea.
         

        2. Commuting

        In my job I had a 75 minute commute.  Each way.  Do I miss
        that?  Yeah, like a hole in the head.
         

        3. Time Control

        Without a doubt one of THE best things about working for
        yourself from home is being able to control what you do or,
        more particularly, when you do it.

        I have always been an early riser and this hasn't changed.  I
        still get up at 500 am, the same time I used to get up to go to
        work, but now I start work at 500 am and find that the three
        hours from then until 800 am are the most productive of my
        whole day.  I use this time to read and respond to email and
        to work on the next issue of AHBBO, among other things.

        There is something about the peace and serenity of that time
        of day that makes it ideal for thinking work.

        Then at 800 am I hit the shower and get dressed, take the
        dog for a walk, have breakfast and pick up around the house,
        maybe put put on a load of laundry and get the dishwasher
        underway.

        By 1030 I'm back at my desk ready to pick up work again.
        Painless, and everything gets done.  Business AND personal.
        Then I work through until lunch, break at 100 pm for lunch and
        do a few other things around the house then get back to it until
        around 500pm when I FINISH for the day (with no interminable
        commute to face).  None of this 18 hour day nonsense for me!

        I am no longer dead tired at the end of the day, just pleasantly
        relaxed.  What a difference!!
         

        4. Working With Your Body Clock

        Closely aligned to the time control point is the fact that you
        can organize your work so that it dovetails with your body
        clock.  If, like me, you're an early morning person, you can
        get your most intellectually demanding work done in the early
        morning and less demanding work, such as creating web
        pages or whatever, during your less 'sharp' time.  On the other
        hand, if you're a night owl, by all means work from 1000 pm
        through 400 am if that's your 'time'.  You can sleep until noon
        if you want (if, like me, you don't have kids, that is!).

        Being able to schedule your work around your body clock
        rather than around someone else's arbitrarily determined
        'work day' means you are far more productive than ever
        before and, as a result, you will find you get more done
        in less time than you would if you were still caged within your
        9 to 5 prison.
         

        5. Blurring the Edges

        Another unanticipated benefit of working from home is that
        I don't have to segregate my business and home lives.
        Whereas before I would work from 830 am through 500 pm
        (which meant being away from home from 700 am through
        615 pm by the time you add in the commute each way), I
        would have to do all the other stuff of life, such as grocery
        shopping, laundry and cleaning the house in what I thought of
        as 'my own time'.  Now all time is my own and I can do what
        I want at the most appropriate time for me.

        In this sense, I have integrated my business into my day to
        day life and from one hour to the next I can switch between
        business activities and non-business activities.  After all, it's all
        just stuff that has to get done sometime during the day.  Why
        label it 'business' or 'non-business'.  Why have 'business'
        hours and 'non-business' hours?  Why can't time be just time?

        Now, it must be realized this is a double-edged sword.  It
        works fine now, in the early days of my full-time home
        business, but as time goes on I expect that I will want to more
        clearly delineate my business and personal lives if I start
        having trouble turning business off for the day.  For now,
        though, I'm thoroughly enjoying the freedom of calling the
        shots in all aspects of my life.
         

        6. Weather

        Another advantage that I hadn't thought of in advance is that
        when the weather is foul, I don't have to leave the house.  That's
        more of a luxury than I ever would have believed.

        On the other hand, when the weather is delightful, I CAN go out
        and enjoy it.  Even if I need to work, my laptop works just as
        well outside in the sunshine as it does inside in my home office.
         

        7. Grocery Shopping

        OK I know this one is pretty frivolous and it may seem strange
        to you that I've bothered to include it here, but one of the things
        I like most about working from home is that I don't have to do
        that one huge shop each week, battling with unruly trolleys,
        loading the car up and then unloading at the other end.  Now I
        can go to the store every couple of days, buying stuff on an
        as-needed basis, not having to use a trolley at all!  One
        obvious benefit is the ability to buy and consume food when it's
        still very fresh, without having to freeze or store it for several
        days before needed.
         

        8.  Isolation

        The isolation monster hasn't reared its ugly head yet but I
        expect it to, sooner or later.  I have found it difficult to work in
        a completely silent environment though, but that could just
        be because I'm used to the 'busy noise' of an office.  In the
        meantime, I have the radio on for company (talkback station)
        and find that takes the edge off nicely.
         

        9.  Activity Level

        One disadvantage of this lifestyle that I hadn't anticipated is
        that I am less physically active than when I worked in a
        corporate office.  I no longer have to go marching down a long
        corridor 20 times a day to go talk to someone about something.
        I no longer run up and down 4 flights of stairs 3 or 4 times a day
        as I did at my office building.  But with the time I'm saving not
        having to commute I can certainly afford the time to take some
        exercise every day.  Walking the dog for an hour a day will
        do nicely.
         

        10.  Relative Economic Insecurity

        There's no doubt that you enjoy a certain feeling of security
        knowing you have a regular paycheck coming in.  Those days
        are over for me and I am acutely aware that my income now is
        solely dependent upon my own efforts.  Although finances
        won't be an issue for some time, funds won't last forever so my
        business had better be a success if I'm to avoid returning to
        the corporate world.
         

        11.  Personal Discipline

        This one comes as no surprise.  If you're not personally
        disciplined and self-motivated, don't even THINK about giving
        up your day job.  You need to be a self starter to work for
        yourself and if you need a 'boss' looking over your shoulder
        to make sure you work, then working from home is not for you.
         

        So there you have them.  The personal reflections of a fledgling
        full-time home-business entrepreneur.  Naturally, if you have
        young children, then your ability to be home with them while
        making your living would obviously make number 1 on your list.

        These are early days and the novelty is yet to wear off.  I have
        no illusions that as time goes on other issues will arise that will
        test my resolve to work for myself.  In time, I may forget there
        is any other way of working and begin to take it all for granted.
        In the meantime though, I plan to enjoy my newfound freedom
        and independence for the luxuries they are.

        _________________________

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