Strategies for Working From A Home Office

by on May 9, 2012 · 12 comments

Rusty | Expand2WebI am lucky enough to have a dedicated space in my house for a home office and it has been the headquarters of EileenLonergan.com for the past four years. Twice last week I was asked how I could detach myself from the “house duties” to sit in my office. I never feel the irresistible pull of my laundry room, but I do have some strategies for working from home which I thought may be interesting to share.

1. I have a routine that is imposed upon me because I have a family. When I get them out the door I spend a few minutes “tidying” and then I get to my desk. I very rarely break from this because a quick trip to the grocery store inevitably turns into a half day of work lost.  It is rare that I am not at my desk before 9am.

2. The first thing I do when I get to my desk is think about the clients I don’t yet have. I don’t answer email, read Facebook or check Twitter until I have made some sort of contact with a potential piece of new business. What this could be:

  • Send a pitch to someone who has requested a proposal.
  • Send an email to someone that is in my “sales funnel” to check in.
  • Write a post for my blog.
  • Try to solve a problem or help someone in one of my professional LinkedIn or Facebook groups.
  • Comment on a blog post (always comment with some way of moving the post forward, I am not one to get into a debate with someone via the comments section of their blog).

3. Have a network of online colleagues. I am a member of the Expand2Web Experts group and one of the benefits is a closed Facebook group. The conversations are professional and on target and it provides me with a digital water cooler. I can see what other people are creating for their clients, new tools they have found or industry changes and how they are responding. Ultimately is a huge time saver to ask one of the fellow Experts for professional | technical advice and it really solves the problem of frustration or feeling alone in your business.

4. Without a doubt there are days when I miss being part of a team. I make it a point to put myself on the team of my clients. I am their digital marketing department, I celebrate their success and take great pride in their accomplishments!

5. I celebrate my solo operation. I recently trained for and completed a half marathon, using lunchtime breaks to run with my hound Rusty by my side! I actually solved a lot of creative problems while taking those breaks (and I think Rust-o dropped a few lbs). One of my children was recently studying Nepal at school and her teacher sent me an email, could I come speak with the children, that afternoon, about my time there? No problem.

  • Note: I have a little desk and chair in my office where my youngest can do her school work.

6. My least favorite job (accounting) is done on the first Sunday of every month. I pick a Sunday because it is a day when I really don’t want to work, so I just sit down and get to it so I can get back to my family. If I don’t do it, I don’t get paid, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a job, right?

I LOVE my business. I am addicted to new developments in web design and digital marketing. I love watching companies like Google, Facebook and Expand2Web evolve and seeing how those changes shift the behavior of society. This fascination can’t compete with my dirty socks.

I know some people who have their offices at home make it a point to shower and put on a nice outfit, others go out for their morning coffee or meet friends during the week for lunch.

What are your strategies?

About Eileen

Eileen Lonergan is a WordPress website designer who has a concentration in SEO. To learn more about Eileen and see her work visit her website: http://www.EileenLonergan.com

Article by »

Eileen Lonergan is a WordPress website designer with a focus on SEO. To learn more about Eileen and see her work visit http://www.EileenLonergan.com

Eileen has written 14 articles on Expand2Web

Author Connect » Twitter | |

See my disclosure about advertising and affiliate links

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Don Campbell May 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Hi Eileen,
Thanks for sharing this. I can relate to many of the things you are saying here.

At first I found it very challenging working from home. I was used to working in a corporate environment and traveling. I had always wanted my own business, and the flexibility to work from home, take my kids to school, and things like that.

But when I started my own company, I found it was pretty hard to establish a structure to my day. I like your approach of working on new clients before starting into email or getting distracted with other things.

I also missed the interaction with others, and now I make sure that a good part of my day is meeting with people either online (like the Expand2Web Experts community) or locally at a coffee shop, or the Google Campus, etc. That keeps me current with people and I really like the interaction. Now things are great.

For anyone who is just getting started at working from home – hang in there. It’s totally worth it once you get into a good rhythm.

Thanks for your tips and strategies on this!

Reply

Nick Rink May 10, 2012 at 12:50 am

Hi Eileen,

Great post. It’s always reassuring to know that other folks who work from home are going through similar things and you offer some really nice tips and advice.

I’ve been working from home for just over a year now and still struggle with distractions. We’re in the process of converting a spare bedroom into a home office so I’m hoping that will help.

Have kept the isolation at bay by going to one or two networking events each week, in-between client visits and all the other fun stuff. Amazing just how many people are out there running their business from the dining room table!

Reply

Eileen Lonergan May 10, 2012 at 5:56 am

Thank you both Nick and Don for your comments. Nick, I found that after about a year things started to change for me, I began getting more projects. My days are bookended by the coming and going of children, so I have a definitive start and stop time. With time also became better at letting people know that I did have a business that required my attention and wasn’t available “mid-day”. Actually I think that is one of the hardest things from working from home, explaining to those around you that you may be in your dining room, but you are at work. Would you agree?

Reply

Nick Rink May 11, 2012 at 3:35 am

Eileen, you hit the nail on the head there. Toughest thing when I start work in the morning and then when my wife gets home is gently pointing out the fact that I am actually working. Moving from the dining table to an upstairs home office will help I think.

Reply

Julie Larson May 10, 2012 at 8:24 am

Thank you for this very timely post, Eileen!!!

I’ve made the mistake of checking email and facebook when I sit down to my desk and I’m going to implement the strategies you listed in #2. That sounds like a great plan to me!

As a fellow Expand2Web Expert, I’ve been the recipient of your help, tips and advice on many occasions and I really appreciate all you do and your contribution to the E2W facebook group!!!

Reply

Eileen Lonergan May 10, 2012 at 9:12 am

Julie, I agree, looking at email is soooo tempting. I frequently peek into my email & FB over morning coffee and my iPad before I get to my desk 🙂

Reply

Laura May 10, 2012 at 9:51 am

Great tips Eileen! I am with you on the accounting. We use freshbooks to make that a whole lot easier. Still need to get out more but working on it. : ) Nice, train through lunch. Love you advice!

Reply

Eileen Lonergan May 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

Thank you Laura. You have been telling me to use Freshooks for a while now….it is on my list of things to look into!

Reply

Jean Kay May 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

At 73 yrs young and running two business from our home office, I LOVE this article, suggestions, and tips!!! You “Make My Day” and Kudos for caring enough to share the “bliss” and remove the “drudgery” of a home office environment. Will share your “tips and tricks” with everyone I know that has the same issues. Sincere, Thank You!!!!

Reply

Eileen Lonergan May 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

Well Jean I bet you have a bunch of awesome tips that we could learn from you! Two businesses? WOW! Thanks for the comment, you made my day!

Reply

Al Remorosa June 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

Yes it’s not easy to work from internet at home because it’s a new adjustment for your schedule but it only takes a month for you to have a good timetable wherein you can do the job at is best way.

Reply

Eileen Lonergan June 28, 2012 at 10:57 am

I was just thinking of this article the other day and laughing to myself. My children are home for the summer and suddenly my routine is upside down, I will give myself a few more weeks to get adjusted and then I bet you are right, I will be in a new routine. Thanks for the comment!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: