I remember the joy I felt as the days winded down leading to my last day of work as a nurse. I pushed through those last days with hope and expectancy, daydreaming about what it would be like to be self-employed at home. I couldn’t wait. My commute to work was annoying me to no end and I had no form of routine with my ever changing schedule. I imagined working at home could be an ideal lifestyle for me. I was eager to make my own schedule, work on my own terms, and center my work around my strengths.
Then, I took the leap at the end of July 2016. All I had was my savings account, the tentative makings of a plan, and God’s assurance that this was the path for me and Kleneice. Taking the leap into full time entrepreneurship before I felt ready was one of the scariest things I had ever done, and I wasn’t as prepared as I thought to face the challenges of working from home.
Working from home can be lonely
If you’re used to commuting to work multiple times per week, the first week or two that you work from home will feel like a vacation. As the date approached for me to leave my job, one of the things I was looking forward to the most was never having to take that commute again! Working from home and not having to fight traffic or walk into the hospital again felt lovely at first. But slowly, I started to feel lonely. Granted, I had Kleneice to keep me company so I didn’t feel completely abandoned, but both of us confessed that working from home made us feel a little isolated. I started to feel trapped in our tiny apartment. I would look forward to taking walks around the neighborhood or hopping in the car to go run errands just to escape the apartment.
Some days I’ll still do absolutely anything to get out of the house to fight the feeling of loneliness. By nature I am more reserved and appreciative of quiet, non-crowded spaces, so working from home doesn’t necessarily feel unbearable to me. But I’ve noticed that spending the entire day at home multiple days in a row is when the loneliness sinks in. To combat this, Kleneice and I like to work in a coffee shop sometimes. The change of scenery is beneficial and helps me feel like I’m not in my own little bubble anymore. Kleneice and I are looking forward to checking out a coworking space in the future (or even just upgrading from our sofa to an actual desk) but in the meantime, we are still planning to work in other spaces like public libraries, our college campus, museums, the botanical garden, etc. Where do you like to work, and how do you fight loneliness as a full time entrepreneur? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!
Working from home takes discipline
One of the greatest benefits and challenges of working from home is being in control of your own schedule. If you want to sleep in until 9 am and start working at noon, you can absolutely do that. If you want to work in the evening, that is also a possibility. I’ve found that at least when it comes to entrepreneurship, the more freedom I have, the more responsibility I have to develop so that I don’t abuse that freedom.
It absolutely will take discipline as an entrepreneur. It takes discipline to start working at the time you wrote down in your planner. It takes discipline to work on tasks that build your business instead of scrolling through social media feeds. When there is no supervisor above you, you are in a position where you have to hold yourself accountable.
Developing discipline takes time and is something you can certainly improve. It helps to focus on just a few habits at a time that you know must change in order to be successful. Ask God to show you the areas He wants you to improve first. Another good place to start is to do an honest assessment of where your time goes. If you know that you can spend almost 2 hours a day on your phone, mindlessly scrolling through social media, then you know you must break that bad habit by turning off notifications, leaving your phone in another room, or completely turning the phone off for a few hours a day.
The home itself can be a distraction
One of the things that bothered me the most about my ever-changing schedule as a nurse was that I could never develop a system of staying on top of housework. The sink was always full of dishes and the laundry hampers overflowed constantly. I anticipated being able to finally keep my home relatively neat and tidy as a full-time entrepreneur. Unfortunately, the dishes and laundry still overwhelm me sometimes.
I didn’t realize that the home itself would be a distraction to me. I can’t tell you how many times I would put off writing a blog post or marketing on social media because I couldn’t handle the pile of clutter in the living room or the laundry hamper filled to the brim.
What I’ve realized is the true importance of business hours. When I worked as a nurse, I was physically separated from my home from 8pm-8am, three days a week. Now that I work from home, it is still important for me to have designated working hours to separate myself from the home duties and business duties. I still haven’t finalized my business hours because I find myself working from morning until evening. I don’t mind working on my business all day because I am so passionate about what I do. I’m also aware that I can’t do this every day and escape getting burnt out. Business hours can actually boost productivity because they reinforce the timeframe you have to get things done. Have you decided on your business hours yet? How did you finalize your business hours if you have? Let me know in the comments!
Before I took the leap into full-time entrepreneurship, I had little idea of what to expect. I had no idea that I would struggle with loneliness, face my lack of discipline, and battle the distraction of my home as my workplace. I know that as a new entrepreneur it will take time to figure out the best routine for me that addresses these weaknesses. The beautiful thing is that I am growing with my business. As my vision for my business manifests, I am becoming more aware of what I need to develop in myself to support the growth of my business. If you too are in the beginning stages of growing your business or leaping into full-time entrepreneurship, remember that you will learn as you grow. Give yourself grace along the way. Never forget that God is with you. Your business is rightfully His, and He will equip you with everything you need to succeed.