I dreamed of being an entrepreneur so I could manage my own life, create my own opportunities, be the man I always wanted to be and be able to work when and where I wanted.

I always wanted to have an office in my house and be independent. As recently as 1999 businesses were not really considered professional or a serious enterprise unless it was located in a retail or office environment. The huge expense of overhead came with the joys of doing business in the corporate world.  My office overhead in downtown Vancouver 10 years ago cost me $10,000 a month just to open the doors.

The advent and change in thinking where working from a ‘home office’ was long in coming but embraced by all of us.

The problem with working from home is focus. The joys of working when you get up in the morning and in your housecoat quickly illustrate the focus issue or lack thereof. I would falter on a regular basis and watch my three favourite TV programs before starting work at noon.

I would take any opportunity to find alternatives to work. There was the morning newspaper, the dishes that needed to be washed; the neighbour knowing I worked from home would come over for a coffee. He was on employment insurance so it mattered not that I had to make a living but welcomed him with open arms.  In one instance my coffees with my unemployed buddy moved from coffee, to lunch and then to hours of darts at the local pub – a definite plan for disaster!

It takes effort to create a workspace at home. A client realizing she needed organization makes a major change in her family home. She created an office in a third bedroom placed a sign on the door in a light-hearted attempt to show that it’s a place of work. She had a business phone line put in and refused to answer calls from her private home phone. She told her friends not to interrupt her between 9-5, stopped doing housework and set aside regular lunch and regular breaks where she would leave the house and walk around the block for 15 minutes.

Some tips:

  • - Establish your own workspace at home that is only used for that purpose.
  • Make a sign for the office door so if it’s closed your family will respect it as an office, keep it light though- your family lives there after all
  • Schedule your day and don’t mix housecleaning with work
  • It’s easy to work too much from home funny enough. Know when to stop for the day or your family will start wishing you had a nine to fiver
  • Know when you work best and try to master the compromise of it all. I personally work better late at night so my workday tends to reflect that
  • Since your overhead is less, consider not taking all the work that comes your way, find people you can refer work to but make sure you get a commission.
  • Organization will make or break you. I have an unsightly office but as they say “I know where everything is”. I have a large 4’x8’ whiteboard in my office which is my lifesaver.
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2 Comments

  1. Great pointers Gary! I remember those early days haha. Adding to your post, I also find it helpful to go to a place that’s conducive to just getting things done whenever I’m having an “off” working day at home. Going to the library, finding a desk in a quiet area has been a great alternative for me.

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