Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Staying Healthy, Happy & Holistic When Self Employed

I tell people that I run my own small company, and the reaction is always the same "Wow, you are so lucky! You get to see your daughter more, you have flexible work hours, you are your own boss" I make a joke that my boss is a bitch.

I then try to describe the business to them. It's "um err, I am a graphic designer" (they think I go lawn moving flyers for local businesses), or "I am an art director" (they think I am off the set of Mad Men), or "I run a small company that saw a need to market women's businesses and started a site to test the water and haven't looked back" and they look dumbfounded. They then ask me how I "get" my work. I describe it is the opposite approach that businesses find me from all over the world, in a range of timezones and cultures.

I often find myself working Saturday (Friday night in USA and UK), night time (my developer is in London) and first thing in the morning UK and USA time zone friendly hours. This is not only exhausting but it is bad business not to set those business hours boundaries.

So how does "wow you are so lucky!" get to "I'm soo tried all the time" and you can barely lift your feet at the end of the day and how can you become "lucky" again?
  1. Set business hours 8 per day. Doesn't have to be 9 - 5 but time track your hours.
  2. Find time for exercise - the benefits of which are in another blog post to come.
  3. Eat lunch somewhere other than your desk.
  4. Stretch and use a lumbar support cushion.
  5. Be firm with clients, don't take calls outside work hours and never give clients your mobile. Those types of clients, the ones that take up all your valuable design and home time on the phone are in many cases the once that will come back and bite you on the bum. ("but you said" - on Saturday when i was at the supermarket carrying groceries). Be wary of this breed of client and manage their expectations of your time.
  6. Don't answer emails outside working hours except if vital to the success of the business.
  7. Make your office space personal and inspiring with a pin board, books and photos.
  8. Go to bed at a reasonable hour - get 8 hour sleep if you can.
  9. Avoid booze/ciggie etc - I don't need to tell you why. They aren't the problem, only the symptom.
  10. Maintain a healthy weight.
It might seem obvious but if I forgot to do it and I am supposed to be an "business expert" chances are some of you out there might need a reminder. Night night lovelies...