Becoming Self Employed #1 ~ Working From Home…

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Occasionally, I like to veer off the wedded track and write about something a little bit different.

I've been under a lot of pressure lately. Pressure that I wasn't expecting but that I am fast learning is all part of the package of becoming self employed.

Becoming self-employed changes everything.  Fundamentally. It's like having a baby – nothing is ever the same again and so much more effort is required.

Forget the lie-ins. Forget the luxury hour-long baths every evening and definitely forget the chance to sit down and zone out in front of the TV every once in a while!

Working for someone else is has it's benefits.  Once you've returned home at the end of a long working day, you can, to a large degree, forget about your job.  NOT SO if you are self-employed.  Every waking hour is invariably spent planning, worrying, working out what you need to do for your business.  Even if you do agree to balance your work/family time, you never really let go of thinking about your business during the times you agree you won't.  It's always there.  Mostly because the pressure to ensure your business stays healthy and viable and that it brings in enough money to pay the bills is like a constant voice. One that is occasionally like hearing someone stood right next to you SHOUTING THROUGH A TANNOY.

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2011, beforethecoffee on Flickr

Working from home - it needn't be a disorganised mess...

Becoming self-employed also means you have to rapidly build up a skill set in areas you may not excel in naturally.  Like Finance.  And book keeping.   *groooooooaaan*.   I can't ruddy stand it. My poor P.A. {Hi Mum!!} has a mountain of receipts to go through before I can get my tax return in. I'm shamed to say I haven't even kept them in any kind of loose order either.  They're just kind of 'stuffed' into a folder.  I know, if I had only taken a moment to….

And there in lies one of the first lessons I have learned in how to set up and manage a small business. YOU NEED TO BE AS ORGANISED AS POSSIBLE. Especially if you are working on your own, from home.

Becoming self-employed is turning out to be one huge big learning curve for me.  And despite me truly loving what I do and finding reward in my efforts every single day, it is hard, hard work.

I've been reflecting a lot about the finer aspects of establishing a small business of late, and so I thought it would be good fun, and an interesting personal project to document my first year in business and share my experiences online. 

So, working from home.

Sounds GREAT doesn't it?

And it is!  I mean, my commute has gone from an hour long, stress inducing, traffic jam hell of a morning, to a joyous skip {step?} along the landing in my bath robe to the Study.

Hmmm. 'The Study'.

The Study, come storage room, come workshop, come……..spare room?!?

No doubt, other 'home workers' out there will know what I'm getting at here. 

As a blogger, technically, I can pick up my Macbook Pro and work from anywhere I can get a web connection.  Great! I could blog from my bed all day long!  WRONG! I am also self-employed and this means I have to be as organised as possible, remember, and that I need structure at home, to help me differentiate my work time from my personal time which in turn will help me maintain a healthy work/personal balance.

And THAT means finding a dedicated space I can treat as my office.  For me, that's the spare room.  I'm working on 'officing' it up a bit more. I'm getting there 🙂

The other biggest lesson I have learned since becoming self-employed and working from home is, it is so important to get up, and ready, before beginning to tackle your working day.  What I mean is, if I ever do venture into the study whilst still in my PJ's, you can bet Bob's your Uncle that by 4pm, I'll still be in my PJs.  I'm so sorry to those readers who have visions of Lady Love My Dress sat reclined on her chaise longue typing with one hand whilst delicately balancing a vintage china cup of chamomile tea in the other. But this is the real world and once you get sucked in by your inbox, there is usually no getting away from it until the day has physically beaten you and you are too tired to hit the reply button anymore.  ALWAYS get up and showered and if possible get your coffee/tea/cup of water and breakfast BEFORE you start your day working from home.  That sense of 'getting ready to go to work' makes ALL the difference.  Trust me.

I want to keep this blog post relatively short because I intend on posting regularly on the subject of my experience of setting up a small business, but if I could choose one more item to squeeze in before I finish – just one more pearl of wisdom I have gathered along my blogging for business journey, it would be to say SLEEP IS YOUR FRIEND.  The basic matter of the fact is, if you are tired, you are better downing tools and coming back to tackle the job once you are rested. I have wasted so many hours trying to complete a task whilst feeling exhausted and my productivity and output have been exceptionally low.  I figured not so long ago, it makes way more sense to sleep off the fatigue and come back to things when you're feeling brighter. Productivity is SO important when you work for yourself. The phrase 'time is money' has never been more true when you are self-employed.

To recap, my Top Tips for working from home when you're self employed:-

1. Set up an office or dedicated work space. Keep it clean and tidy.

2. Get washed and ready before you tackle your working day. Approach the day as if you were going OUT to work.

3. Try to get at least 6-7 hours sleep at night. Every night. I learned the hard way that this is the only way.


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Over the next few months, I will be sharing my experiences of setting up a small business and successful blog online.  From establishing and building on a brand, to tackling PR and marketing, to working form home {with a baby!}, to online social media and how to make it work for you, to setting up my first major networking event and more.  I'll also be talking about the emotional aspects of becoming self employed, from the highs to the lows and everything in between.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear about your experiences?  I see lots of newlywed Brides setting up in business – what are your experiences? And if any readers have a few years experience on me, I'd love to hear from you too 🙂

Much love,

Annabel xXx


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.

77 thoughts on “Becoming Self Employed #1 ~ Working From Home…

  1. Excellent post! Totally agree about getting up and getting yourself ready before yo start work. I’ve tried it all since working for myself and I have the best days when I get up, dressed and wear make up! Maybe it works for some people but I just can’t do the working in my PJs thing!

  2. It’s lovely to hear that i’m not the only one with inbox and book keeping headaches. I became self employed 2 years ago and I still work full time as a teacher as well. I’m hoping to rebalance my life soon! I get up and go to work for 8 every morning monday to friday and get home at 5.30. After the gym, shopping or laundry I spend an hour or so replying to emails and ordering any fabrics I need.
    I average one full day a week. Usually Saturday or Sunday is a work day, the other I take off. But if my hubby is off to a festival (he works in the music industry) then I work both days, on school holidays I work during the week and take the weekends off. I probably work one evening every week on my dresses, and another marking my school books. It’s been a lot of hard work. As you say, when it’s your business you never stop thinking about it. But hopefully it’s paying off. I’m looking to go part time in my teaching job, so hopefully from September i’ll be looking back at these tips to organise my working from home days.

  3. This is fantastic advice, and exactly what i need right now (6 months into running my own business from home… the spare room still leaves a lot to be desired!) I can’t wait for the future posts. Thanks for starting this!!

  4. Josie – you are SO right about the makeup thing. I spent weeks not wearing any makeup and working in slouchy clothes. I have the most productive days too when I make an effort to dress as though I were going out to work. It really does give you a huge psychological boost and set’s you up for a much more productive working day! 😉
    Thanks for sharing that!
    And thanks for your comments everyone. I love reading about other people’s experiences and thought it would be helpful, and useful to me too, to document my first year of being my own boss. Still have to pinch myself when I say that!!! ;))
    Annabel xXx

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post Annabel.
    I’m not self-employed but i am a full time post-grad student/mum of two who predominantly studys from home. I can relate to many of the things you say here. I’m in the throws of trying to complete my 20,000 word dissertation (due Sept 13th) and it’s never far from my mind, it consumes me. All of your tips are things I strive for myself to help me stay focused on my uni work and maintain that all important work/life balance.
    I would add that taking breaks is ESSENTIAL, especially if you’re tied to a computer. I try and step away from whatever I’m doing and maybe sit in the garden for 10min. I find winding down properly in the evening really helps too. Reading a good book or watching a trashy TV program each evening sends signals to your brain that you’re switching off for the night. I always sleep better when I do this.
    As ever, you really are an inspiration Annabel and I look forward to reading about your progress over the coming months.
    Loveaudrey xXx

  6. I fail at Tip #1 🙁 But I am inspired by this and I am going to tidy my desk now! You are so right about never switching off and the importance of being organised!

  7. Great post Annabel. One thing I find most difficult about being self employed and working from home is not having someone to bounce ideas off of or being able to talk through ideas with.
    In fact my New Year’s resolution was to get out at least once a week for coffee with someone in the industry or a mentor/other business person. I’d say I have done that about 6 times this year. 🙁 but now I’ll get back on it! thanks!!

  8. Great post, I’m not self employed technically but I’m a stay at home mum who blogs. Would love to have a space specifically for it and my grand plans that are slowly building, but at the moment it’s a case of waiting for naptimes or nightime when my daughter is asleep!!

  9. I work full time and part time. My part time job is a book keeper from home and I find it so hard to motivate myself after a 9 hour day at the office.So tips would be great!
    Looking forward to reading more on this as im currently sitting my AAT to become an accountant & hopfully in the future, I see myself being my own boss. Well done on taking the plunge, I think its a very brave thing to do and you should be very proud, Im an old married lady from the YAYW days! and I still log on every day to see your pretty posts xx

  10. Great posts and i really look forward to more. At the moment i work but on top of that i also go to university, blog daily, am doing a wedding planning diploma and am organising 4 weddings so although i’m self employed i really know how it can feel when ‘spare time’ becomes a distant memory.
    I have been reduced to tears on more than one occasion by the fact that due to living in a one bed apartment i dont even have a desk. The dining room table is circular so i find it hard to have my things spread out on it and so i do all my work…from the floor. Its the only way i can find enough space to have my laptop, files and folders all around me.
    However organisation is the skill i exceed at, thank god! What i’m dreading is all the finance stuff!

  11. SUCH wise words, Annabel. I’d add to that, don’t read emails (or in fact look at the internet) in the last hour (or two, ideally) before bed. And I’d agree not to open your emails in the morning AT ALL, until you’ve had breakfast and showered.

  12. Ahhh amazing… LOVE that you’re writing this post. I can relate to everything you’ve shared here, i’m reading saying “yes, yes that’s so true” and “oh i’m sooo glad someone else feels like that/does that”. I took my photography business full time last September and spend a lot of time at home on my own editing… i miss people!! That’s the thing i struggle with the most at the moment! When i’m not out shooting i can spend 3 days at home alone, going a little crazy!! I know i’ll find the balance soon… but the getting up getting ready is something i HAVE to start doing… i’m still in the pj’s phase 2 days out of 3 i’m afraid!! Can’t wait to read your next few posts. 🙂

  13. This is great advice, thanks Annabel! I’m deliberating over the idea of setting up a business so all your words of wisdom are so gratefully rec’d! I look forward to reading more.. x Philippa

  14. What a great post! I was reading and chuckling at the same time as I recognised aspects of my self employed life as I went along. I totally agree with you about the PJs thing … once you’ve started work its so difficult to then find the time to shower, dress, put make up on. I think some of my clients would be appalled at the state of the person making their wedding stationery some days!

  15. Annabel, I laughed so hard when I read this post….this is exactly how it was, still is…for me. Self employed, two businesses and a baby…..crazy crazy times.
    I too have a folder with receipts my poor husband gets sorted for me when its that awful time of year…you are not alone! lol xxxx

  16. Great post Annabel I can relate to many things you talk about, setting up a small business takes so much time and effort,I know as I am there trying to build and deal with so many highs and lows! lol. I look forward to hearing more about your journey.
    Cat xx

  17. Fantastic post! Your tips are going to become my mantra. I didn’t even think that dressing and make up could have an impact, New week tomorrow! Phoebe xxx

  18. Good idea to write about your journey into self employment Annabel. From the comments above I can see that it has struck many a cord with others and will help them to see that they are not alone when it comes to the struggles of juggling everything and chasing after the baby. Its a huge learning curve but one you were meant to be on. You deserve all the success that has come your way – and this is only the start. Looking forward to the next chapter. xx

  19. Yep, self employed person here who eats and sleeps weddings (my to the hubsters disgust) He says I simply don’t know when to shut off. It’s ok for folk who go out to work. When they leave, they have the journey home to shake off their day. Working from home means you don’t have that, ever. This is why I have now got a studio. However, being self employed means I market, make and deal with everything business related. NO ONE can do it better than me (or at least to my standard) My bar is raised at a certain level. However, knowing this is MY business makes me proud of my achievement every day. I love my job and get paid for it. It doesn’t get any better than that!
    Great post, A xx

  20. Great post, Im a new photographer but also starting as a TA in Sept (if I get a job) so all very busy, its good to know we are all in the same boat! Most people think its all so easy!

  21. Annabel,
    This post made me fall in love with you a little bit more :). It is so wonderful to read about your experience as a self employed woman, and I can’t wait to read more posts like these. I also have to agree hugely with what Josie said about waking up and getting ready for the day as if you are going out. I do this and it really motivates me (no clue why!!) You are an inspiration, can’t wait to read more!
    Big hugs xxx

  22. Annabel! I love it! I started my company while working full time and so as well as working 9-5 I was coming home and making wedding films most evenings and then through the weekend. It was exhausting! I’ve now cut down to 10 days a month to pay the bills and it’s given me so much time to actually concentrate on the growing business. I did find myself downstairs with the laptop and ending up on Facebook while watching This Morning and I hated myself at 4pm! I’m so glad it’s not just me. Since then we’ve spruced the spare room into an office and it really is paying off. I’ve also started a bit of networking myself by finding local vendors that have great reputations or seem similar to me (passion and personality wise)and it’s so much fun being able to chat about small wedding businesses!
    I can’t wait to hear more, I really do want to make the leap to full time self employed one day so I need to out the time in now to help me later on 🙂 x

  23. It is indeed hard work but sing it with me and sing it loud. There is nothing I would rather do 🙂
    We took the first step 18 months ago. With an order book of just 5 or so weddings and our life savings I couldn’t stand my day job anymore. All I will say is, be nice to your IT support guy, it’s not his fault your company spends peanuts on their computers and they always break 😀
    Anyway, we needed to spend more time on Mintyslippers and working a full time job we just didn’t have the time. So after a bad day at work and with customers demanding I fix the computers they broke I said a big stuff you and left. A few months later Julie joined me.

  24. Thanks for your post Annabel. Loved it! Soo many things resonate with me… and I’d agree about sleep being your friend. I need to get to know sleep a bit better! And just add some little bundles of joy into the mix and it brings life into a whole new gear. Still nothing beats doing what you love and we wouldn’t have it any other way – right? Thanks for taking the time to share this. Alie x

  25. Oh my god its like you’re peering into my office/studio/computer room/spare room/storage area/dogs sleeping area! I can totally relate to this post…you just never switch off, if I turn my laptop off I still have my blackberry blinking at me daring me to check my emails! BUT..would I go back to a ‘proper’ job? no way! Just being able to go out and walk my dogs when i feel like it instead of rushing home from work to do it makes it worthwhile.I look forward to the next instalement!

  26. I’m in the process of starting my own business as a Wedding Planner & Events Co-ordinator, and i have thought the same about getting my sleep but i still seam to be on the computer till 5am and back up and on the school run. I think your Blogg is spoton & will take it on board x

  27. Great post Annabel. Fortunately I have to do the school run before I step into ‘The Office’ so I am dressed and showered before I start work!! I agree that you don’t stop thinking about your job, whether I’m cooking the dinner, watching one of my sons play cricket (plenty of time to think here!) or playing in the garden with my daughters. I am constantly scribbling things down as I think of them but have learnt to check where I am scribbling after adding to my daughters painting!
    Working for yourself is hard and tiring and does require fantastic organisation, which is something I am learning but it also beats working for someone else anyday.

  28. Great post and spot on I have to do the same thing in my kitchen as well as my office, the domestic part of my kitchen has shrunk to the space of a kettle and toaster everywhere else is the business,I’m hoping to move the business into premises soon all be it by living in a flat above!
    I’ve found that if I can get to sleep at a reasonable time and start at a ridiculous early hour it’s far more productive than late night working. And it’s definately important to get ready for work it prepares your mind as much as your face!
    I know that I am building the foundations for what I hope will be an extremely strong business, and when I am gradually able to employ assistants, increase production and concentrate on the development of new ideas and products all this hard work will be worth it. The future is equally exciting and terrifying in business and like you said just like having a baby.
    Looking forward to your next instalment and good luck.

  29. Hi Annabel, I came across this post from a twitter link and I’m so glad I did, what an interesting read! For nearly a year now I have been working three days a week at the day job while spending the other four days and seven evenings of the week working on my own business (I make and sell decorations, gifts and accessories). In three weeks’ time I will have left the day job to be full-time on my own business.
    I feel encouraged by your post because I’ve already set up some of the systems you talk about – I get up and dressed at usual work time and never turn on the TV until at least 7pm! And even then I’m on the laptop working. I’ve gotten into the habit of filing my receipts and invoices as I’m way too scared of getting that all wrong and messing up my tax return! I’m really lucky to have a little studio at the end of the garden to work in, although it does mean that some nights I have to keep running out there to pack up last minute orders that come in! The tiredness point is a good one as I’m still at the point where I wake up excited with ideas but it means that I’m not necessarily getting the proper night’s sleep I really need.
    Really looking forward to following more of your journey, thanks very much for being so open to share it. Gabrielle x

  30. Great post thanks for sharing the reality of working from home – and cant agree more, particularly about ‘getting up’ before you start work. I’ve also found it helpful to have “work clothes’, so that even if I’m not venturing beyond the front door all day, I feel like I’m at work – it also helps me ‘finish’ if I’m having an evening off by getting changed at the end of the ‘working day’. Sounds a bit bonkers, but it’s worked for me 🙂 Looking forward to hearing more……….

  31. So insightful and helpful, i’m really looking forward to this series of posts from my fave wedding blogger.

  32. Ahhh LOVE this Annabel! I am in the process of setting up a home-based business and this has really spurred me on to get cracking with it! I love your blog, I love the way your write too! Excited about reading more about your own personal experiences.
    I have often wondered how on earth you do it all with children and especially a baby! I have an 18 month old and will have to take him out of nursery in order to be able to go self-employed – so nervous about how I’m going to cope with it all.

  33. Definite food for thought and clearly a massive help to a lot of folks! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures in cracking the world of self-employment. In the next issue can you talk about what you do when your boss is a nightmare? 😉

  34. Great post Annabel – I agree with you & everyone else about having to be strict with yourself in the mornings – this was a struggle for me when I first started working at home. Now I get up with my husband and we have breakfast and get ready as if we were both going out to work. He goes off and I go in to my office, with my made up (and dressed) work head on!
    I have found that your work space is really important. I now have a lovely office, which I have crammed full of all my things and made it pretty and a nice place that I want to be – it all helps!
    A major factor in working for yourself is not being able to switch off (she says on laptop at 11.39pm!!)! There is probably no way around this 100% as what we do is so important to us – we can only try to be sensible and not drive ourselves mad. We need relaxing and family time too – otherwise you end up like me, dreaming about emails I need to write (word for word, all night!!).
    Sure you are doing fantastically 🙂

  35. Wow what a fab response guys! Some really brill feedback, tips and own personal experiences being shared too! I am loving the community feel! 😉
    Mintydan – so good to hear you did pretty much what I did. Except I did a very polite ‘stuff you’. Was SO tempted to do it the proper way ;))
    Charlene – don’t let Facebook distract you – keep at it and you’ll soon be your own FULL TIME boss!
    “Working for yourself is hard and tiring and does require fantastic organisation, which is something I am learning but it also beats working for someone else anyday.” AMEN! ……..& thank you Zoe 🙂
    Absolutely EVERYONE else – thank you SO Much for your brilliant comments 🙂

  36. Loved hits. Would love to know how you cope with little ones at home. I have one and find it really really hard. We are looking into nursery but really don’t want to have to if we can help it.
    Thanks for sharing this,
    Olivia x x

  37. Great post Annabel, I can really relate to what you have written. I started my own business whilst on maternity leave with my second son, not realising at the time that it would take off at the rate it did (naive I hear you say? 😉
    I continue to teach three days per week, but the rest of the time I spend juggling the business, my family and the house, spinning plates I think they call it.
    I love it though, and I’m pleased to say I’ll be going down to two days per week in September.
    I always get up and dressed, I have the school run for my eldest, so that helps. I do an hour before school, usually on the laptop. When little one has his lunchtime sleep I work, then again from 7pm until about 11pm most evenings. Would I change it? not on your nelly, hoping to go full time within two years!
    Well done for a great post

  38. You are so bang on with everything here – really looking forward to reading more about your experiences, I think it’s great for us working in the industry to share our experiences and bounce of each other. There are great days but really down days too and its so good to know you’re not alone when the down days happen!
    Love your blog by the way, only discovered it recently and am absolutely hooked!

  39. Olivia – oh, the trials and tribulations of coping with children at home when you are trying to run a business!!!!
    I’ll be sharing my experiences soon. Let’s just say, I have learned A LOT about myself and how to deal with stressful situations over the past 6 months!

  40. Great blog post, agree with everything, but I still struggle to get into ‘properly dressed for work mode’ in the mornings. This is my boost! Ali x

  41. Such a great post Annabel! I am working full-time and running my blog part time. I enjoy what I do, so sometimes it’s hard to put my pen down and make time for me (and my poor husband!) The best bit so far has been making connections with other bloggers and wedding pro’s, who have all been so friendly and welcoming! Looking forward to following your journey!

  42. Fabulous post and the comments are brilliant too, so nice to know I’m not on my own. I’ve recently taken the leap from working from home to moving into my studio. This is amazing but brings a whole new set of stress. I’m proud to say I’ve started to pay all the bills the studio incurs but am not bringing any money home yet so I find it quite hard to jusify it to my hubby, esp when he’s roped into childcare or has to accommodate the needs of the business. It will one day though I’m sure so I’m hanging in there and I love it so much wouldn’t change it for the world. One last point think the school summer holidays combined with my busist wedding season ever may turn my hair grey… childcare in holidays = nightmares!

  43. Currently I don’t work for myself, although I’m working on changing that. I used to though. My morning routine went something like this.
    Out of bed, Into study to turn on computer (PC in those days so would take a week to boot), downstairs to put the coffee on, back up for a shower, down to the kitchen to get the toast and coffee, then arrive at ‘work’ for a working breakfast whilst trawling the inbox.

  44. This is so true!I am definitely more productive if i’ve done my hair and makeup in the morning! – and for a while I even tried wearing shoes for ‘work’ and ‘slippers’ for home (although that didn’t work a jot!). I’m 18 months down the road now, and these are still vital points, but on the bright side all of a sudden it does seem to fall into place. I do take off the odd weekends, and I reply to e-mails in ‘office’ hours (even if i’m still reading them on the BB!). I recently reviewed some of my processes and its amazing how much easier some things become and how much faster you can do them after a year or so.
    btw…when you shove those receipts/invoives into a folder – make it one of those expandable ones that you’ve labelled Jan-Dec – at least then they are in the right month! – definitely makes for a happier pa/mum/husband 🙂

  45. Great post ! Can’t wait for the rest ! I’m just moving up from a desk in the living room to a whole office of my own ! ( nothing grand unfortunately, just the box room, lol, no room for a chaise longue ;0) ! )

  46. I was nodding my head while reading this!
    Thank you for sharing, true on all counts:)
    Would love a post on working around the small people. I sometimes wonder how my husband would cope if i took the kids to his work!

  47. Hurrah to all of us self employed peeps! I took the plunge about 2 years. It was both the most scary and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
    I agree that having your own space is so important. I also find that once I’ve finished for the day/week I don’t go back into my office until it’s time to start work again. Similarly, I don’t use the rest of my house (save for the bathroom and kitchen) when I’m working. It gives me a much needed divide between work and home.
    I also have a ‘home work’ wardrobe full of yoga pants, pyjamas etc as well as my formal work wardrobe. This way I don’t have to wear my ‘home’ clothes for work.
    It gets lonely at times but the rewards are worth it.
    Just married Sarah M (nee B)!

  48. Haha love it – can’t see myself you at all…much!!! Reading this, I really must stop ‘just popping into my office for a minute’ in my PJs…as I’m frequently found in them still at 4pm too! And you’re right it does make a difference ‘getting ready for work’! As for the dreaded tax return, my hubbie has warned me if I don’t keep the receipts in better order this year he’ll make me do it – that’s enough to straighten me out I can tell you! hehe
    I look forward to reading more of your trials and tribulations in the 1st year of being self employed 🙂 x

  49. FABULOUS post Annabel! Although it made me laugh out loud, I looked around for a second and realised all the chaos around me…how the hell can I work in such mess. My study is the dining room so of an evening I have to clear the mess and put somewhere else. This is not good and after reading your brilliant post I am now tidying up and trying to re-organise. As for the PJ’s, well, I did manage to shower early and get dressed but with slippers and no makeup. I promise tomorrow I will be all dolled up looking hot for the cat!!

  50. Roz – your comment actually just mad me laugh out loud!!! haha!!
    I can just visualise you doing a twirl in your finery for the moggy tomorrow morning hehehe :)))

  51. Great post! Reminds me of when I started our stationery business from our studio flat on Portobello Road. I had the tiniest desk crammed into the corner of our living room/kitchen – I couldn’t move my feet because of the boxes of envelopes underneath, and my bookkeeping system consisted of a box file of receipts precariously balanced above our kitchen cupboards. I created our first laser cut design on the tiniest laptop in the world – it took me all night and when I finally closed my eyes at 5am all I could see were flowers and butterflies! Naturally I was useless the following day – as you say, sleep is definitely your friend! Great advice and funny how you need to experience it to fully understand how much better you feel getting dressed before you start the day! And how you do have to be good at all the parts of running your business, not just the bit you’re good at – I still laugh when someone calls to talk to the Creative Director and I feel very important and say yes that’s me, but when the phone rings again and they want to talk to someone who deals with water coolers, I’m like, yeah that’s me too! We work from a studio now – but I still do a fair bit of work offline at home with my own 15 month old baby balanced on my knee! It’s funny as I used to think of our business as a bit like a child too – it always has to come first! Really great that you’re sharing your self-employed experience, looking forward to seeing the next instalment – keep up the good work! Charlotte x

  52. Just seen this Annabel – all so so true. I have been there in every sense, luckily our babies are our alarm clock 😉 hehe and fu illy enough yesterday I got a desk and set up a little office area. I think it’s important to separate home/work if possible. Cannot wait for your next posts yay!! 🙂 xoxo

  53. Wow….so much food for thought here! I handed my notice in at my full time job last Monday and have been so excited ever since to get the “going full time” show on the road…and in 4 weeks time, I will be. Thanks so much for the the wise words Annabel and being brave enough to share your thoughts, fears, advice! I will be sure to check back in throughout my own journey as a wedding photographer going solo! Eek! 🙂 xx

  54. I can relate to this 100% I HAVE to get out of my PJs first thing or that’s it and then I end up feeling like a tramp! Nothing worse than being sat in them all day long with no time to actually get get changed and washed!
    Love your blog x

  55. Really great post and I can relate to it all 😉 Look forward to reading more about your experience. But agree, getting organised, especially with filing and receipts, is crucial.

  56. Oh how brilliantly put. I too am a new mum with a fairly new business and its just turned my world upside down.
    I had no idea running a photography business would be so MUCH about paperwork, marketing, sales, admin, processing, costings, invoicing etc.
    Juggling it all has been a huge and rewarding task, and I learn something new every single day !
    Great post, and inspiring for all of us out there doing just the same

  57. A really lovely and inspiring post, so much of it rang true! And i love the image too! 🙂
    Having made the switch from employed to self-employed, I get asked ‘how do you motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning’ – that’s easy! I love what i do and there is always SO MUCH to do and no one else to do it, so you do just get up and get on with it. What i find much harder to do is to switch off, learning when to stop looking at emails, when to have a break from the computer and when to not feel guilty that you haven’t managed to complete the unrealistic-in-the-first-place ‘to-do-list’… 🙂
    It is very challenging having to learn and take on all the finances, the PR, the marketing, the social media, the networking, the record keeping, the sales, the website, the branding: effectively one mini enterprise all being done by one person! But it’s the challenge that we love and the reward and satisfaction that you are doing it for you and your family!
    I can’t wait for your other posts Annabel! 🙂

  58. Great post and all so true. Loved reading what everyone else is experiencing too. And as for switching everything off an hour before bed… really should do that, my head spins by the time it hits the pillow if i’ve not had any chill time before bed, but I never learn!
    Looking forward to following your first year!!!

  59. I just want to say, I am bowled over by the response to this. What a huge boost of confidence to follow my little idea to share my own personal story, trials and tribulations!
    Thank you all so very much for taking a few moments to leave your kind and encouraging words – it really means a lot to me!
    Much love everyone,
    Annabel xXx

  60. Heeee I just have to say I love you for writing this, Annabel! I’m grinning from ear to ear because you’ve just put my “aaaaaaaargh” down in writing.
    So true. But such fun. It never changes! I’ve been here 6 years. “filing” still equals “pile”.

  61. This came at just the right time for me! Really looking forward to more! Made me chuckle thinking of you still being in your ‘PJ’s LMD!

  62. Really enjoyed reading this post Annabel as I can relate to so much of it. I never thought I’d be grateful for the morning school run but it does mean that I’m up and dressed fairly early and looking slightly presentable.
    I just wanted to echo the point about having a local network of industry ‘friends’. I’ve only really established mine in the last 18 months or so but it’s growing all the time and I feel so lucky to have made some wonderful new talented ‘wedding’ friends in and around Birmingham. Brum rocks and so do they! x (P.S. I bet your PJs are drop dead gorgeous cream silk ones, like some 40s film star?!)

  63. OMG I can completely relate to all of this! I have been working from home for 9 months now, and I am so happy but it is so so hard to keep things in order! It’s great that you feel you are able to share your experience, it’s really encouraging for the rest of us who work from home too! Looking forward to reading more x

  64. I never really knew what working from home/being self-employed would be like until I took the plunge.
    You are right, it is extremely difficult to achieve the work/life balance and to actually let go at the end of the day. Even when trying to relax, if my computer is on, you can bet I’ll still be checking my work e-mails every 10 minutes.
    However, despite this (for me at least) the benefits of being self-employed and working from home completely devour working for someone else in an office. I love not having to travel anywhere, love not having to be somewhere at 9-5 every single day and I love not being restricted to 20 days holiday per year.

  65. Your advice hit home.
    I fully understand where you’re coming from – and quite frankly could follow my own advice.
    My mom was a neat-freak to the point where her habits rubbed off on me by the time I was a teenager – and I literally could not do my homework until I cleaned my room and cleared my head. The same thing applies to me now as an adult. If I have dirty dishes staring me in the face while I’m trying to work I’m not nearly as focused or productive as I naturally am.
    And I’ve sacrificed a good nights sleep here and there in an effort to get as much done as possible. And in the end all that did was sacrifice hours with my family – and they are the reason I started working from home in the first place, making my efforts redundant.
    Point is – I understand. And when it’s all said and done, the hardest part about working from home is excepting that success will NOT come over night, that family always comes first, and to never forget WHY you’re working from home in the first place.

  66. This post reminds me of a message my husband left on my To Do list chalkboard in the first few months of setting up my own business, it had the words ‘Remember To’ at the top and he had scribbled ‘get some sleep!’ on it. I still have it hanging up in my studio… 3 years into being self-employed, I still only get around 5 hours sleep!

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