Home working my fears and doubts about moving to an office
Since leaving my full-time job, I’ve been working at home for just over 3 years—I love it. It’s fantastic. It’s not often that you get the chance to just do your own thing for a living. No clients unless I want them, less stress and time to explore new things.
Like writing this blog post. I’m not sure anyone will ever read it, but I’m finding it cathartic. If I write about it, then it’s out of my head and I can move on and fill it with other things—so please excuse my indulgences.
Yup I work from home
When you tell people you work from home people assume so many things. They assume I have some kind of home office. “Oh that must be wonderful to have a home office,” they say, “With all your designer things surrounding you—marvellous.”
I have a bit of a confession—I don’t. I’ve been working on my sofa using my laptop. Sounds less romantic, less arty and creative doesn’t it.
Leaving my full time job
When I first left my full-time designer job, I had no money for office space. My main concern was paying my mortgage and putting food on the table.
For about two years before I left, I started a fund called “Fuck off money”.
Everything I earned on every side hustle was funnelled into that fund. Then one day I decided that I had enough money in the bank to give me one year on my own.
The thought of going back to my employer (or anyone) with cap in hand filled me with dread. One year to sink or swim—I had to tighten my belt so to speak.
So I’ve been working on my sofa with my trusty Laptop and mouse fueled by a mix of coffee and nicotine (via e-cigarette) ever since.
Don’t setup office in your bedroom
I did set up a desk in my bedroom, but it felt like I was being punished somehow.
My bedroom was for sleeping, not for creating cool stuff.
Going into that room felt like I was cut off from the world. The chair felt weird, the desk, the lighting pretty much everything about it felt weird.
Gravity always wins
I naturally gravitated to the sofa, had everything I needed right there. The kitchen was within arms reach, so was all the entertainment.
As my work evolved I gradually bought more and more equipment. I got into photography and printmaking.
I found myself converting my living room into a temporary photography studio. I was cool with that at first. But I accumulated so much stuff it started to take over my entire flat.
And my flat is not some NYC style apartment you see in friends and movies —it’s tiny. When I say tiny I mean tiny.
What the hell was I thinking
The realisation that I will never use the portable screenprinting machine I bought online. It just sits there taking up space in my bedroom. As does my 27″ iMac—what the hell was I thinking.
The truth is I wasn’t really thinking at all. I was busy doing. My mindset was “Get busy making or go hungry” that’s motivation enough not to sit and watch tv all day—and to make the best of what you have.
Getting an office is scary
I’ve decided its time. It’s time to separate my work from my home. I now think it’s important to have that separation. Not just in terms of all the physical equipment, but also the metal separation.
This office is where I work—and my home is where I live. Simple. You need that home space to just kick back and forget work.
An office cost money
Like duh, really. Home is free, the office has financial consequences.
Financially I’m on more solid ground, but my earnings could dry up overnight. That’s just a risk that everyone who sells things online has to live with.
It’s also a risk in the fact that it feels official somehow. Contracts have to be signed and all the legal stuff is a bit scary for a designer who draws for a living.
Work local don’t follow the sheeples
Now I’m in a shared co-working space with my own office, full of wonderful people, doing so many different things.
I can walk to my office in less than 20 minutes. If I get a move on I can do it in under 15 minutes.
That was an important factor for me, especially when you sit on your arse all day slaving over a hot computer.
I now love that walk and can listen to an audiobook on the journey.
The office comes with other benefits—I see other human beings. They’ve had a similar journey to get where they are. So even though our businesses may not be the same, our backgrounds and working habits are the same.
All my photography gear, computers, art equipment, and everything else is all contained in my studio. I’m basically surrounded with all my own shit—awesome.
My back is also thanking me, after three years of slouching. I’m finally back to a proper office chair—and that is a wonderful thing.
The thing that I really like about having all my gear around me is that I don’t have to pack anything away. What I do in that space, is entirely up to me. But at the end of the day, I can close the door and forget about it.
And finally, Getting the office has given me a new purpose to create things. Knowing that you’re paying for the office gives you extra incentive to actually “get the job done”.
I know a lot of creative people might be thinking the pressure of paying for an office might stint their creativity. But personally, I think that’s bollocks.
That is all.