Tara and I started Braid Creative right at three years ago from my 1920s tudor-style home located just a hop and a skip from downtown Oklahoma City. After a couple of years of growing our little business from my guest bedroom, I got pregnant and found myself needing some work / life separation. That’s when we decided to rent an office space to call our own. For the last year we’ve really enjoyed having a space to call our very own (plus the incentive it gave us to get dressed). And if I’m being completely honest, having rent and utilities set up in our business’ name made us feel capital “L” Legit. An office space seemed to complete the picture of success we had painted for ourselves as creative entrepreneurs.
Kathleen here. I recently decided to move out of that 1920s house and into a new home. I didn’t move far – just a hop and a skip from where I was. But my new house (a rad mid-century modern 1950s split-level ranch) just so happens to be across the street from my sister and business partner, Tara. So with that, after a year of proving to ourselves how credible and successful we were by paying overhead on an office space, we decided to bring Braid Creative back home.
When you work from home it’s easy to let work bleed into life and let boundaries slide. It’s easy to feel isolated and unprofessional when you’re working in your pajamas from your bed. So today I’m going to share a few ideas on how to keep the personal and professional blend that comes with working from home feeling ideal.
1. Remember, You’re Not A Homemaker
Just because you work from home does not mean that you have time to be a full time homemaker and build the creative career of your dreams. So don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to tend to the laundry, dishes, cooking, and cleaning during work hours. Also, if you have a partner or family living with you it’s important to communicate this point to them as well.
2. Create a Sacred Working Space
Whether it’s in your kitchen nook, on your couch, or in a dedicated room with a door, make the space you work best in as conducive to your creativity as possible. Some ideas for creating a sacred workspace might include: lighting a candle or incense, decorating your walls with art work or inspiring magazine clippings, keeping your space uncluttered, and having your favorite mug full of your favorite pens close by. Brainstorm what works for you. It’s important to respect and like the space you’re working in.
(I’ll be writing more about how your physical space can affect your work, for better or worse, in this week’s Braid newsletter going out on Friday morning. Sign up to receive our exclusive Letters for Creatives here.)
3. Get Out of Your House
The hardest part about working from home can be feeling a bit isolated from your community. So make it a point to get out a few times a week. I like meeting local clients and creative peers at my favorite coffee shop. I also like to get some fresh air with a morning walk before I begin my day.
4. Do Something You Couldn’t Do at An Office
One of the best parts about working from home is doing things you couldn’t do at an office. Here are just a few ideas: cook yourself a delicious meal in the middle of the day, tend to your garden, watch a movie, do some chores (if that floats your boat), take a bubble bath, or lay out and soak up some sun. Do something fun and different every week – it will remind you why you love working for yourself from your very own space.
To be honest, Tara and I were concerned that we were taking a step back by moving our business back home. After a few weeks of weighing our options and processing what we really wanted for ourselves and our business, we realized that we had become attached to a vision of success (having an office space) that no longer served us. We acknowledged that our ideal days happen when we straddle the fine line that is work and life. We’re the same people at home and work, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Other blog posts you might like:
Considering A Coworking Space – an alternative to working from home or an office
Shedworking On My Mind – Tara is STILL talking about building a shed in her backyard
The Daycare Dilemma – a personal post about how I decided to send my baby to daycare
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If you need help setting routines and imagining your ideal work day try my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of guidance delivered straight to your inbox. You can sign up anytime.
Also, this month’s Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do will help you find authenticity and alignment in the personal and professional. This ECourse is one of our most popular and will be in-session from August 22-31.
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As a young creative professional my biggest fear was not having enough ideas. Now as a creative entrepreneur my biggest fear is not knowing what to do with All The Ideas. Kathleen here, and I must confess – I’ve been feeling really creative lately. From product launches to new business plans, ideas seem to strike in the middle of yoga class, while running errands, and my personal favorite, at 4am in the morning (insomnia, anyone?). While it’s a good problem to have, too many ideas can confuse you (and your clients), diffuse your energy, leave you feeling scattered, and even paralyze your ability to make decisions and take action. And I know I’m not alone – most of my clients and creative peers seem to have the same trouble with too many ideas.
So today I want to share one simple approach for dealing with an abundance of ideas:
WHEN YOU HAVE TOO MANY IDEAS PUT THEM ON THE SHELF
Literally write down all your ideas, put them in a jar, and put that jar on a shelf. Alternatively, you can get more organized (and perhaps a bit less dramatic) and shelve your ideas in a notebook. Evernote is also a great place to collect all your thoughts. The idea (heh) is to have a place to capture your ideas so you can get them out of your head and tend to them when the time is right.
You’ll find some ideas keep rising to the top and will eventually be worth executing. And on the flipside you will no longer be wasting mental energy on ideas that don’t have traction – making room for the ones that do.
(P.S. Here’s a helpful post for when you’re ready to take your ideas out of the jar and turn your vision into action.)
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The one place you never want to share every idea that pops into your head is in your content – that includes your blog, website, business offerings and business conversations. Want to learn more? Try our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You – it’s in session this Friday, July 18 - 27. That means you only have through this Thursday to register. Learn more about what to expect and see if it’s a good fit for you here.
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Kathleen here. Here at Braid Creative we talk a lot about creative entrepreneurs and freelancers who are paving their own path to live what they love. But get this – a majority of our creative coaching clients have day jobs. Most of them hire us for the confidence and clarity that comes from our coaching and consulting to quit. We regularly get emails from those former clients who share with us that they’ve finally decided to make the leap from day job to do their own thing (!!!!!) – those emails usually include lots of exclamation marks – and we’re always so happy (!!!!!) for them. All of that said, and as supportive as we are, we never actually tell anyone to quit their day job.
In fact, day jobs can be ideal for lots of creatives. While working nine-to-five (and then some) doesn’t give you a lot of time, it can offer the kind of security that allows you to build up a portfolio of dream projects on the side. With a day job you can afford to be picky about the extra stuff you take on. And on that note, when you work for yourself sometimes you get desperate for clients (even not-so-dreamy clients) with cash – and nothing kills creativity like desperation and clients from hell. Day jobs also give you access to teams, resources, and rad customers that you may not have when you work solo. And just because you work a day job doesn’t mean you can’t also rock the entrepreneurial spirit by embracing your own personal brand and razor sharp point-of-view within the walls of an organization that also happens to offer you a steady paycheck.
Late last year I coached a UX (user experience) designer who had big passion for projects much larger than herself, but she was also attached to the idea of working solo (I mean, that’s The Dream, right?). I challenged her assumption that working for yourself is the only path to living what you love and asked her why she wanted to freelance rather than work on a team. After sitting on that question for a while she realized the work she was best at – designing complex user interfaces – didn’t lend itself to working alone. She finally found the confidence, through coaching and additional UX training, to submit her resume and portfolio to a digital advertising startup company. She was hired and recently followed up by sharing this with me: “They are paying me a really great salary (about $30K MORE than my last full time job), full benefits, 401K, and stock options. More than that I feel appreciated, challenged and excited about my career—all feelings that were completely absent from my freelance life.”
It turns out her day job very well may be her dream job! If I was still coaching this client today I would ask her the following questions:
• What does your ideal day look like? How does your day job fit into the picture? Are there any disconnects you could tweak AT your day job to make it even more dreamy?
• In what ways can you cultivate your own personal brand at your day job? In other words, how do you consistently show up for your co-workers? What can they expect from you every time?
• Any passion projects you want to pursue on the side? Perhaps you maintain a personal blog or are obsessed with hand-lettering. Consider how these might inform the work you do at your day job. Or maybe these are creative endeavors you keep just for you.
Now, I realize not every nine-to-five is quite so dreamy. So this week in our Letters for Creatives (our exclusive newsletter sent straight to your inbox) I’m going to be talking about when to quit and sharing my own story about how I decided to make the leap from senior art director at a cool ad agency to being my own boss for the first time ever. If you don’t already receive these free emails then sign up here.
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P.S. If you feel like you need a little creative coaching for loads of confidence and clarity check out our DIY Coaching for Creative email series. It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of content delivered straight to your inbox and you can sign up anytime. Or contact us for more information on how we can work together one-on-one.
P.P.S. Our Braid ECourse Dream Customer Catching is in-session this week but our next ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You is now open for registration and will be in-session July 18 - 27. Learn more and register here.
photo via Unsplash
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