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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The one thing the designers, developers, coaches, photographers, and even yogis that hire Braid Creative have in common is they all want to write more. But they don’t know where to begin, how to carve out time for something like blogging, or are plagued with self-doubt when it comes to hitting publish.
I could talk about blogging for days – there’s a lot to cover on the topic. But today I’m going to keep it simple and share the most powerful piece of advice I’ve got for getting your blog on.
MAKE “BLOGGER” A PART OF YOUR JOB TITLE
As a creative entrepreneur I’ve worn a lot of hats. From designer, to creative director, to accountant, to janitor. But it wasn’t until I put “blogger” in my job description that I started taking it seriously and stopped feeling bad about dedicating time to writing instead of designing, accounting, and even cleaning.
Now that “blogger” is in your job title you need to make time for writing. Include writing and blogging on your daily to-do list and block off time for it in your calendar. Give yourself deadlines and rough out an editorial calendar. And don’t make it the last thing you do (unless you feel most creative at the end of your day).
Extra credit: the next time someone asks you what you do say “I’m a blogger. I write about _______, _______, and _______.” Try it on for size and see how the conversation unfolds.
• See how internet-awesome-maker, Sarah Von Bargen, launched her creative career with a blog.
• But remember, you don’t have to blog if you don’t want to. There are alternative ways to show up and be seen.
• Brené Brown shared with us her two biggest tips for creative bloggers here.
And on Friday I’ll be sharing more on what it’s been like to take a summer break from personal blogging (and the surprising lessons I’ve learned so far) in our exclusive behind-the-scenes Letters for Creatives.
If you want to get more clarity and focus for your blog check out our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You. It’s now open for registration and will be in-session from July 18 - 27. Learn more and sign up here.
Or check out our DIY Coaching for Creatives email series. It’s insight delivered straight to your inbox over the course of 4 weeks.
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