Work spaces that actually work help solopreneurs with both productivity and peace of mind. Think about it, as solopreneurs, you have all of this (and, if you are a mama or a papa or part time triathlete, even more. . .) to do:
- Building you business
- Keeping track of ideas
- Dealing with customers and prospects
- Branding and reputation management
- Technology management
- Billing and collections
- Handling administration and paperwork
- Fielding hot and warm leads
- The list goes on… (adapted from Prince, Dana)
Feeling overwhelmed? COLIBRI knows, feeling overwhelmed is a solopreneur occupational hazard, especially in the startup phase.
Overwhelm for Solopreneurs
The solution to overwhelm for solopreneurs includes:
- Creating systems for as many of the above tasks as possible
- Delegating and outsourcing as you make more money
- Learning to put aside your work so you can return to it refreshed
How you organize your work spaces has a big effect on whether you can refresh enough to be as happy and productive as you would like to be.
Before we dig into the psychology of work spaces and how to create work spaces that allow you to refresh, let’s get practical. When you are setting up your work spaces, here is the equipment you need:
- Software and apps
- Video recorder — still optional, but just barely
COLIBRI is happy to say that most of the things listed above are either free, cheap or things you already have on hand. (Going into the details of why each of the above is important is a subject for another post, but suffice it to say that the above tools allow you to conduct your marketing, social media, productivity and client relationships.)
The one exception is office space. You need a place to put your equipment and the paperwork you generate, which is usually neither free nor cheap.
You may choose to join business hubs or actually rent out office space. Those solutions provide even more distance between your personal and professional lives. (If, however, you are like COLIBRI, you like to work from home so you can pet the cat, start the laundry and take trips around the block as needed.)
Home offices, rented office space and even shared work hubs come at a premium, of course, but in terms of organization and overall productivity, separate work spaces are not the luxury they might seem because of their sanity saving role. Ideally, you will have a door you can shut or a room you can walk away from. If not, at least have a space to work in that is dedicated to your professional life and provides you with a way to create boundaries for yourself.
Work Spaces That Work
When COLIBRI’s office was in her bedroom, it was depressing to wake up to piles of paper and a big, fat computer staring at her from across the room.
She has said this before, but one of the smartest things she ever did was get her work space out of her bedroom. Here are some of the reasons why:
- It’s unprofessional to have business meetings in your bedroom
- It’s nice to have a space where you can be with family
- Having separate spaces for business and your personal life encourages serenity
- Your business papers and equipment stay safer, especially if you have children
- You can draw the line between work and home life more easily by shutting the door
What’s nice about being a solopreneur is you get to draw the lines where you want them. What’s hard about being a solopreneur is that it is easy to make the the mistake of working too much and forgetting that space from work allows us to recharge and, in the end, be even more productive as we work towards living the lives we want.
Real Solutions for Solopreneurs
Workspaces that work for solopreneurs encourage you to keep a balance between your professional life and your personal life. This separation is important because solopreneurs are like warriors. As solopreneurs, you fight hard for a creative, authentic and financially rewarding life.
But all of that is about doing. Everyone, solopreneurs included, need time for being.
How do your workspaces provide real solutions for your professional and personal lives?
Anna is a Contributing Editor at Project Eve as well as a solopreneur and the founder of ANNACOLIBRI, an e-business specializing in values-based marketing, online publishing and web-presence. She knows and loves writing about content marketing (with an emphasis on values-based marketing), web presence, solopreneurship, alternative healthcare, spirituality/yoga, (single) parenting and topics related to older adults. Community building is also an important to her; she is a founding member of the San Francisco Eves. She believes some of her best ideas grow out of offline conversations. If you have story ideas or tips, please e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/annacolibri
Daley, Jason. A Roadmap to Self-Reliance for Solopreneurs. Entrepreneur.com. March 27, 2012.
Nafie, Carol. How to Set Up a Workable Home Office. About.com.
Prince, Dana. 5 Organizational Tips for the Multitasking Solopreneur. Futuresimple.com. December 26, 2011.
Spiro, Josh. How to Organize Your Workspace. Inc.com. June 22, 2010.
Weiss, Alan, PhD. Getting Started in Consulting, Third Edition. Chapter 2: Physical Space and Environmental Needs, pp 23 – 43. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 2009.