It might be the new year, or new decade, or even (whisper it) that sea-change General Election, but the mood among clients and contacts is up – which means knuckling down to work, of course.
I sort of accidentally became my own boss (communications, PR and copywriting, thanks for asking); fully prepared or not, I always knew it would be hard – just not how hard. Organising my website, photographs, branding, business cards, work email address, accountancy help, insurance and GDPR compliance all came down to graft and application, of course. (The keynote of the business’s first quarterly report was: ‘Phew!’) Then ‘all’ you have to do is build a client and contact list so you can afford to keep the lights and heating on.
When your comfy old lounge becomes an office, you quickly need to treat it like that. Only once have I worn pyjamas at work and it just wasn’t right for that early morning work call. Smart casual is the look, make-up on only when I’m out and about, or Skype-ing or Zoom-ing.
Previously, there was always cause for optimism at Pearce Towers if there was cake about. But it turns out that unnecessary home baking is one of those enemies of progress you used to hear about. See also watching foxes in the garden and reading last Saturday’s papers on a Thursday.
No, everything starts with getting started. My business and mindset coach Jo Naughton – that’s right – gave me a brilliant technique that also bring drama to 08.59 in my house: I shout out a countdown from 10,9,8,7… from the kitchen … 6,5,4 … to my work chair: 3-2-1- … go! And it works, every time.
I ward off loneliness or boredom by networking. Decades as a journalist mean I’m well prepared and luckily many people from all walks of life are happy to be my new pals. Some of them have amazing stories to tell and ideas to share. There is coffee, and fun, non-work chat too. The mutual encouragement out there is one of the best bits of becoming a business. But all of this isn’t without its perils. Like the alarming urge to faint that came over me at a couple of early sessions. It’s no reflection on my peers. It turns out I have low blood pressure and standing about chatting for hours can affect blood flow to the brain. The solution, as it so often is, is to (discreetly) clench one’s buttocks.
Safely back at home/the office, I’m now so focused there’s a risk that every tea will go undrunk and cold. But I’m just getting warmed up. I might even appoint a new recruit or two – a couple of rescue cats, healthy reminders that work isn’t everything. Business is business, but company is company.