Walking in the Dark, Zombie Apocalypse Readiness and Running a Home Office.

Walking in the Dark, Zombie Apocalypse Readiness and Running a Home Office.

You are probably wondering what running a home office and being ready for a zombie apocalypse have in common? Read on and I will explain it.

When it comes to creating a successful home office, it takes a lot of separation, motivation and goal setting. I run my business from a home office, as previous posts have explained, it works best with my type of work, office times and family life. I wouldn’t change it for the world but it was never going to be easy.

To make my office life successful, there had to be a degree of separation. Separation from family interaction, online distractions and noise. To do this, I created an office from an unused bedroom space. It has a door I can keep closed, a window that opens to a nice view and a work space that inspires motivation. Motivation is a biggie too, especially if you are also running your own business.

When you work for an employee, you have your tasks to do, and also someone to answer to whether you get them done or not. When you work for yourself, well, sometimes it is easy to relax a bit too much. Of course there is benefits of working for yourself, but relaxing on project deadlines and scheduling cannot be one of them.

This is where goal setting comes into it. My business takes on projects as well as regular work. The projects consist of website design and development and advertising design. The regular work consists mainly of social media content creation and scheduling, checking brand reputations and advertising progress. There are lots of reports to look through, especially for traffic analytics, SEO and online advertising campaigns.

I find it best to treat every week like a new journey. An itinerary works best in this case.

Create a list of projects, meetings and deadlines, as well as calendar appointments for new goals. We can then schedule this in to time and day order on our itinerary. This is a great place to start when planning the week. Of course, there is not a week that goes by where I do not amend or add to this list.

Scheduling time is super important, especially  in a home business, or internet business, as we don’t always work the usual business hours. I find what works for me is 3 main zones in the day. I wake up at 5am to get in 2-3 hours of solid work. I try not to look at my emails at this time either as it creates that D word – DISTRACTION. This goes for Facebook too!

I then take a break to spend the morning with my boys and my princess. Having brekky together and getting my boys organised for the day. This also makes me eat properly, another thing that you can lose track of when working from home.

I then get back into the day from around 10am through to about 3pm. This is where I usually have to deal with school pick up and other family commitments. Now depending on the day, and how much I got into those 7-8 hours, as well as project deadlines and workload, I then decide whether I need to add the extra hours in the evening. If I do, then I usually do this after dinner and when my boys go to bed. This gives me a few good hours in silence to finish work off or prepare for the next morning.

Motivation for me comes from wanting to keep my lifestyle I have created, as well as the need to build up the bank balance. Of course, this is not something to think about during work times, so to distract my thoughts I use music. I usually either have Spotify or iTunes streaming on my workstation. I have three computers in the office – PC Server, 27 inch iMac and Alienware 17 inch laptop. They each have their duties, and for this task, I utilise the extra computing power my server has in reserve to play music in the background. I can then use my laptop for my workload.

The early morning starts were hard at first while my body adjusted to the crazy hour to wake up at, but now after several months of doing so, I find I wake up without an alarm.

As I usually have two boys and my princess asleep, I try to be super quiet when getting up and ready for my day. This is where Zombie Apocalypse training comes in to it.

Our bedrooms are on one end of the house, at the end of a long hallway. To tackle this battlezone of noises, I use the following tactics: socks and stealthy ninja moves. Having just woken up, this is sometimes harder than it sounds, trust me!

I might also mention at this point my rabbit training of eating lots of carrots and not turning on the lights. To coincide with my stealthy ninja moves, I usually try to keep all the lights off. This just makes navigating that little more difficult, but I love the challenge. My thinking is that this is good training for my eyes and other sensory devices.

Now I’ve got to the right end of the hallway it is time to get the blood ready. My blood that is. It craves caffeine!

The kitchen presents it’s own battleground with so many things to knock, bang or drop. Some mornings just turn to chaos. I will admit it, sometimes I haven’t even braved the kitchen till after the boys wake up.

The biggest killer is noise. The amount of doors that need to be opened and closed and lights needing to be on  but only after doors are closed, and then ensuring the noise of my computer cooling fans is the loudest thing in the room. All I can say is lucky that my morning ninja training has paid off. My family often don’t even realise I have been up for so many hours.

Now when it comes to working for long periods in my office, I find it best to set the room temperature slightly below what I am comfortable at. Am I crazy??!? Maybe, but I find working out of my temperature comfort zone keeps me alert and also keeps my body working hard to maintain my body temperature. I feel that if we are always in our comfort zones, our bodies get lazy.

A con about working from home is sometimes you can forget to eat properly. I usually get a ‘friendly’ reminder from my Herbalife princess that I haven’t eaten yet (I just got one then as I was writing this!) but have gotten better. The important thing here is eat right. On days without meetings where I usually start the day off working in my pyjamas, it can be too easy to be lazy and snack on high calorie foods like chip packets. This is not good, for both your health and your work.

Both my partner and I work from home and have worked out that preparation of snacks such as carrots and celery sticks, fruit and nuts and creative shakes is what works best. It must be working as I have also managed to feel healthier and lose 13kg off my body weight.

Combine my ninja moves, stealthy house movements and in the dark navigation along with my cold office space and healthy eating, I find my day becomes very productive for both my business and my overall health. It also means I am that one step closer to being ready for a zombie apocalypse!

Now there are two more things that help me to work successfully from a home office – podcasts and princesses.

Not actually princesses, just one. My partner has always supported what I do, and this helps so much. Not only knowing she supports what I am doing and my lifestyle, but also when I need to run something past someone. Working from home can often leave people isolated as they do not have work colleagues around them constantly. This is where having someone else in the house helps. Not always essential, but I truly believe this has helped me.

Podcasts are a great way to replace music in the office. I usually use music on projects where I need to focus on wording and content, whilst a podcast from the greats like Shawn Stevenson, Jill and Josh Stanton and Pat Flynn helps create motivation, positivity and tips for progress. As I listen to them though, I often find myself focusing on what they are saying so it can be difficult when typing up content. Do you listen to any podcasts? Let me know what you recommend, I always love expanding my podcast list.

So there you have it, my take on working from home and how I manage to keep it positive and productive. What tips have you got? Be sure to share them below.

How I made the Leap from an 8 to 5 Secure Job to Running my Own Business

How I made the Leap from an 8 to 5 Secure Job to Running my Own Business

There is a saying that keeps popping up in my life….

YOU CAN GO TO WORK, OR YOU CAN BE THE BOSS

Having always worked for someone since I left school those many years ago, the idea of running my own business was super daunting, and not something I believed I wanted to do at the start.

As I progressed into management roles and learnt how small and medium business worked, I found myself inspired to get in on this whole business owner thing. Nothing happened for a while as I had a good job and a family that depended on me. Of course, life’s rollercoaster has it’s ups and downs and paths you never even imagined.

In 2009 I started my own business. A computer tech support business that looked after home users and small business clients. This rose from my helpdesk background and the constant flow of jobs from mates and family (yep, you know the ones!).

Whilst things were going great working my new business on the side of my job, I saw opportunity to grow it even bigger. Could this become my full time job/career?

Fast forward 5 years and my business has developed from offering that original tech support role to looking after small business owners and entrepreneurs creating awesome web stuff: social media pages and content, adverts, websites and landing pages, logos and more. And I do this full time!

I am very passionate about my business as a lot of you may know. I have tried to stay true to my origins of being a bit of a tech head, hence my own sites and content are usually not as “arty” as some other marketing agencies, but I think that makes my brand different.

To build my business up on the side of my regular day job, I resorted to social media for creating my brand.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS EVIL YET OH SO GOOOOD!!!

Over the past few years, I have come across many get rich quick and join the new rich schemes. I call them schemes because so many of them seem to offer huge rewards with minimal work. I CALL BULLSHIT! If you want a business that is here for the long run and brings consistent income, you need to work hard. Bottom line. If it was as easy as copying and pasting the perfect business model and renaming it, everyone would have done it…. oh wait, everyone is trying to do it.

Yes, there are those that are raking in the big bucks, but this usually comes down to making a commission on conning someone else into selling this business model, the actual product is the business model. Hmmm…..

Social media has a lot to answer for in some ways, with many people creating a profile that looks amazing on the outside, but represents nothing about their true self. Maybe that is the beauty of the internet. Anyway, I stray from my point. Social Media gave me an opportunity to create my brand online. It was something I could share ideas and articles on and create the brand awareness I needed to build my business with.

We still get at least 80% of our client referrals from social media in some way or form. Combine this with leads created from Google search generated website traffic and I had created a lead generating machine. The fact that I could utilise Google and Facebook ads to find customers who were actually looking for someone like me amazed me, and still does. This is what the internet was for. If it isn’t matching couples up for dates, it is connecting business owners with their target audience. #LongLiveTheInternet

Create a Niche baby!

In developing my business, I found that whilst I tried to offer and take on everything, this actually killed my business, both in time and reputation. I didn’t want to be a one man jack of all trades, master of none. It was time to get specific. Time the NICHE WAS CREATED! (cue amazing music.. ta da!).

When my partner and I started looking through my client list, the work I was getting more of, (and what seemed to get the most return business) was for entrepreneurs and startups. Yep, so many people were trudging down the same path as me, creating that on the side business model and dreaming of going big. Many of them would come to me when they had decided their business was viable, enjoyable and would benefit from getting a whole heap busier!

Enter the Small Business Brand Marketing model. We decided to not let this information sit uselessly on my desk. We put into place a new business plan and product offerings. Although we still take on the occasional server and network setup jobs, we now focus on offering total startup solutions from logo designs and stationary to all your marketing needs including websites, social media, online advertising and offline print marketing. With my partner Brydie being the graphic design guru, it was the perfect model for us to take on.

Dreaming of a Better Life…..

I must also put it out there, that I had a reason to push this so much. I had a goal. A want. A need!

small business reasons

My family is everything to me, my two boys and beautiful soulmate. If my business could work around family appointments, school events and emergencies, that would be the bomb! By becoming my own boss, I have created that flexibility, and working in the realm of website and online advert creating, it allows me to stagger my working hours into early or late hours of the day. Some days I find myself plugging away at the keyboard at 2 or 3am in the morning. By the way, this is the best time to work online! Super fast internet, no phone calls and beautiful night time serenity.

And here I am, Look at me now!

It doesn’t seem like it has been 6 years but when I look back at how I got here I can see why it took so long. There was a lot of trial and error along the ride, and jobs I took on due to insecurities I wish I hadn’t. Now that I am working in my perfect role, I get great satisfaction in telling others how I got here, how I tried to always remember that big picture, and what tools I used to help me along the way.

A Goal is a Dream with A Deadline.

Along with my business team at Xmedia Digital Solutions, I now help other small business owners create their business dreams and reach their goals of more clients, returning business and monthly revenue. I have escaped that 9 to 5 rat race I thought I loved at first, but now don’t miss at all.

There have been people that have inspired me along the way, both with business ideas, motivation and personal development. I’d definitely check out the following guys.

A BIG shoutout to

Jill and Josh at Screw the Nine to Five

Shawn Stevenson at the Model Health Show

and my partner in crime Brydie. Couldn’t have done it without you by my side. Thanks for the support.

 

If we can help you with any thing, or if you have questions regarding my story, please use the comments below to ask and I will try to respond to everyone.

 

Thanks for reading. Please share my story with other business owners, entrepreneurs or that startup that needs that helping hand. Cheers guys!

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