The life of the Solopreneur and tips for making it more efficientJuly 04, 2019
Times have changed from the days of the lounge suit, briefcase, and two martini lunch. For a start, most of us try to keep our documents in the cloud, not in a briefcase, and many of us don’t go out to work at all these days. Increasingly, young entrepreneurs live and work in the same place. This has many advantages, including a (dramatically) reduced commute time, decreased set up costs, and more flexible hours, but it doesn’t come without its pitfalls.
Solopreneurs, people who run a single-person freelance business, can live a pretty stressful lifestyle. Even if they never have to ponder if their outfit is work appropriate, these are some of our best tips for working for yourself and often by yourself.
Have a work space: You don’t need a whole room, a simple desk in your studio will do. A workspace that you can walk away front at the end of the day helps to decrease stress. You won’t have a commute to decompress and enjoy a podcast, so it is important that you can shut your desk, or your laptop, and put work away when you’re done working. Working from home can make it easy to work all the time, and this doesn’t increase productivity or happiness. By having a physical barrier in between yourself and your work, you ensure that work time is for working and free time is for fun.
Get out: It’s great that you can work in your pajamas, but if you’re still in them at 4pm everyday it’s easy to feel isolated. Access to a secondary work space, like the Paragon’s co-working space, is a great idea. The idea of working in solitude might sound great, and it can be, but it’s important not to let that solitude become solitary confinement. The community you’ll find in a co-working space can provide vital opportunities to network and bounce ideas off people. Changing the venue for your work can also have surprising impacts on the quality and creativity of your work.
Curate your space: If you’re going to start working from your apartment, it’s a good idea to set up an ergonomic workstation. Sitting on your couch might work right now, but a well-planned out work station will ensure that you don’t develop the tell-tale back pain that comes from sitting in an unsupportive chair hunched over a laptop.
Know yourself: Productivity isn’t directly correlated to hours spent in front of a screen. Rather than forcing yourself to log long days in front of the computer, make sure to acknowledge that you can’t be productive 24/7. Taking a break for a walk along the lakefront or through Grant park, getting in a gym session, or going for a run can make all the difference in your mindset and productivity.
Have a meeting space: Your home office might be dialed, but it’s still your home and perhaps not the perfect place to entertain clients. Here again, the Paragon’s co-working space fills an important need. A quiet table or meeting room to chat with clients in a neutral and professional environment is a must.
The IRS is your friend: One of the major financial advantages of being your own boss is the tax breaks you’re eligible for. It pays (literally) to familiarize yourself with all the applicable tax laws. Know what you can and can’t deduct, or write-off and what you can’t. There are a number of free apps that make it easy to keep track expenses as you incur them. Be diligent about it, and you’ll be rewarded.