I thought I should capture my thoughts on life as a solo act, so that I can look back in a few years and see if my views have changed.
Let's start with the minuses, so that I can end on an up:
- Sometimes I am so busy working in the business, I don't get any time to work on the business. For example, I put together a website, which has been met with a round of indifference. I lack the skills to make it more interesting, I lack the time to acquire the skills and I lack the money to pay someone else to do it for me. I put in a few proposals and the feedback indicates this is another area I need to work on. Once again - no time, no skills, no money.
- I have absolutely no understanding of PAYE and VAT and accounts and all that blarge. I am not in the slightest bit interested in it, either. So I appointed an accountant and hoped it would all just go away. It didn't. The accountant emails me and asks for this form and that reference number. I don't even understand what she wants, let alone know where to find it.
- I am a gregarious person. I love to interact with people, much to the disgust of an erstwhile colleague who preferred the sepulchral silence of a morgue. I find being on my own day in and day out quite desolate.
- Other people (including my children, sometimes) don't respect the fact that I have work to do and deadlines to meet. They expect me to be able to do this or that thing at the drop of a hat.
- I have never been very good at compartmentalising my life. Now that my office is at home, I often forget to leave and can easily spend 16 hours in front of my computer.
- Cashflow. This is the Achilles' heel of so many small businesses. Clients don't pay until they feel like it, and, because they're big corporates, you're somewhat powerless. Do I want to sic a lawyer on them? If I do, they'll probably just opt not to use me in the future, and I can ill afford to be offending clients at this point! But it's not always about the big boys doing what they please. I have one situation where I needed a certain application to be able to complete a job for a client, but it was expensive and I couldn't afford it until the client had paid me. But why should the client pay me for work I hadn't done? In the end, the client bought the software for me and will deduct the amount from my first invoice.
- I get to work when it suits me. I have settled into a pattern of doing the school run most days. I don't have to be in the office by 8:30am, and no-one comes to boot me out so he can lock up at 8pm.
- I get to dress as I please. If the boys are on holiday and I don't have to take them to the station, I can (and do, sometimes) work in my PJs. I would never dream of going into the office without my 'face' on (although few women in the UK bother with make up). I now very rarely get painted.
- Because I am at home most of the time, we were able to get a dog, which our boys had wanted since forever. I also take said dog for her morning walk, which blows away the cobwebs and gives me time away from the computer. Because she is still a pup, I have an enforced 2-hourly break as I take her out into the garden and tell her (as suggested by the shelter) to 'hurry up'. She usually obliges, for which she is rewarded with a treat.
- I get so much more done in a day than I used to in a shared space, because I don't get interrupted by issues that take me off-topic.
- I can check up on Facebook as I work. Most social spaces were blocked at my last place of work.
- I can choose to work on things that matter to me, rather than the things that get handed down from on high. My business isn't run by the beancounters (mind you - see #2 in the previous list).
- I get involved with the project from the beginning, instead of having some badly conceived specification document thrown over the fence by a sales-focused person who doesn't understand learning or learners and cares only about the bottom line.