This isn't my first time “working from home”.
For more of the past 20 years or so, I've been an independent contractor. That means that I would get hired by clients exclusively, for as short as 3 months or as long as 5 years, until the contract comes to an end. And then I'd need to find another client.
Sometimes I'd find a new client very quickly, and sometimes it would take a month.
In fact, a few years ago, I got into a routine of working for 6 months, and being off for 3. And working again for 6, and being off for 3. I thought that was a great routine, and would have been happy to continue doing that forever.
So I've had times where I've tried to work on my education business from home before this. And so I think I know what challenges I will face.
One thing I liked about working “9-5” was the routine of it. I liked waking up, taking a shower, deciding what to wear, jumping in the car, getting to work right exactly on time, going to breakfast with my co-workers, and the day-to-day smiles and laughs between dozens of people throughout the building. I liked being able to get up at 3pm and go for a little walk downtown and perhaps see something new that I hadn't expected to see. I liked being able to decide one day to go out to lunch instead of bringing a packed lunch from home, or that spontaneous request from a co-worker to go to lunch.
Working from home can be lonely. I don't have to wake up at a certain time, I don't have to take a shower, I don't have to change clothes. Breakfast and lunch is whatever is in the fridge.
There's no one to laugh at my stupid jokes. Well, my wife and dog are here, but they're tired of my jokes already. I need a constant stream of new people who haven't heard how dumb my jokes are before.
I get headaches from staying at home too long. Like, I can stay at home all day for one day. But on the second day, I feel tired, lethargic, and can't think too well. I need to get out sometimes. I need to socialize with strangers. I need to talk.
Ultimately, there's no way to perfectly replace those parts of working in an office.
Do I want to wake up with an alarm each morning? Not really, no.
Do I want to fight the morning traffic jam to get into an office? Not really, no.
So what am I going to do?
I've decided to get myself an office. (Shocker!)
But I want an office with other people in it. I want one with comfortable seats like sofas and desks, however I feel to work in that moment. I want one with a little bit of background noise as people come and go, say hello, and sometimes invite each other out for coffee or a quick lunch.
But I don't want a Starbucks. I don't want to be that guy, sitting in a coffee shop for hours.
That may be great for some people, but I've never really liked entering a Starbucks and finding 80% of the space taken by people with laptops. “Get an office, you jerks!” I would say in my head. Now Starbucks is a big company, and they can do business however they want. But if they removed all the chairs and tables, and made it more like a Tim Hortons. It'd be these guys fault.
Some years ago, Chapters/Indigo removed the comfy sofas and chairs from their book stores. I guess people were coming in, buying a coffee, grabbing a book, and reading the whole thing. And putting it back on the shelf. Those people ruining a nice trip to Chapters for me. 🙂
So I'm looking for co-working spaces.
I need a place where I can go to, get coffee and WiFi, do some work, and leave. Without feeling any guilt about not properly paying for that service. Now that might not be too much different than working from home, but it forces me to shower, change clothes, go outside, battle the heat or cold like a normal human, and gives me the chance to interact with a few strangers who might become friendly.
So step 1 of the “work from home plan”, is get an office. Oddly enough.