If you’ve decided to set up your coaching business working from home, congrats!
Technology nowadays means you can coach someone anywhere in the world via video conferencing/Skype/Zoom etc., and physical in-person contact isn’t necessarily a must-have requirement for a successful coaching business.
Whichever way your coaching business works for you, working from home comes with its own set of challenges and myths. It’s not all about working in your PJs… don’t believe all you read on social media!
I’ve been working from home now since 2010 and I love it. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing in the early days and it took me a while to change my mindset into one that worked for me… minus all the guilt of not being chained to my desk from 9 to 5!
I thought I’d share below my top 3 tips to help you work from home successfully 🙂
I would say that self-discipline is one of the hardest challenges to overcome if you’ve leapt straight into working from home, especially if you’ve been employed & worked at someone else’s premises all your working life.
Not only do you have to get used to not having the company of others around you, you now also have the added temptation of watching another Netflix episode, of spending another hour scrolling through your Instagram/Facebook feed, of burying your head inside the fridge & filling up on all those snacks you’ve just bought (or maybe that’s just me!)
The first thing I would suggest is to use your calendar well. Schedule blocks of time for certain tasks, or certain types of coaching (e.g. 1-2-1s, group sessions, on-site coaching etc), and make sure you also schedule your admin/business tasks. Then when you come to do these tasks, stick to them. You wouldn’t keep switching client bookings around so be disciplined when it comes to your unbillable work too.
If you struggle to get into the correct mindset of working from home, something I used to do when I first started out was go for a quick walk around the block first thing in the morning. This helped me get into work-mode as it felt like a (very) quick commute to work. Then I’d make myself a coffee & go straight into my office.
Another thing I would do was dress as though I was going into an office. I couldn’t work wearing my “lounging about in” clothes… it just didn’t feel right to me.
2. Set boundaries
When I first started out working from home my Mum expected me to ring her for a “quick chat” near enough every day, because I was at home anyway so why not?
There’s a look that people give you when you say you work from home… they immediately think they can just call round for a coffee anytime they like being as you’re at home anyway!
You have to set boundaries at the very beginning.
Make sure you have a designated work space. If you have a home office all the better, but it can work just as well from the dining room table or in the corner of a room as long as everyone knows that when you’re at your desk it means you’re working.
If you have an office, close the door. Explain to your family that if the door is closed it means you can’t be disturbed. Let people know in your household the times that you are available. Make it clear that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re free for a chat/play/chores etc.
If you have children at home, arrange childcare if necessary.
You don’t want to end up like this poor guy live on TV!
When I first started out, I used to think I had to stay at my desk all day. I was naïve in thinking that every minute of my day had to be spent in front of my computer… that somehow clients would “know” if I moved away from my office.
I remember the first time I went grocery shopping during the day… you would think I’d committed a crime by how guilty I felt! I felt sure people were looking at me thinking why is she doing shopping at this time of the day? Does she not work? Hasn’t she got a job? I’d rush home & check my voicemail & emails just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything urgent!
The thing you have to remember is that when you were working for someone else, you were still entitled to time off, to breaks, to lunch etc. So why do you think you’re not entitled to those same breaks/time off now that you work from home?
Clients will not expect you to be online / available all day every day. As a coach you will have certain times available for 1-2-1 sessions – in fact I would recommend setting up an automated scheduler so people know the times when you are available.
If your focus is starting to wane, take a break. Go outside, immerse yourself in a different environment. Take advantage of the flexibility that working from home gives you and just switch off, even if it’s just for an hour.
My own clients know they can’t get hold of me 24/7, but they also know that I always do what I say I’m going to do & I always deliver on time.
Since we adopted Xena (our rescue dog), I have to take regular breaks… she pesters me otherwise. But it’s great… I use the time to play outside with her, or do a bit of trick training… I’m away from my desk and I’m bonding with my dog. And when I get back to my desk, my focus returns & I find I’m more productive. And Xena is shattered & leaves me alone for another hour. It’s a win-win situation 🙂
So, there you have it, a few tips to help ease you into working from home if that’s the direction your coaching business is going.
If you want to see what I get up to working from home, follow me on Instagram – I share a mix of admin tips and a behind the scenes look at my own business.