Guest Post by Chris Butler
Hi there, I’m Chris Butler and I’m filling in for Jan this week so she can take some much-needed time off.
I am in a rather unique space in my life right now and Jan thought you might enjoy hearing about my new lifestyle. She also asked me to explain how I manage to keep my freelance copywriting business going as we enter this next phase of our lives.
My husband and I are both retired from corporate life. We recently put our house on the market and moved into our motor coach full time. We plan to tour the country for the next few years…free from owning any property or other things that usually tie you down.
Our goal is to visit as many National Parks as possible as well as drive to all of the states…except of course Hawaii…we don’t have floats on the coach!
We’ve traveled over 3700 miles so far. We started in Arizona, went through New Mexico to Texas, up to Colorado, over to South Dakota, then Montana, Idaho and are currently in Washington State. We’ve only been gone a little over a month.
Whew…that sounds like a lot. But we’ve enjoyed every minute of it!
In the meantime, I created a new business to keep my mind active and do something I’ve always loved doing…write. I created Copy She Wrote, LLC and I write web content, email ads and auto responders, and just about any other kind of online writing you need. I’m having a blast!
In order to accomplish this, I’ve had to become very disciplined…which wasn’t necessarily one of my strong points. But in order to have my business survive and enjoy the trip as well, I’ve had to create a structure that works for both my husband and me.
As many of you may know, working for yourself is no easy task. You must lay out your overall schedule, determine when things are due and then plan out what you need to do and when, so you can meet deadlines.
So I’ve had to develop a way to become more disciplined in my approach to life, not just work, but life in general.
My form of discipline contains 3 basic elements:
• Scheduled daily time commitment – One of the reasons we’re taking this trip is to see the country. You can imagine how easy it would be to just play all of the time…go sightseeing, visit historic places, take advantage of whatever is in the area…but I need to get work done too.
So I have carved out some time each day for my business. For me, getting up early and working for 4 or 5 hours before we start touring, works best. That way I get my to-do list off of my plate and don’t have to think about it the rest of the day.
Of course these hours are flexible and if I need more time, I take it. If I get my tasks done early, I start playing earlier. That’s the beauty of being your own boss. You know what has to be done and you do it.
Working in the evening or well into the night might work best for you. You have to figure out your own schedule. If you have employees working for you, of course that will have an impact on your plan.
Don’t get carried away though. The opposite is also true in that you can work too much and not allow yourself the playtime or relaxing time that you need.
That’s why having a specific schedule with specific tasks to accomplish daily is necessary. Hopefully you won’t be tempted to do tomorrow’s tasks today! Leave time for yourself.
• Dedicated workspace – Although our coach is a large vehicle, it is only approximately 400 square feet of living space. With two adults, a dog and a cat, there’s not a lot of room to spread out.
So I set up my office in the kitchen area and everyone knows that’s my office for that period of time. I have my computer, wireless Internet card, printer, cell phone, paper and pen…and of course my diet coke, all situated around me.
Most of the time I dismantle it when I’m not working…after all it is our dining table as well. But if I’m deep into a project, it stays up and we all work our way around it. Space is at a minimum and you have to make every inch count. You also must share.
•Total concentration – This is probably the most difficult aspect of the flexible writer’s life I’m living at the moment. There’s so much going on around me in this shared space that it takes every effort I can muster to stay focused.
I have found that putting on noise cancellation headphones with soft playing music helps block out the commotion of every day life around me. If my husband is watching a golf tournament or something, I’ll set up my office so my back is toward the TV so I don’t get visually distracted. Again, it takes discipline but I’m finding the more I practice it, the better I get.
As you can see, writing while on the road has its challenges, but so does every small business. Working from home poses similar issues as the ones I’ve listed here.
If you work in an office environment with employees, your surroundings are very different but you still need the discipline to get things done on time. You also have the added demands of getting other people to stay disciplined as well.
I believe my elements for discipline will work with anything that is worthwhile. You may have your own, but if you don’t, go ahead and give mine a try.
Maybe you’d like to share yours so we can all learn other ways to develop stronger discipline and keep our businesses on track.
After 27 years of corporate life in the telecommunications industry and four years as a real estate agent, Christine Butler decided to follow her passion and become her own boss. She began her writing career four years ago when she founded “Copy She Wrote, LLC”. She chose the RV industry as her major writing niche because she and her husband are living full time in their motor coach. Her new freelance copywriting career fits with her on-the-road lifestyle as she and her husband travel through the country in their home on wheels. To find out more about her go to her website at TheButlerWroteIt.com.