Flying solo is fun, but two heads really are better than one

Solopreneurs, sole traders, masters of your own destiny - call it what you will. Working alone can deliver some of the most productive and satisfying career moments. No distractions.

No “office politics”. No judgement or expectations. 

 Having worked in large office buildings and mid-sized firms, I’ve been lucky to mix the big with the small and experienced the benefits and frustrations of both. 

 Working for yourself, particularly if it’s in a home-office setting, requires discipline. It’s easy to disappear down a rabbit hole of internet research, or getting sucked into the void of social media.  

 Equally, it’s important to schedule in “creative time” – time when rabbit holes are stock-and-trade for new ideas. Time blocking is a valuable way to schedule these creative opportunities without losing productive time.  

 If you work from home, you’ll have experienced the benefits of the zero commute, and being able whack on that load of washing during the day (and hopefully remember to take it out!). The downside can be longer working hours and an inability to switch off. 

 Emma Houston’s The Tracksuit Economy provides her personal guide to finding work-life balance. Emma transitioned from commercial lawyer to working remotely from Byron Bay. 

 Personally, I’m not a fan of the trackie dacks and slippers attire, even on those days when the only human contact you might have is a humble courier delivery driver. While I’m comfortable stashing the heels in the cupboard in preference for a solid pair of sneakers (preferably gold ones), I found it easier to create the mental shift required to successfully work from home by putting aside some designated “work clothes”, keeping regular work hours and a regular(-ish) routine. 

 Last month, I discovered something even better than flying solo. I hired my first staff member. Not only is she brilliantly organised and clever, she adds a very soothing presence to the office.  

 Allowing another human being into the ShedQuarters (Charles the Wonder Dog has been Vice President and Head of Security since Mulberry Seed first sprouted) was a little scary. We talked about it and spend a few moments each day to identify our priorities and set the tone. Two months in and it’s been brilliant – because she’s the right person for the job.  

Before making your first hire, pay attention to more than just qualifications and experience. Is this the person you can depend on? Will they thrive in this small-scale office environment? And will they laugh at your jokes? 

 My experience has been that two heads are better than one. I hope it is for you too.

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