Working from home, on your fashion business, can be a fantastic way to use your time more efficiently – as this way, you’re time isn’t wasted sitting in traffic in busy commutes, pointless meetings in the office that aren’t necessary, idle gossip with colleagues, or a stream of disruptions from your colleagues – each wanting a piece of your precious attention.

Indeed, the ability to work from home on your fashion business provides your life with the freedom and flexibility you likely crave… as whilst you are still going to be working long hours, you can at least work these hours on your terms – meaning your business fits around your life rather than your life fitting around your business.

That said, working from home isn’t free from challenge, as there are some downsides and drawbacks to consider.  For instance, a lot of people find themselves feeling quite lonely at times, or distracted, or that they feel they are ‘always on the go’ in the sense of there not being a cut off between “relaxation time” and “work time” as the boundaries become much more blurred when working from home.

Interestingly, it can often feel tempting to go out and acquire premises in order to make your business feel more like a business – but this tends to cost an enormous amount of money, and often isn’t really necessary for a fashion business.

The money you save on renting premises, can be invested in better ways, such as marketing and advertising.  This way, you don’t have a financial burden hanging over your head each month, and can keep costs down – meaning you can invest more in product development.

The main challenge, however, is a social one – as so many people end up feeling low in mood as a result of working from home… as it can be an isolating experience.  The other aspect of working from home that can be a challenge to have clear boundaries between “working time” and “relaxation time”.

If you work in an office environment, or a creative studio away from home, then there’s a clear line between “work time” and “home time”, yet if you work from home the boundaries get blurred and you can often find yourself not fully focused when working and not fully relaxing when not working.

It’s therefore essential to set up a specific space in your home which acts as a home office.  This way, you will be able to seperate the two aspects of your home; in the sense that it will help you “work when you’re working” and “relax when you’re relaxing”.  

The last thing you want is to treat your bed as a place to sleep, make love, and work on your fashion business – for instance, it’s important to have some separation.  This is why many people that work from home set up a home office, or work in coffee shops, as this tackles the challenge of social isolation too.

  1. SETTING UP THE SPACE

The first step, in setting up your space is to work out what you actually need, from the space.  As in, do you need a home office set-up, or more of a creative studio space – in any event, you can easily turn a spare bedroom, garage or outbuilding into a suitable space.  

The first step, of course, is to declutter the space and make it so that it’s an area where you can focus on your business and your business alone.

It’s imperative you create a distraction free environment that is also inspiring – often, people find painting the walls white can aid creativity as it reflects the light and can have a gallery like feel, which fashion creatives tend to appreciate.

There are functional requirements too, of course, for instance, rather than a home office set-up which is limited to a desk and computer, you might also need to set up a creative station housing sewing machines, fabric, and the like in order to come up with your creations.  

You might also need to create a home studio, in terms of an infinite white background that you use to capture your clothes in all their glory.  This tends to work out much cheaper than paying for photography studio time, and it can also be used to record your blog.

  1. HAVE A ROUTINE

Working from home can be a blessing but also a curse; on the one hand your commute is now greatly reduced, which has huge benefits in terms of convenience and cost reduction, but it can also create a less focused state meaning your productivity is likely to suffer.  

In part, that’s because there are simply too many distractions to contend with, but also, if you’re used to a a morning ritual of getting dressed in business attire (rather than sweatpants or your dressing gown) and being around colleagues all day, this is quite a contrast to now having all the time and freedom in the world to live life on your terms.

You can, however, have too much of a good thing and it’s therefore important to have a routine that will enable you to optimise your time, as structure will keep you focused.

For instance, you could set yourself a lunch hour between a set time each day, or adopt the approach that many successful people take which is to get dressed for work, as if you were going to the office.  

It’s also important to get out the house in order to beat isolation, whether this is sitting in a park, a coffee shop, a library, or a gallery.  Just go somewhere that you find inspiring and where other people are interacting.

  1. WORK WHEN YOU’RE WORKING

It’s can be way too tempting for your attention to drift anywhere other than on work, at the best of times, but if you’re in an office environment you are held much more accountable; imagine sitting in the office watching Netflix, rather than getting on with work.  

Indeed, you might have to parent yourself and set up your own ‘parental controls’ that allow you to restrict the content you’re able to access in order to remain focused.  This is one of the greatest challenges with working from home, we are all natural procrastinators, and you can end up in a state of half working, half relaxing – some people even work with their favourite TV show on in the background.

The best advice on this front is to “work when you work” and rest when you rest; not multitask in two completely different spheres.

  1. DELEGATE

A lot of times, small business owners find themselves working in the business rather than on the business, as the leader navigating it toward success.  Instead, they are doing everything from the accounts to the window cleaning.

This means that you are often working incredibly long hours, for potentially little pay, leading a life with no time to enjoy what truly matters in life.  Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, there are always ways to delegate certain tasks, to free up your time and focus on what matters most.

  1. HAVE DOWNTIME

When working from home, it can be hard to actually ensure you get enough rest and downtime, because you feel like you need to always be working on your business – to the point that you can, at times, feel guilty if you are at home without working.

Therefore, you need to prioritize your need for ‘downtime’ and to spend some time within your home enjoying yourself… for instance, having a nice bubble bath whilst watching Netflix; rather than constantly thinking about your business.

As mentioned above, this is where a separate space (ideally in an annex or garage that’s separate from your house) can come in handy.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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