Yes, I suppose in some ways, it is nice to be self employed and getting to work from home quite a bit. I don't have to answer to sociopathic line managers or kitten photo obsessed colleagues. I don't have to commute to an office on the tube with my nose in a strangers armpit. I don't have to put a label on my soya milk in the communal fridge so Martha* from accounts will get the message and BUY HER OWN EFFING JEFFING MIL
*Any similarities to and persons, dead or alive, are purely coincidental. There is no Martha from accounts. In fact, I don't think I know any Martha-s...anyway
This blog spurs from the fact that, having recently made the decision to Turn-Pro about my voice over career, I've been chatting a lot more freely about what I do when in public social situations; parties, meetings, shouting it from the roof tops... Which has meant getting a lot of different reactions from people about what I've chosen as my career. Initially it's always "Working from home must be nice" and "Being self employed and your own boss must be good" and "How can I get into that?" The latter is a topic for a whole separate blog... so for now, let's settle on the working from home and self-employed parts.
Yes, it is good in so many ways. You are in control of your career. Holidays are very flexible. No temptation from Pret for lunch. (Ok, Greggs...#steakbake)
But, it is a lot to take on. Ultimately, you are not just the voice artist or what ever it is you do. You are your own agent, marketing manager, sales manager, social media manager, brand manager, designer, customer service, HR, accounts, tech support, finance, post-production assistant, boss, director, legal dept., investment broker, motivational support, WOMAN. Sorry... That last one could be man of course. So anyway, that's a lot of hats.
Here's what my day looks like;
Morning begins with breakfast and a bit of the telly news, must keep abreast of current affairs and that.
Shower (with in-shower gentle vocal warm ups, housemates love a bit of siren-ing in the morning)
Then I start with allocated marketing time; Twitter, Linked In, Google Plus, Sound Cloud, Facebook, Buffer App, Twitter Feed, etc... to start with, then seeing what's out there blog wise to comment on or share with other VOs.
A bit of auditioning for jobs next if anything has popped up.
On to the accounts, so adding money from jobs completed to spreadsheets/log books, writing invoices, chasing invoices and what not.
Next it'll be updating on line profiles with new credits or exciting new clients. A bit more of the social media malarky. Maybe write a blog ( #selfreferential; totes post-modern, innit)
Perhaps I'll do some practising of new voices or sight reading after this.
I try and do an hour of approaching new potential clients each day. Whether that is media companies, audio companies, post-production houses, radio stations...yadda yadda yadda but this is often sacrificed if I have recording to do. Luckily this sacrifice is happening more and more which means the marketing is working, but in order to keep momentum up the mail outs need to be done at other times eg: on 'lunch', or when watching Corrie*.
*British soap opera set 'oop north' where a surprising amount of scandal occurs, for such a tiny street.
Record voice jobs for clients.
And all of the above is done WITHOUT SEEING ONE PERSON AT A WATER COOLER FOR A BIT OF GOSSIP. Which is a crying shame. Still, we have Facebook, which is as good for public breakdowns and soggy displays of affection as any office, am I right?!!! (*looks around for high 5, remembers she works from home, high 5's herself, delicately).
Here's the thing. I talk to myself. And not just in a padded room into a microphone for recording purposes which is the job. As me. I talk to myself, as myself and as my boss. And Martha from accounts. And Susan from marketing. And the new girl on reception who no one talks to yet because she had the audacity to wear jeans when it's not casual Friday. I admitted this to a mate recently, saying that I ask myself for time off and give myself praise when I done good and reprimand myself when I've been dawdling at the "watercooler" (Facebook) for too long. And they looked at me like I'd just had the last of their milk from the communal fridge. (#callback) But why not?! It makes me smile. And actually makes me work harder. Because, let's face it, no boss is as hard to please as yourself, are they?
Below is a list of a few pros and cons of being self employed/working from home. Incase any of you were thinking of giving up your PAYE status...
Working in PJS
Less access to pastry products
Your own fridge
No irritating colleagues
No ball breaking boss
Learning of many, many additional skills
No health and safety rules
Being your own boss
No excuse to buy a suit in Zara
Less access to pastry products
Lack of guidance or advice
Pretty sad looking 'Xmas' do
Constantly chasing payments
No guarantee of income - risky
No paid holiday or pension or benefits
No stationery to nick
Yeah. No stationery cupboard. Gutted. Still, I can pass off loitering in the highlighter section of WS Smiths as research or whatever.
I guess, when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, when the chips are down, when your cards are on the table, it's about doing what suits you. I'm self employed/work from home because I am a voice artist. That's what I do. And that's what is required.
Tune in next week for a list of do's and don't's-es for a successful 'Working from Home' life. From my own personal point of view.
That's all, gotta dash. Apparently Susan* from marketing got really drunk at the staff do last night and now she has a tattoo of one of those waving chinese cats on her thigh. DRAMA
*Nicola: "Nicola! Stop making up colleagues and get back to work, Jeremy Kyle will not further your career"
Nicola: "Sorry boss, back on it now boss. Ooh, look, tap dancing kittens..."
Nicola: "CLOSE THE TAB!"