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If You Work For Yourself, You Don’t Have To Wear Pants

February 6, 2015

“.. but your housemates, and your chair will appreciate your continued use of them.” – Howard Tayler

After yesterday’s post (If You work From Home Do You Still Have To Wear Pants?) several people took issue with my answer that Yes, you do have to wear pants.

My friend David Rice runs an award winning theater called First Folio in Chicago.

Every work at home day is at least partially a jammy day at First Folio!

Others suggested that it was at least optional.

There’s a difference in working from home for a company and working from home for yourself. If you work for someone else, be they a big company or small, you should follow yesterday’s post’s advice. Wear the pants. Have a start and and end to your day. Keep engaged with your team.

Today, let’s talk about those brave and foolhardy souls. . .the entrepreneur. Elsewhere on this blog I’ve told the story of Howard and how he left the corporate world to become a cartoonist. He is in the enviable position of not having anyone tell him what to do. No one tells him how long he has to work. No one tells him he has to wear pants.

I worked for myself for a few years, and with all that freedom comes the sometimes crushing knowledge that you are solely in charge of your fate. If you choose to screw around, no one will tell you to get back to work. But, if you screw around long enough, you won’t have an product or services to sell and you’ll be back in the corporate world.

Those who are self-employed and successful at it are some of the hardest working people I know. It’s said they only have to work half days and they get to pick which 12 hours of each day to work. It’s a difficult thing to be your own boss.

I want to talk about a few things that helped me stay focused while I was self employed. First, have a start and and end to your day. Sure, the end might be 11:00 pm, but realize that you need a stopping point.

For me, it was important to get out and meet people. There are way too many distractions in my office. So, I would try to schedule appointments for early in the day. It got me up and moving.

When Howard first became an independent, he made an arrangement with a local comic book store. They let him set up a work space, and he in turn tweeted very nice things about them to his thousands of fans. Every day he had to at some point “go to work” by driving from his home in Orem, to Dragon’s Keep down in Provo. It probably helped keep him from being too distracted by his kids coming home from school.

And that’s another thing that helped me immensely. Wherever we’ve lived, we’ve always tried to carve out a space for me to have an office. Sometimes it was four temporary walls in the garage with a blanket for a door. When we were remodeling our current house prior to moving in, we carved out my current niche. It’s 4′ by 7′, but it has a door that closes and allows me to be away from eight beautiful distractions that share my house.

Finally, working for yourself, you have to be a bit of a task master. You have to be able to deny yourself today’s distractions for tomorrow’s reward. It’s tough for anyone. My ADD made it crazy at times. I’m happy in a corporate job currently, but can see the day where I’ll branch out on my own again.

And, if you are working for yourself? No, you don’t have to wear pants. . .but the people living in your house would probably appreciate it.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

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