I’ve been a home based coach and consultant since about 2007. I say ‘about’ because my original business was a publishing business and my coaching and consulting naturally morphed out of that when I started helping my customers to market their businesses online via WordPress websites and subsequently social media.
There was further ‘morphing’ going on in 2012 when I ended up consulting and training around employee engagement too – back to my HR roots, albeit with a healthy dose of digital and social media influence for modern times!
Over the years I’ve been connected with, and worked with, other home based coaches and consultants helping them to get more organised, to improve their wellbeing and productivity and to market and develop successful businesses
Recently I realised that I want to continue to share my knowledge and experience and do more collaborative work with other home based coaches and consultants as part of my POWER to Live More business. POWER stands for Productivity, Organisation, Wellbeing, Energy and Resilience – all areas that, when optimised, enable people to ‘live more’, which is all about getting to do more of what you want to do.
My starting point was to set up a survey to see what home based coaches and consultants might be experiencing and looking for.
I’m pleased to say that the results of my survey are fairly consistent with my own experiences and it has helped to further shape my new online membership community aimed at said home based coaches and consultants – ie people like me!
Here I’m sharing the feedback that I got from the survey.
The survey was divided into three sections: some demographics around who was answering the questions, a bit about the highs and lows of working from home and, finally, what support and community home based coaches and consultants might be looking for.
What Do the Home Based Coaches and Consultants Do?
Where Do The ‘Home’ Based Coaches and Consultants Actually Do Their Work?
I like this graph showing the places where the respondents work. I think I work in all those place at one time or another!
Specific places mentioned in the ‘Other’ section include clients’ offices, libraries, the garden and co-working spaces.
Suffice to say, in the main, we are taking full advantage of the flexibility that working from ‘home’ provides to us. For all the downsides around isolation and potential distractions, it appears that we are making the most of being location independent!
The Highs and Lows of Working from Home
So, now we’re going into the meat of the survey. What do we all think of working from home; what are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
Here’s the Wordcloud I created from the question, “What’s the best thing about working from home?”.
I don’t imagine you are any more surprised than I am to find flexibility, time and freedom amongst the most common words used in the answers.
I started my business to enable me to work from home so I could have a baby. She’s now twelve and I was reminded of how lucky I have been to be able to work from home just this week. I was working with a client in London where I had to get the 7.45am train and I didn’t get home until 8pm (a delayed train was thrown in there too!). That would have been mine and her experience of daily life if I’d stayed in my corporate job.
And it’s not just about being at home – it’s about choosing when to be at home and when to be somewhere else; when to work and when to take time out.
I have, in recent years, realised that as a night bird (or a Wolf if you’ve read ‘The Power of When’ – a definite recommend). I am most productive in the afternoon and again in the late evening and into the night.
When I first started working from home I believed that I needed to work in a more 9-5 pattern, like I did in corporate (and then some, on many occasions!). It didn’t really occur to me that I don’t actually have to work at 9am (or even be awake by then!) if I don’t want to and that I can shape my tasks and client contact around the times that I want to work and when I’m most productive. Generally, I now don’t open my diary for clients to book into until after midday!
Some of the most interesting answers to this question included:
- It’s my favourite place to be as I can watch my wildlife garden at all times of the day.
- Being able to zone one’s days, to suit one best so that one can work in one’s flow (and bunk off to go down the beach for sneaky swims).
- The freedom to choose when and how I work, the flexibility to go and garden for an hour if I want.
- No commute! My dog gets to be with me all day and I get to make fresh lunch for myself in my own kitchen!
- Really comfortable space.
- I can adjust my environment depending on the type of work I’m doing. Much easier to focus and concentrate (in a relaxed way) than in an corporate office environment. Can do household stuff when I’m having a break.
And here’s the one created from the question, “What’s the worst thing about working from home?”.
As you can see loneliness, isolation and lack of people are the most common responses with a fair sprinkling of too many distractions, interruptions and lack of focus thrown in!
Here are some of the specific comments:
- I miss the companionship you have in a workplace.
- Loneliness, distraction by other family members or household to do list (ie. that pile of laundy staring at you…) and my dog not talking back when we have a team meeting.
- One can easily get distracted.
- Not getting away from work!
- Lack of focus at times.
So, there’s a heavy downside if we don’t take steps to counteract those challenges and carve out an environment that enables us to work productively and create and develop a successful business.
What Would Help?
As mentioned at the beginning of the report, I also put the survey together to get some feedback about how I can help a select group of home based coaches and consultants to overcome the challenges of working from home to build a succesful business.
There were common themes in the responses given that have helped me to create my new online membership community.
The top needs expressed were around networking, community, informal collaboration and the opportunity to ask questions.
The next tranche were around learning, support, specialist expert input and commercial collaboration.
I was pleased to see the lowest rated was video co-working, which is also at the bottom of my list!
Additional Thoughts and Ideas
I also asked for individual suggestions and thoughts that I hadn’t included in the list, which are represented here.
A common theme, not surprisingly, was about how there needs to be added value in a paid for online community over and above the free online communities available on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Here are some of the ideas that weren’t on my suggested list:
- Get it done days
- Access to a press release distribution service
- Striving for growth and automation following in others footsteps
- Pre-made templates and SOPs
- Testing things out on each other
- A quality threshold – this is not Facebook
- Virtual celebrations – recognition – awards
- Learning around Facebook advertising, marketing, list building
I’ve already incorporated pre-made templates into my new online community and, in my Learning section, I’m starting to add extra courses around marketing and list building as well as those already there linked to my 5 Fundamentals.
I’m also planning on including some ‘get it done’ days to go alongside the weekly calls and shared habit tracking app to create accountability.
On the recognition front, there is a gamification plugin that might offer some opportunity on the site around courses completed and other criteria, once I have a good look at it. The other suggestions fit in with the community aspect of the site, for which I’m using Slack because as one respondee said above, “this is not Facebook”!
If You’d Like to Find Out More
You can find out more about the POWER to Live More Learn Community using the link below. You will see that part of my guarantee to my members is that before making a decision to join the site you get to book in a call with me to create a plan for your first month in the community.
Too often people join membership sites and then, for many reasons, don’t take action and then don’t get the value they are looking for. My aim is to enable you to to hit the ground running as soon as you make a decision to join with a tailored plan of action.