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10 Things I’ve Learnt From Working For Myself

Aside from that you can go an inappropriately long time without showering…

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I suddenly realised last week that it’s been almost five years since I left my role as an editorial assistant in a beauty start-up to put my all into what is now ‘The Anna Edit’. Five years? How the hell did that happen? Working for myself was not something that I ever thought I’d do – my career tests in secondary school always came back with Teacher or Human Resources Manager – so writing blog posts in my pyjamas just wasn’t where I was aiming.

I’m sure that’s the same story for a lot of peeps working for themselves out there and actually doing your own thing is rather odd at times, isn’t it? Last week I found myself crying tears of laughter to clip posted on the Love Island Instagram because I hadn’t seen another human for nine hours. Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way, but to brighten up your Monday morning I thought I’d drop 10 observations that I’ve made over the years…

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Elasticated waistbands are life. I’m not sure quite how, in my three or so years of working in an office, I ever managed to get so much work done in jeans. For example I’m currently writing this post in a pair of wooly jogging bottoms and the words are just flowing right out of me. Stick me in a pair of jeans and all I can think about is that I feel like I’m being sawn in half and counting the hours till I can take them off. This is probably a sign that I need to accept that my cereal belly (see point seven) needs to size up.

Setting your own schedule is rather glorious. Being able to decide what goes where in your calendar (to some extent), is something that I’ll never grow complacent with and is easily one of the top perks of the job. It means I can go to the gym when it’s practically empty, do mid-morning pilates and pretend I’m a lady of leisure and get all my shopping done in town on a weekday and not have to elbow my way past a sea of teenagers to get to the NYX counter in Boots. It also means that sometimes I have to set my alarm early on a Sunday to sit with my laptop in bed whilst Mark snoozes away because I haven’t finished editing, but you know – swings and roundabouts, eh?

Your bond with your ASOS delivery driver will become strong. You also find yourself wondering if it’s time to change out of your three-day old PJ’s as you don’t want Steve from DPD to think you’re completely minging. I don’t think the people at the Post Office sorting place have the same fondness for me though as I often see them scatter whenever I rock up with my 14 ‘Sorry we missed you‘ slips; I’m their best customer/worst nightmare rolled into one.

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Your friends and family don’t think you work. It’s ok because you love them, but friends and family will often think that you’ll be the perfect hang-out buddy to keep them company on their days off. I can’t blame them for this because I fuel the fire by occasionally saying yes and hanging out with them on their sofa in my PJ’s and pretending I’m a student again, however I always pay the price and end up surgically attached to my laptop till midnight to make up for it.

Organisation is key. I know I always bang on about this, but the most productive days that I have are ones where I have a plan. Others where I just make it up as I go along because I feel unmotivated or just generally like poop, feel incomplete and leave my head feeling like a jumbled mess. It’s always best to document in some way your key tasks for the upcoming days, weeks and months ahead and regularly check-up on your progress.

Procrastination is your number one enemy. Despite many school reports reading ‘Anna is easily distracted‘, have I truly realised just how easily I am led off task until I began working from home. Name a viral video and I’ve seen it. Give me a Friend’s Buzzfeed quiz and I’ve already done it. Ask me for some fun trivia facts about ‘Parks & Rec’ and I’ve already read the IMDB page. Basically my brain is one big soup of useless knowledge. I would probably be rather good in a millennial themed pub quiz.

Cereal consumption is high. I feel like breakfast cereal is the part of the package that comes with working from home. Just like crusty pyjamas, it’s part of the self-employed uniform. It’s really quite incredible how many boxes you can chow through over the space of two days. One day I must count as I feel like I’m probably setting a new world record without even knowing it.

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You never actually do end up going to coffee shops. When I dreamt of being my own boss during my three hour round trips to London and back every day, I day-dreamed of sitting in coffee shops, surrounded by bits of paper, coffee and with my hair in a chic bun and me just looking like something off Pinterest. In reality I’ve probably been to a coffee shop about three times in the almost five years that I’ve been doing this and each time I’ve sat sipping a tap water with my greasy mop scrapped back. The same goes for the self-employed illusion of going for long walks and taking every Friday afternoon off. Never happens.

Talking/singing to yourself all day is completely normal. I often have some kind of internal dialogue going on about what I need to get done each day and practicing my Birmingham accent (one day I’m going to dazzle Mark with it). But more often than not I sing to myself, which is completely cool until it’s summertime and you forget that all the windows are open and your neighbours who are sitting out in their garden trying to enjoy a peaceful afternoon have heard your rendition of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ which sounded like a cat struggling to breathe.

Find your people. Even though you might be working on your own, it’s so important to find people in the same boat to act as faux ‘colleagues’. Now it’s not the same as having a gossip by the printer, but letting off steam with those who understand and can give great advice (seriously Lily is the best advice giver), is exactly what you need sometimes. You never know, they might just become one of your BBF’s

Photos by Lauren Shipley


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Comments

  • Ellie

    wait you probably mentioned this before but what planner do you use???

  • Sarah Rowley

    I too love En Vogue’s Don’t Let Go, TUNE!!!!!!!

  • Loved reading this post! In my case, even if I don’t work from home, cereal consumption is still high…haha! x

    Millie | http://www.bymillie.co.uk

  • Haha, as a film student, I love to work at the library, but I always wish I could be in my pyjama bottoms at the same time, jeans can be so uncomfortable sometimes!

    http://fannyanddailybeauty.com

  • Such a brilliant post!

    http://www.themollyellis.com

  • Julia Deutschen

    I loved this post! I am in my second year of university, so my working life is still ahead of me and more or less far away, but I really enjoyed this one.

    xx Julia

    http://www.talesofjules.com/

  • Such a fab post Anna – the role I do now is fairly independent so I can relate to a few of the points you make … especially the elasticated waists!

    Emma | HarmonyBlaze.co.uk

  • I absolutely love this! Huge congrats of five years since working for yourself! The Anna Edit is brilliant, a great site!

    I hope you have a great Monday,
    Michael
    https://www.mileinmyglasses.co.uk

  • Louisa Rose Life

    It has been a while since I have read a blog post. Now I am falling back in love reading blogs. This post made my morning Anna, I loved it how short, sweet and to the point you’ve written. Mentioned some aspects where other youtubers/bloggers/self-employed people would not say at all.

    Have a great day.
    Louisa x

  • Haha really enjoyed reading this Anna, your sense of humour is so heartwarming! I can relate to not liking to work whilst wearing jeans and also talking to yourself. I agree, my most productive days are the ones where I have a plan.
    Congrats on 5 years of The Anna Edit, here’s to many more! xx
    Coco Bella Blog

  • Luisa Sires

    Love it! Congrats for the 5 year aniversario! I started my own blog a year agosto and Lily and you are my biggest inspiration. Thanks for the honnesty! Love from Buenos Aires!
    http://www.luisasires.com

  • Emilie

    This comes at the exact time I needed it! I’ve started working for myself a couple of months ago, the things you wrote are soooo relatable. It’s good to read that others are dealing with the same struggles!
    Keep up the good work Anna, I love reading your blog!

    Big love from Belgium,
    Emilie
    http://www.kaherabeauty.com

  • I felt the same when I was at home pregnant and had just the blog to do because I wasn’t allowed to work. Keep in mind that my blog is a hobby, not a career, so I don’t want to belittle your work. But I had to get a grip on myself and have a plan, otherwise I would get less done in a day at home than I did on a day with office working hours.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Ivy Decker

    This was so refreshing, Anna! I like the view you give of self employment as having different kinds of perks and ‘glamour’ than what someone might expect. My mom has been self employed as a seamstress since I was a baby, and though she’s not working online or anything, I think she’d agree with a lot of these points! I hope to someday be in a position like this too, and I need to get started ‘finding my people,’ as you say!

    Thanks so much!
    ivyjune.weebly.com

  • I loved reading this. As someone who would love to own my own business one day (not sure with what, not sure when?) it seems so glamorous but really there are downsides to it.

    https://thedianaedition.com

  • I work from home and blog from home (separately) and I can honestly say my work wardrobe is 90% pyjamas and 10% leggings x

    http://www.caterenee.com

  • Loved this post! Although I’m not working just yet, I can assure you as a student that I spend more time scrolling through buzzfeed quizzes than any textbook ever haha x

    A Little Treat | Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • I enjoyed reading this.. I always dream of going to coffee shops looking chic but it hasn’t yet happened.

    http://www.zekalin.com

  • Such a lovely read. I work from home as well. The only part that differs is that I have to do the schoolrun which keeps me a bit more polished and clean regularly, hahaha! Although I’ve been tempted to take my kids to school in my pj’s it hasn’t happened…yet.

    Alina
    http://www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

  • Yes! I work for myself and this post was SOO relatable!
    Kisses,
    Sarah
    EverydayStarlet

  • I agree with everything you said, especially the concept of doing everything at home and not in coffee shops.

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

  • I cannot agree with you more on this! I found myself reading the post and agreeing with a lot of the points you made, especially the one about the friends and family not thinking you work!
    By the way, are you using a Bullet Journal? How do you keep organised on a daily basis? What planner/planning system do you use?
    https://onlinepersonalstylist.com/

  • I worked for myself for a bit and then I realized it wasn’t for me. I’m glad you found that working for yourself works for you. Aren’t those school career test interesting. Oh the career options they come up with.

  • HarrisonBeach

    I often dream of that day, being able to work for myself, doing this blogger lark and living the dream. This post has encouraged that urge even more! What a humorous post, love it!!!
    http://www.byharrison.com

  • I can imagine myself working for myself in the future but it seems so scary! I think I’d miss the whole social aspect! xx

    – Eternalleigh.blogspot.com

  • Lizzie

    Just curious, but i find it quite hard to make new friends as I can be a bit shy (not when talking business as I know what I’m doing, just day to day stuff!) Is this something you found easy to do when making fellow blogger/blogger friends?

  • Have to agree with the waistbands!
    http://www.lottiegibbons.com

  • I quit my corporate job 2 weeks ago and laughed out loud when I read “you never actually end up going to coffee shops”! I literally planned a list of coffee shops to work out of in NYC but nope, haven’t been to one yet haha! Love this post 🙂
    http://www.thewanderlover.com

  • Zara

    I love how honest this post is haha! xx
    http://www.misszarabelle.com

  • I love being able to set my own schedule. It feels so freeing somehow to not have to be completely restrained to a 9-5 and have to be at work at times that somebody else sets. I also don’t seem to find jeans comfy at all anymore, when I used to live in them constantly not long ago! x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

  • Claudia Paredes

    Hi, Anna, what I love the most in your posts is your honesty, keep it up, grl !!! xx

  • Laura

    I physically can’t sit in the house in jeans, they’re just so uncomfortable! The pj life rules….now how can I smuggle them into an office? xx

    Wander with Laura

  • Mariana

    Anna,
    Thank you so much for this post. The timing could not have been better for me. These things sort of happen along the way, and as I get my feet wet with freelance writing, I find these tips to be invaluable!
    Greetings from Panama!
    Mariana

  • The last might have sparked a tear in my eye. I have so much respect for you and others like you who work your butts off and have to keep yourselves accountable, without anyone really taking you seriously. Lovely post, Anna.
    x Ronja
    http://www.lifebyronja.com

  • Maanasa Bandla

    Hey Anna, where’s your bullet journal from in the photos above ?? xx

  • There are times when I can do my work from home and it’s exactly like everything you mention in this post. Also, “Basically my brain is one big soup of useless knowledge” is me. We would probably win a pub quiz if we team up together. x

  • Kylie Ladd

    Some good pointers in here! Can only wish one day to be working from home. *fingers crossed*

    thecaliforeigner.com

  • Love this so much! Especially the “people don’t think you actually work.” I am a Pilates Instructor as well as working on launching a blog and my life on Instastories usually looks like a dream, but of course no one sees me trying to understand code and designing a blog as well as figuring out content that inspires me and my future readers and then on top of that writing creative and challenging Pilates classes. Life, especially life portrayed on social media, is a very funny thing.

    xoxo

  • Lyndsay Tilston

    Currently at my desk, at my office job, in jeans, counting down the hours until I get to the take them off and switch into my “home pants” LOL!!! I get to work from home occasionally and those days are the best (comfort and snacking wise) but can also be hard to get motivated, and not watch crap daytime TV 🙈

  • Jolie Luu

    I love your humor and words of wisdom. I’m working hard so, one day, I can also work while feeling comfortable in my PJs!

    Jolie
    Joliecious.com

  • EnVogue by Emily

    I loved this blogpost! I can relate to you in so many aspects but wouldn’t wish for any other job! 😛
    Have a nice day, babe!

    http://www.envoguebyemily.de

  • Very useful post, I hope one day the be my own boss and for me, you are such an inspiration 🙂
    Miki xx

    littletasteofbeauty.blogspot.it

  • Very nice and useful recommendations with good pointers like keeping everything organized, network with other colleagues and simply being able to set your on schedule is one of the best things of working for yourself. Also the shirt looks really cute!

    Elena Jackson
    info@leggyleggy.com
    http://leggyleggy.com

  • Lucía Cóppola

    yes! I’m so relate to your points! But after some time I reject to wear those elastic pants at home, I put myself presentable every morning (after a couple of hours of life in pijamas). I promise when you get older you don’t look that nice in pjs all day. Point 4 is a pleasure to hear, I mean, at least I know, I’m not the only one dealing with those family plans!! Like I will be in the neighbourhood for a meeting, are you home tomorrow? Sure I´m but trying to work!!! (not so easy to say “no I can´t”). I miss the part of having people around doing the same kind of job from home as me …. the only friend doing it got a 9-5 job :(. PS I Love your youtube channel! I got some of your recipes for my family and they love it to.

  • Abz Kellett

    I can totally relate to procrastination issues, radiotimes.com is my life

    abzfabz.blogspot.co.uk

  • Kay Nguyen

    Lovely blog and so relatable! I love working for myself but it definitely requires a lot of organization and discipline <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • I just started working for myself at home the past few months and yes, yes, yes these points are all so relatable. Especially with the point about never going to coffee shops! haha I always imagined myself going to nice little cafes, with my laptop in the corner while working, taking breaks to people-watch but I get so lazy and decide to stay home in my pyjamas instead!

    Emily | http://emilytrinh.com

  • Sepideh

    I love reading stuff like this because it allows me to daydream and imagine more concretely what I want to create for myself !
    I feel like I would still go to a coffee shop – why do you think you never go? Even though I work a full-time job and on weekends I just want to be in pjs, I still do a coffee shop work date by myself at least once a month!
    http://www.elleisforlove.com

  • What a glorious post (and vision of your no doubt stunning rendition of En Vogue’s classic)!

    Gemma
    http://www.fadedwindmills.com

  • I’m hoping at one point to be able to work for myself. But even now I work remotely and these points are all so true. I think we all dream of glamorously writing in a coffee shop..maybe one day 🙂

    http://www.julespaige.com

  • I love this! Never realized what a job like this required.

  • It’s true, I never go to coffee shops either. I should though, it would be better for creativity.

  • Annemarie K.

    I study and blog from home most of the time, so this is so relatable! I also visioned myself working from Starbucks like a Pinterest girl every day, but that probably happened three times and I absolutely hated it and wasn’t productive at all. PJ bottoms for life! Loved reading this. And the photos are gorgeous.
    Xx Annemarie

    http://www.anneslittlearea.blogspot.com

  • Angela Tanner

    I get this totally even though I don’t work for myself. I work from home a fair bit and need to stay organised to do it well. What notebooks are you using in the photos?

  • THE DREAM <3
    Love this post!
    I'd really appreciate it if you could check out my blog and YouTube channel (links below)

    http://victorialouisekblogs.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOSnRJtrnlr3FLsR9Uc5VnQ

    I would appreciate it so so so much <3

    Thank you

    Victoria

    X

  • I love the way you write Anna – so friendly and yet informative! This is the dream (despite the lack of coffee shops and chic buns)… Someday, someday.

    Besma | Curiously Conscious

  • Loved reading this post. Thank you for sharing the reality of working from home with candor and humor. I had a brief stint of self employment earlier this year… while I am still not steadily profitable with my blog, so the income (or lack of) wasn’t fun… but other than that, I fully enjoyed being my own boss and schedule settler. I’m back in the grind with my corporate career again now, and finding myself missing the good ole days of working for myself….

    Would love to hear more about how you get tasks done. Do you use any apps, tools, funny rituals to help yourself stay on track of productivity?

    Jessica || Cubicle Chic
    http://www.mycubiclechic.com

  • Kay Dreiling

    I loved this post! I’ve always wanted to work from home doing blogging or just being an author. It hasn’t happened yet but I’m hoping it will one day soon. These are great things to keep in mind for when that does happen
    xx

  • What a great post! As a huge stationery and diary fiend, I’d love to know what diary you’re using in the pictures. I love grid notebooks and this layout looks awesome x

  • The Red House

    Great post – now to come up with something that let’s me work from home…..

  • As someone who blogs part-time and freelances the other time — always, always from home — this post gives me life. Hilarious and all of it SO TRUE. Except about the part of never being in coffee shops. I WISH I didn’t require a coffee shop to force me to not procrastinate and find any semblance of productivity. Sadly, being out in public is the only way I can force myself to be accountable…

    I think every person who’s ever worked for themselves at home will be able to relate to this. And laugh, a lot. I think the one I’d add is: “You’d be amazed how many weird food combinations you will eat directly from the fridge.” Truth.

    Eire | Wolf & Stag

  • Em

    As someone who desperately wants to give up the 9-5 and work for myself I loved reading this! It’s pretty much what I expected (aside from the cereal consumption!) but was fun to read!

    polkadotparadiso.com