Insights From 20 Work From Home Event Pros

#HomeOfficeLife

As technology empowers us and makes the world smaller, the rise of professionals working from home continues to increase. From Flextime, telecommuting to home-based businesses, going into a shared office space each day isn’t the only option available to team members and entrepreneurs any longer. This steep increase in a home office workforce had lead to new vocabulary (solopreneur, mompreneur, Infopreneur, etc.), technology adoption (Skype, Slack, Asana, etc.), and new anxieties (loneliness, lack of balance, communication skill breakdowns, etc.). In addition, many who work from home are misunderstood by their peers who have never engaged in that lifestyle themselves.

If you couple the misconceptions many have on owning your own business with working from home, you could find yourself defending belief in your employment! Much has been said about the differences between owning a business and being a team member. Both have their own stressors and challenges while neither is objectively better than the other. Most in one path or the other believe it is the right fit for them and that’s the only judgement that really matters.

Owning a business is a lifestyle. Working from home is also a lifestyle. Doing both is a unique way of life that is all the more obvious in its differences around the holiday season. While office workers take a half day on a Friday in December to drink Eggnog and engage in white elephant gifts, the home office entrepreneur will treat it like any other Friday. That’s not to say the entrepreneur might not take the whole day off to spend with their family or make it up in some other way on their terms, but it will be a different experience than the types of bonding moments possible during an office party.

Word Clouds Based On Answers:

As someone who transitioned from working in an office for 16 years to working from home and running their own business, I can tell you that it’s a journey and not an instant fit. Adaption takes time especially at the onset of a business. Without the accountability of someone managing you, you have to create your own rules and have the discipline to hold yourself to them. Along those lines and also to combat the isolation that is universally prevalent in this work lifestyle, I asked 20 event professionals to give me insights into their experiences as work-from-home entrepreneurs. Even though I work in an office on the second floor of my home next to a sleeping cat doesn’t mean I’m not part of a community. You are my community. That’s why I’m sharing my industry friends’ answers to three questions with you today. The only hope we have towards building a stronger community is understanding. I hope this gives you a window into our world.

Facebook Live

Here is a Facebook Live session I had with five event professionals and below that are the answers to the same questions from 20 additional home office working entrepreneurs.

 

3 Questions for 20 Event Pros

JC York – Classic Entertainment / Wise Guys InterACTive

What’s the best part of working from home?

There are actually a couple of items that make it great working from home.

Lack of interruptions. When you need to be able to get work done it’s nice to not have anything or anyone distract you from that.

Convenience. Having the ability to just walk into your office and get work done, no missed time from sitting in traffic, access to your files and being able to work at whatever hour suits you with no restrictions.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Discipline. You have to stay focused (which isn’t always easy) to get work done. There is no one else that will do the work but you, so it’s always there. While working from a home office some of the best parts can easily be turned around and be the biggest challenges: having the ability to do other things (procrastination) because you are at home. Work is never truly done, since your office is just steps away. Hard to not always constantly work or work late or even throughout the night. Setting boundaries of when work time starts and finishes and finding personnel time.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

I’m most looking forward to continue the successful year that I had this year. Keep the momentum up, have a better plan and execute to a higher degree. Also transforming our branding of our 2 companies to showcase what we can really offer. Personally, I’m looking forward to taking a real vacation…No Work during that time.


Kimberly Beaune – Creative Twist Inc.

What’s the best part of working from home?

The commute is excellent! The time saved is very valuable. I can take a break from my desk and grab a snack or do laundry as required.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Keeping myself motivated and accountable. The draw of the rest of the house is sometimes hard to resist when I need to stay focused. Other times because I am alone I realize that I have been going for 6hrs straight and I haven’t eaten or had a second cup of coffee. I miss having other people to brainstorm with or just chat with to recharge.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

Continuing to build on the momentum of the last 8 months. Things are starting to fall into place and I want to carefully but boldly continue to move forward and grow.


Anita Belle – AJB Events

What’s the best part of working from home?

The best part of working from home is the flexibility it offers me. I can schedule meetings, site visits, conference calls, etc. around my work and life schedule. I also get to be in PJs all day if I want 🙂

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

The biggest challenge from a home office, is I am home. I find myself distracted from life situations, like the laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning. I don’t take a real lunch break, which I would do from a physical office. I also find that I play music or put the TV on as background noise, which is distracting, but it is too quiet alone at home, the lack of office chatter is disarming at times. I believe I work more efficiently with a little hustle and bustle around me.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

2018 will bring me into my 3rd year of business as an independent event planner. I am going into 2018 with a clear goal and focus on my business. I had wonderful personal accomplishments in 2017 with my family. 2018 I plan to have a laser focus on my business growth and place in the market! I plan to take a few days a week to work in a co-working space, to see if that increases my productivity and focus.


Kate Patay – Patay Consulting

What’s the best part of working from home?

Flexibility with your schedule!

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

The pressure you put on yourself to take care of household tasks since you’re in your home, even though you should be working.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

In 2018 I’m most looking forward to the travel – I have some amazing speaking engagements that are thought provoking and I’m working to shake up some conferences to be more forward thinking and engaging for #EventProfs


Mike Hurley – Mike Hurley Photography

What’s the best part of working from home?

The best part for me is having the flexibility to create my own schedule.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

The biggest challenge for me is not having a dedicated space to meet with clients. Needing to spend time driving to a different location, (ie. Starbucks or Panera)

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?
Growing my client base and exploring a niche where I can provide the most value to clients.


Kathy Piech-Lukas – Your Dream Day

What’s the best part of working from home?

I never have to worry about a daily commute to my office that is more than 20 steps away.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

My kitten thinks my job is to entertain her all day long instead of planning events and posting social media for clients. She is my ‘unpaid assistant.’

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

I am excited about adding kpl consulting to my portfolio of services. It will offer marketing, public relations, social media management and event planning to corporate clients and small businesses. KPL will no longer just work with stressed out women in white dresses!


Shawn Barrie – evntdsgn

What’s the best part of working from home?

Commute, Parking Costs and Dog Friendly!

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Staying focused on ‘work’ and not housework, laundry, etc.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

Having just launching my company I am really excited to grow and learn new things from all of the great industry experts I have had the privilege of knowing so far and the ones I am sure I will meet in ’18.


Becka Page – BPM Entertainment

What’s the best part of working from home?

The flexibility of my schedule. And jammies.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

I feel it can make me less social and more introverted.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

Getting married!! Professionally, having more entertainers to do events, focusing on managing, and just DJing weddings personally.


Andrew Larris – The 01 Music

What’s the best part of working from home?

The commute, there’s never any traffic

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

The bookends of the day… Most folks have a commute to an office somewhere, that’s their opening bookend, it gets their mind prepared in a ritualistic sense. The closing bookend is the commute home to prepare and switch back to ‘home mode’.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

Consistent and sustained growth at a reasonable rate and also this really killer new entertainment concept we’re launching soon!!


Yvette Audrain – Simply Mox

What’s the best part of working from home?

The flexibility that it offers. If I need to address something personal, it is a quick pause and then I can get back to work.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

It can be very challenging to turn it off, since all the tools are right there at hand.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

I have implemented some new and structural procedures that should help to address time management challenges and make me more efficient.


Samme Allen – Sequoia Partnership

What’s the best part of working from home?

The flexibility to work to your own agenda. I’ve never been a 9-5 person hence why I love this industry! Working from home allows me to be hugely productive and focused.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

The biggest challenge for me is that I’m in an industry where face to face is our life, so loneliness is my nemesis. Going straight from work to home makes transitioning and winding down from the day very challenging. Interaction with people, not via Skype or social but in person is my life blood so it’s important to try and find the balance.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

It will be year 3 of my business. We’ve launched a brand new tool in the market for venues and we hope to see our clients use it and become more successful! I also hope to spend more time with my business partner who is based in Amsterdam. Personally I continue on my quest to improve my health and mental wellbeing and spending more time with family!


Rebecca Taylor – rwt designs

What’s the best part of working from home?

For me it’s not spending at least 2 hours a day commuting into the city. It’s getting my time back and using my time the best way I see fit. Also picking the projects that I see where I would fit best.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Having the discipline to keep yourself working. Even though I am at home I find it best to keep a somewhat scheduled day.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

More growth in my little company.


Angel Carter – Ready VIP • Weddings and Events

What’s the best part of working from home?

I love the flexibility of working from home. If I want to rearrange my schedule to make time for my family’s important events or needs, I’m able to. Of course the reduced overhead of not having to pay for a brick and mortar store is also a huge benefit!

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Educating clients and vendors that having that flexibility doesn’t mean that I am available 24-7 and it doesn’t mean to friends and family that I am not working just because I’m home. Yes, I can go to lunch without someone watching when I clock in and out, but I can’t go off shopping and lunch when I have work to do.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

Professionally I am looking forward to implementing some of the changes I have learned about this year through various business mentorships to grow my company


Megan Powers – Powers of Marketing

What’s the best part of working from home?

The flexibility is the absolute best part of working from home. Being able to do everything on my own schedule and pace are key to my happiness and success!

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Not having an ‘IT department’ to rely upon when I have technical challenges is tough. I’m on my own when things go wrong!

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

In 2018 I hope for more speaking engagements on technology, communication, & marketing, and I hope to add a new client or two. I’ll also be taking a BIG vacation, so I’m very much looking forward to that!


Alex Ramirez – Mariachi Amor

Photo by www.JulieWilhite.com

What’s the best part of working from home?

You get to create your working hours.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Self-discipline and focus on work.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

Adding custom songs as an add-on for my business.

 


Brenda Pottinger – Pottinger Photography

What’s the best part of working from home?

Pjs and Spotify.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Separating work and life.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

A great year.


Carl Jones – The Fruit Carver

What’s the best part of working from home?

Freedom.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Distractions.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

More fruit carving gigs!


Chelsea Roy – Everything But The Ring

What’s the best part of working from home?

Having the freedom to (mostly) create my own schedule- I can put in more hours one day to be able to run errands and meet with friends or colleagues on another. I’m also able to take care of household matters more flexibly like bank appointments, car maintenance, contractors, utility companies, etc. while my husband works in an office and is bound by only having a lunch hour.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Not having a social and support system throughout the day. You don’t realize how much of an impact just talking to and being around other people is until you realize you haven’t left the house in 3 days! It can get lonely and as a solopreneur- we’re our own worst critics so not having outside interaction and support can make the physical and psychological walls seem even smaller sometimes. Successes feel less celebrated, and failures can feel more compounded.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

I think 2018 is going to be a year of renewal for me and my company. Harvey hit Houston hard and there’s a new chapter beginning for all of us in every sense of the word. I’m feeling it- and curious to see what it will bring!


Melanie Goodwin – Melanie Goodwin Creative

What’s the best part of working from home?

The time I save commuting and not having to get dressed up is time I can recapture for my business or for self care.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Distractions. It’s very difficult to ignore pets that want to play, laundry that needs to be folded, and a warm bed begging you to stay in it for just one more hour.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

Growing my business and traveling more (while working remotely.)


Lastly, see how Rick Turner answers these questions as both a team member working for a firm remotely who also owns businesses.

Rick Turner – Extraordinary Events

What’s the best part of working from home?

While the common response is most likely ‘flexibility’, I enjoy the increased responsibility. Working from home has allowed me to add additional tasks that would usually be handled by admin or support staff.

What’s the biggest challenge that comes from a home office environment?

Interaction. I look forward to in person meetings, networking events and the occasional trip to a place that offers wi-fi and other people. Cabin fever can be daunting.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2018 (professionally and/or personally)?

2018 will be filled with thrilling events and exciting travel opportunities. Working for an agency that produces programs all over the globe is a dream come true. By 2019 I’ll have fewer blank pages in my Passport!

No surprise, most have very similar responses to these questions even though they all have very different businesses. If you work in a more traditional office setting, I hope you’ve gained an appreciation for a different perspective after reading this. If you also work at home, I hope you can find solace that your experiences aren’t unique. We can all gain from a better understanding of our community, regardless if you share walls with them or not.

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