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Running a home based graphic design business isn't all fun and games. There are some dangers involved.There have been many times when I've told someone what I do for a living, and they've replied that they could never do what I do. I'm not talking about being a graphic designer, although for some people that would be an acceptable reply. What they mean is they could never work from home like I do. Now being the person that I am, I have a hard time imagining how anyone wouldn't want to be their own boss, work their own hours and create their own rules. But the fact is, there are many people who just can't handle the dangers of running a home based graphic design business.
Dangers you ask? Well perhaps “dangers” is a bit too harsh a word. But there are certain aspects of running a home based graphic design business that are too frightening for some.
In this episode of Resourceful Designer, my graphic design podcast to help you run your own business, I cover five “dangers” that anyone thinking of running a home based graphic design business should consider before taking the plunge. Listen to the podcast for the full discussion.
One of the biggest dangers faced by home-based graphic designers is isolation. We live a life of solitude. Designers working at an agency or in a design department at some company have the benefit of social interaction with the people around them. Home based graphic designers on the other hand, spend most of their time alone. You need a strong mental state to combat the stress of isolation, of boredom and possibly fight off the laziness that can manifest itself due to the lack of accountability and supervision.
Home based graphic designers require a willpower to persevere in the absence of social companionship and the ability to self-motivate in the absence of others. Not everyone is capable of doing this.
By the way, if you do experience boredom while waiting for more work to come in, you may want to give my FREE Four Week Marketing Boost a try. Use it to create the best first impression you can and attract more design clients.
In this case, dangers is synonymous with distractions. When running a home based graphic design business you are surrounded by distractions that agency designers don't face. I'm talking about your TV, Your video game console, your fridge and pantry, even unfinished chores from around your home. All these “dangers” can taunt you and lure you away from your work. With nobody watching over you, it would be so easy to turn on Netflix and finish that show you started binge watching on the weekend or go mow the lawn so you won't have to do it on Saturday. Everything that pulls you away from work are environmental dangers.
Once again willpower comes into play. Home based graphic designers must learn how to ignore these distractions or they can lead to the demise of your business.
One of the benefits of running a home-based graphic design business is we get to decide how and when we work. If we don't feel like starting until noon we have that option. As long as we're aware of what we're doing it's ok. The dangers however, are that without the supervision that agency designers have we can sometimes find ourselves overtaxing ourselves which could lead to burnout. It's not unheard of for a home-based graphic designer to get into a “creative zone” and loose track of time. Concentrating so much on the work at hand that he forgets to take breaks, forgets to eat and drink and even forgets to stop at the end of the day.
On the flip side, another danger involving work strategies is the use of social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are great for social interaction but if not used correctly during working hours they can turn into huge time drains that suck the productivity right out of you. Youtube is especially bad for this. You may have a legitimate reason for watching a video during working hours. Perhaps it's a Photoshop tutorial or you're watching review videos for software your thinking of buying. The problem is all the extra content that YouTube throws at you, taunting you to watch “just one more video” until suddenly you realize that a couple of hours has gone by.
Agency designers have people watching over them and don't have to worry about these issues.
Let's get a bit more serious here. Security can be a real danger if you're not careful. You're working from home so it's possible your clients will know where you live. Hopefully, this will never become an issue but it is something to keep in mind. I myself have a mailbox at my local UPS Store I use for work and it's that address on my business cards. If a client wants to meet with me I try to do it at their place or I meet them at a local coffee shop. I rarely share my home address with a client and when I do it's with clients I really trust.
I know a woman that lived by herself and ran a home-based graphic design business. One of her clients mistook her kindness and easy going personality as flirtatious and started stalking her, showing up at her home at all hours of the day. She had to file a restraining order to get him to stop. Now this case was a bit extreme but it just goes to show you that there could be some dangers with working from home.
If you do allow clients into your home be sure your insurance covers any liability should they injure themselves on your property. Some home policies won't cover work-related incidents so check with your insurance agent.
The last topic I want to discuss is your personal well being. Dangers you may want consider before starting a home based graphic design business are the possibilities of you getting hurt while you're home alone. What happens if you fall and hit your head? Or you choke while eating something, or even suffer a stroke or heart attack? For some people, these dangers are the deciding factor preventing them from starting a home based business. At an agency there are people around that could help. But at home they may not be so lucky.
Sorry for finishing on a down note. I started with the word “dangers” more out of jest but I wanted to show to you that there really are some dangers to consider when working from home.
Did I miss anything? I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment and let me know what dangers you considered.
Resource of the week is Audible
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org