The ‘SOHO’ BluesPosted: January 24, 2011
‘The SOHO Blues’ Copyright Gaye Crispin 2009-2011
I wasn’t interested in joining a business club or networking group… that was until I’d been working alone from home for a couple of years. It seemed the busier the business became the more isolated I found I was.
I had my business beautifully streamlined with the sales goals, marketing requirements, MYOB/BAS and bills all on target… every week.
Everything was great except I was either spending every waking moment at the computer, attending to a business need, or trying to juggle the usual demands of a busy family life. It seemed I never had any ‘me-time’.
My neat and narrow world was becoming narrower, and when this happens even ordinary problems can seem much bigger than they really are.
The dream job of working from home had a downside. Isolation. And I had developed a serious case of what I call the Small Office/Home Office blues, or ‘The SOHO Blues’.
In 2009 I looked at my situation and decided to tackle the problem in my usual style, head-on. Some might say it’s my only style, but that’s another story.
I knew I needed to invest a couple of hours a week in an ‘out-of-office experience’ to stay fresh.
After tossing around and tossing out a variety of options, joining a business women’s networking group seemed the answer. That’d mean my ‘out-of-office experience’ was business related, which would be just the rationalisation I’d need to avoid the inevitable internal conflict I knew I’d encounter the moment I put my own needs first. After all, I’m a woman. I’m not supposed to put myself first, am I? Or am I?
Next task was to find the right group? I listed quite a few requirements that any group I was to become involved with would have to meet. Some of these were that it would have to respect my own personal space and circumstances, and I like flexibility.
Also, I needed a group with a casual and friendly feel, yet had a well structured and prompt format because I knew I’d have to stick to deadlines if I was going to pull this off.
Plus I needed a group that didn’t apply pressure to members to participate or perform, but instead created opportunities and encouraged participation to the extent desired by the individual – if and when they wished.
Also, I prefer groups rather than crowds, so I wanted a group where I’d feel welcome and comfortable. Big enough to be interesting, but not so big that I’d never recognise a face.
I began googling, found a group that held regular lunches at different locations in Sydney and decided to invest the money and attend…. and I’ve never looked back.
Since that time business networking has become an integral part of my business life, sharing great lunches and dinners with a variety of interesting business women, some of whom work from home, just like me.
You can imagine the type of lively and interesting conversations that are to be had when a champagne specialist, mindset mentor, designer jewellery artist, business strategist, fitness trainer, and travel expert share a table of delicious food in a relaxing atmosphere, followed up by a beautifully decorated fresh fruit platter and coffee. It’s inspiring, stimulating, fascinating and thoroughly refreshing after a week or month in lock-up at the office.
I don’t know what I enjoy more – the company, the food, the conversation, or the fact that I don’t have to do the dishes after the meal.
Business networking turned out to be the perfect solution to my SOHO blues.
My favourite group is She Business Australia where I’ve made good business connections and some very rewarding friendships. Because She Business have quite a few groups operating throughout Sydney, with more opening all the time, there are any number of lunches, member workshops and Sips (morning tea gatherings) to select from when I can spare the time.
So, no matter what’s going on in my busy month now, I know I can manage a little ‘me-time’ somewhere if I need…. or want to. And I don’t have ‘The SOHO Blues’ anymore.
If you work alone, or from home, and find yourself feeling isolated at times, why not do something about it? Join a group, club, gym, or a business networking community. Even signing up for a course at your local community college will breath fresh air into your world.
Perhaps even do some volunteer work. The small amount of time taken out to participate in such a group may just reward you with a new zest, enthusiasm and motivation in other areas of your life, which means you may even become more productive. You’ll never know till you try.
I wish you well.
Copyright 2009 Gaye Crispin
Gaye Crispin is a sales and marketing trainer, artist and writer. By the time Gaye was 25 years old she already owned 3 businesses, including a restaurant and a Solace Window Tinting Franchise.
In 1988 Gaye established a large telemarketing organization in Sydney, which was the first of its kind to market residential investment property to interstate investors over the phone. Her system was so successful and cost-effective that it quickly became the standard throughout the industry, and is still in use today.
She has successfully designed and implemented sales and marketing systems for motor vehicle accessories, art, skin care, health food, advertising, insolvency services, credit management systems, seminars and investment products.
Gaye has a debt collection and credit management agency, and is also the founder of Women On Top Business Planning, a group of individually successful business women who are passionate about helping business owners write powerful business or action plans for their business.