I've been working from home, running my stationery business for almost six months now and I thought it might be a good time to talk about what I've learned so far. I think a lot of people have a certain idea about what it means to work from home and own your own business that isn't completely accurate. I wanted to give you a bit of information about it in case it is something you have considered.

the good and the bad about working from home / owning a business (via Holly Would)
One major plus? Setting up an adorable home office! (via Chic Sprinkles)

Control: When you own your own business, you are in charge. You can take on clients that you want to take on and turn down clients that aren't a good fit. You decide if you want to expand the business, slow down the growth, change your logo, change your website, change your business direction; it's all in your hands. This is good for control freaks (which I tend to be) or people who always dreaded group projects in school (also me). 

Motivation: When you work for yourself, work becomes so much more important to you. Incoming work directly affects your pay. You want your work to be good because it reflects badly on you as a person and a brand if it isn't. Because of this, you also appreciate work so much more. Sometimes working for a corporation doesn't inspire much motivation, as Peter Gibbons explains because you don't feel that what happens to the company directly affects you so you just do what you have to do to get by and go home (but I realize this isn't the case for everyone).

Flexibility: Not a morning person? You can sleep in and work late into the night if you want. Need to take the dog to the vet today? You don't have to worry about telling anyone. Hate wearing heels and dress suits? Wearing makeup? Showering? You get the idea (though I do recommend showering...). When you work from home, you can work in whatever makes you feel most comfortable and productive. All that matters is that you get the work done.


Stress: With having all of the control comes having all of the pressure. If a customer or client is unhappy, there's no one to pass the blame onto: it's on you. If a deadline has to be met, you've got to get it done no matter what. On top of that, you've got to know the in's and out's of every part of the business. You know that commercial where the business owner has to take his computer to the IT department, and the IT guy is the same guy as the business owner, just dressed differently? And then he goes and checks with finance, and it's him again in a different outfit? When you own a business by yourself, you have to wear many hats. Just because you started a photography business because you enjoy photography, for example, doesn't mean you'll be taking pictures all the time. Actually it means you will cherish the moments that you get to just take pictures but the rest of the time is spent doing finances, marketing, IT, customer service, etc. In other words, it's not just fun.

You can't turn it off: One of the main reasons that it's not for everyone is that some people want to completely leave work when they leave the office (makes sense), but when you own your own business, the work is always there. Sure, you can watch TV at night, but that pile of work isn't going to get any smaller. It's quite literally like having your desk and computer at work be with you all the time because chances are if you work from home, your office is always staring you in the face. There's always more work you could be doing and this makes it hard to relax. The flexibility that I mentioned before is true, but the work still has to get done one way or another.

The "respect" factor: To me, this is probably the biggest negative about working from home and owning a business in a creative field. A lot of people do not take it seriously. In my case, people often think that I'm sitting at home playing on the computer making pretty little cards all day and they say "wow that must be nice". While that is partly true, and I feel so blessed to be able to do something that I have a passion for, there is so much more to it than that (as I previously mentioned) and a lot of people don't consider that part. Expect people to think that you have all the time in the world to go shopping, hang out, or even take a trip just because you have a flexible schedule. Worse than that, expect people to say rude things without realizing it. I have seriously had people say varieties of the following things to me:

(After explaining what I do) "So what do you do all day while Wes is at work?" 
"Now that Holly isn't working..."
"So I know you have your little business, but what do you do with all your time?"

I don't want to get on a soapbox about my work ethic, but I have had a lot of jobs. I've worked in retail, office environments, administration, customer service, corporate offices, restaurants...and I have honestly never worked as hard as I work now. I also make more money now than I made at my previous post college jobs, but some people think that I'm just doing a fun hobby, Real Housewives style, and living off of Wes' income. I know it sounds like I'm ranting, but the point I'm trying to get across is that if you want to do something like what I do in a creative industry, you have to develop a thick skin and realize that some people just aren't going to get it, and that's okay. You have to be happy on your own and lose the need to impress people or get their respect.


It's not for everyone: While people like me thrive on the excitement of work and being inspired, some people just want their job to be their job and that's okay! There's nothing wrong with having your job be the thing that makes you money and then having fun when you go home at night or on the weekends. In fact, it's much easier and more secure. I really think that you have to have a certain kind of passionate personality to own your own business. When I was in 2nd grade, I made my own magazines and sold them to kindergartners for 50 cents each. In fourth grade I sold friendship bracelets. From 5th-8th grade I had a babysitting business with a friend of mine that kept me really busy (we put promotional magnets in people's mailboxes and everything). My point is, I think some people just are born with that desire to be their own boss and some people aren't and there's no right or wrong way to be.

I love what I do and I've never been happier. I feel so blessed every day that I get to do something that I'm passionate about. I also feel now that I'm on a career path that can grow into whatever I want it to be. The stress that comes along with it also means that I'm never bored and I love the control and flexibility that I have at work. 

Have you ever thought about starting your own business or working from home? If so, I hope that you found this helpful. Feel free to post any questions below and I'll try my best to answer from the little bit of experience I have! 

and an inappropriate but hilarious cartoon by the oatmeal


  1. I don't know how you do it! I have a hard enough time separating work from life because of my laptop, I can't imagine having the whole office just there all the time!

    It's so inspiring to see your following your dream but I don't doubt that it's a lot of work and pressure to do so. Keep it up!!

  2. Couldn't have hit the nail on the head any better about the "respect" factor. Drives me nuts! But, you just need to keep on going and do what you do best! I enjoyed reading your article; thanks for posting.

  3. I stumbled on your adorable blog and saw my studio office in your post! Thanks so much for sharing my photo, so happy you liked it :) Would you mind crediting the photo to Chic Sprinkles and linking back to my original post? Thank you!

    You can see the whole his + hers studio here: http://www.chicsprinkles.blogspot.com/2012/09/our-new-studio-his-hers-cocos.html

    Sarah xo

    1. Absolutely! Thank you for letting me know - I could not find the original source but I LOVE your office! Like, I'm obsessed. :) Fixing now!

  4. I just finished my two weeks at my "real" job so I can get to my real job. I love this article because it's definitely been my experience in creative work that people think you play for a living. I would add to your thick-skin-advice that you have to teach people that you aren't going to barter or volunteer your work for free. People are always asking me to do stuff for free, but people don't walk into Target and expect to walk out with something free because a friend works there, so you have to learn to creatively answer people that your work is for a price.

  5. Hi Holly, what you say is so true. I think the respect thing can really make you doubt your own professionalism!
    Another point I'd add is isolation. Not having people around to bounce ideas off and just have a morning cup of coffee and chat with can also be very challenging. But it is exciting!



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