On a recent trip to Tbilisi, Georgia, over a cup of Turkish coffee, a friend of mine asked what I did for a living? that is how I make my living. Do I work regular hours? Does it matter if I work 1, 3 or 10 hours a day? What does it feel like to have a nomadic office – lifestyle? do I get bored working on my own and so forth…
So here it is – minding my own business and a personal philosophy of working on my own.
Firstly, the lifestyle, versus… everything else is my dream and for me, the lifestyle is about having the freedom from the conventional 9 to 5 environment. That is not to say that I don’t have to work on maintaining that lifestyle, but whatever I do having that kind of freedom is my first and foremost dream.
Second… I have never really planned on having any particular career… in fact, even when I thought I’d planned they were still accidental. Every choice I have made in the professional life somehow happened for me, how cliche, but true. So when someone asks what I do, it is quite a challenge to answer.
OK here it is, what I do, how I do and How do I measure the success or the failure from what I do?
It starts in my studio – workspace
Firstly, working from home sounds nomadic, hip, people typing away on the laptops in between spare bedroom and a cafe has become a cool factor… hmm, not really, it does not quite work for me, I tried, but it did not work, so in the past 8 out of 9 years of working for myself, I work from a dedicated studio space which is located in our home, the studio looks rather grown up, with strictly no laptops and beanbags! It has a telephone line, a retro desk, goals sheets, plants, sticky notes and the books.
We moved 3 times in the last 7 years and having the space big enough to accommodate my and Alan’s work studios has always been a priority. Working from home is also a choice. I have tried to work from a beautiful workspace outside of the home but soon realized I’d spend more time still working from home instead of going into the office, so now I don’t pretend I need to have a working space outside my primary adobe.
My philosophy is that us, humans were not designed to always work remotely, commute for hours and spend most of the time outside the home. At one time if you were a farmer, you worked and lived in the farmhouse. If you were a tradesman you had a shop downstairs and lived upstairs. So for me working and living under the same roof is how I should be living/working.
What do I do?
That is more tricky to answer because I do different things and all of them happened accidentally.
There is my consulting business, Socrates Bike
This is the business that generates the most revenue, and this is the business that I do not advertise, I don’t even have a “proper” website for it and it is the business that keeps happening accidentally. It actually sounds rather strange when I say it outloud.
But it had a beginning.
I happen to be somehow curious… I’ve always taken interest in what was happening in the world of the web and the various industries. It has always been interesting for me to find ways how certain industries could grow. I have also found it easy to share what I knew to others. It was not strictly intentional, but that led into attracting a circle of micro-clientele to help grow their businesses through the web. I say micro-clientele because there is a limit how many clients I can service. I don’t employ juniors, hence I can only service a handful every year.
There is our salon business, Salon Punk
This is a brainchild of my husband and I manage our salon business hands on.
There is a shop that sells Alan’s books, courses, and business manuals.
There are also live events for artisan salon owners that need organizing.
There is a project Think Outside Salon Box – which does not make money, but it is a cool little project I simply enjoy running.
There is a salon blog that gets published regularly. I don’t always write articles myself, but I write quite a lot about the ways artisan beauty and hair salon businesses can grow.
And there is my yoga business, Yoga Business Academy
I started consulting yoga businesses in 2009. It has always been my favorite business to run, but frankly, it also gets least of my attentions these days. That is not because my love for the yoga market has slowed down, quite the opposite, but frankly, I have always struggled to work with yogis for whom business, marketing, and yoga would not mix.
And my husband’s writing business, Alan Forrest Smith
This is my primary and most favorite project. Alan Forrest Smith – the writer project.
There are speaking engagements to organize
There is publicity to manage
There are writings to be compiled and shared with the public, from short stories to novels, philosophical writing, and poetry
There are projects about screenwriting, filming, interviews
There are translation work that needs to be managed
There are writers events, and retreats that need organizing.
This is my most exciting project to be managing and something I intend to move more a full time as I slow down on my consulting work.
And there is an extra… our real estate business
My micro real estate business is in Tbilisi, Georgie and it is purely accidental, again… we started with renovating my old and quite a derelict studio apartment that I inherited from my grandfather. I then invested cash from my consulting business to buying another apartment next door. We then bought another apartment next door, and another apartment in the same courtyard. We then spent an entire year renovating the apartments, eventually opening the doors to people who have been enjoying our space since 2013.
It is by no means a major part of our business, and frankly, if it was not for my mother, who is able to manage the properties, I simply would not be able to do anything from England. But it gives me and Alan a lot of pleasure knowing that we managed to transform derelict buildings into something people love, beautifies the community area and sends business to other local businesses in the community.
What I say no to…
I say no to a lot of things… slowly I say no to consulting work, they are strictly for people who arrive through referrals, and exclusively through Alan’s direct response marketing business Orange Beetle, one-off projects, anything that takes a lot of time from my day I say no to. Yes, it is sometimes a challenge to say no to a paid work, but these days I prioritize our own businesses, our dreams, and our future projects.
There you go, everything about what I do, but before I go there is one thing…
I love the idea of letting things unfold. Everything is open to change. Everything is about to change.
There is a pleasure in doing things yourself and doing it right.
Money is not everything, but that is not to say I am against it. I love nice things in life, and my most precious “thing” is time. Time has to be paid for. Free time has to be paid for. Freedom has a cost that has to be paid for. And sometimes it is a challenge. There are days that have bumps and hurdles, but learning how to navigate through those hurdles is part of the fun. Not everything I have tried worked out, but I am always happy I have tried, and when things work out, everything is worthwhile.
It’s a long rumble about minding my business so thank you for reading this far 🙂
Enjoy your day