No Place Like Home

When I graduated in December, I had to make some decisions about what came next. Justin and I talked it over and decided that we really, really wanted to see where the model horse hobby could take us. I've been working from home for three months now, and most of the time it's fantastic. There are challenges, those days when the studio vibe is off, or when getting out of bed is really, really hard. Here are five things I've learned in my first three months working from home.

1. Set studio hours.
This sounds like a no brainer, but I have several friends who have worked from home full or part time. I've learned from their experience that it's so easy to let work bleed into home time. Setting hours keeps you accountable during your work day and helps build boundaries between work and home life.

My studio hours are from 9-4, with some wiggle room on either end. Sometimes I make it into the studio earlier, but I always knock off at 5. That way I can do some tidying up and start dinner before Justin gets home around 6.

You have to get up, even when the cat is comfy.

2. Treat it like a job.
Once you have studio hours, follow them! Get up, shower, and do whatever you need to do to feel ready to take on the day. Lately, that's been doing my hair, wearing a pair of simple earrings, and putting on my shoes. I don't know what it is, but wearing shoes - even if it's just my knock-off Toms - makes me so much more ready to go. Working in PJs just doesn't cut it - I learned that from my years as a home school student. Oh, and make your bed. Seriously.

If you can have a dedicated studio space, awesome. If not, try to find a way to differentiate the-space-when-it's-work from the-space-when-it's-home. I've found the mental shift to be valuable in keeping my focus.

3. Find your rhythm.
I don't try to be militant about it, because what's the fun of working from home if you can't be flexible? I do try to some things in a certain order; I catch up on email and paperwork while I eat breakfast, then I take a look at what needs to be done today, etc. Having a pattern to follow helps keep my brain on track.

4. Take a lunch (and mean it).
Take a lunch break - and take it away from your studio space. I've found this especially important if the morning has been a struggle. Go sit outside, read a book, eat your sandwich, and don't think about work until you come back down. Set a timer to keep you away from the studio (or remind you to go back to it) if you need to.

5. Don't try to do too many things at once.
When studio hours are in effect, let them be the most important thing. I work in the finished basement of our townhouse, right next to the washer and dryer. The temptation to try to do household chores during studio hours (Oh, this leather needs to dry! I'll just go do some laundry/empty the dishwasher/dust the house) is really strong, but I always ended up frustrated. It's just too hard for me to divide my attention; household chores and studio work alike end up suffering for it.

So there are five things I've learned so far! If you have a hobby business selling tack, painting models, or making props, what have you found most helpful in keeping the studio rolling?


  1. These are great tips. When I was working as a part-time cashier I would try to set studio hours on my days off (which could be 2, 3 or 4 days a week, ugh, retail, haha) but found it really challenging.

    As much as I would love to work on tack/miniatures full time, it's not possible with my current job and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I feel very fortunate to have both though. I do try to commit at least an hour between coming home from work and dinner to orders/sales pieces. I'll give myself tasks to complete within that time frame, and even if it's just a small thing there's still this sense of accomplishment when I get it done. One thing I'm trying to do is to not work on orders during the weekends. I'd like those to be my days off so I can work on personal projects, blog posts, or uh, get out of the house. XD Easier said than done though!

    My biggest distraction is the internet. Checking email/facebook a million times is not very productive, ha!

  2. I am very, very blessed that Justin has the job he does - it's what allows me to explore the opportunities in the hobby! Setting goals for whatever amount of time you have is such a good idea. The mental component to working from home is so important.

    Like you, I avoid working on orders in the weekend. It's the only dedicated time I get with Justin, for one thing, and it's another way to mentally separate work from home even though they're the same physical place. Personal projects are fair game, even if they're hobby related...the barn pieces have been ignored lately!