Last week was my final week as a Solicitor. Did I feel good?
After 12 years it felt brilliant to finally stop being an in-house lawyer and start running my own business – a decluttering service business (see decluttrme.com) It also feels good to say I am an entrepreneur, owner and even Managing Director (as it states on the trade licence and my business cards – slightly knobbish I know but hey it was offered to me). I am excited, scared and thinking as I type of how to get more clients.
I have faith that this is a great idea but it is a new concept in the UAE and it is a service that people have to get used to. Also you have the trepidation from potential clients to let you into their house and clutter. No one would want a stranger into your house to see the clutter and tell you that you need to change your space. There may be images of me coming in and just throwing everything away into a big bin bag, but the reality is different. Decluttr Me is about organizing your belongings into a neat easily accessible manner for future use. The bin bags will be used mainly for out of date food and torn underwear.
After years of helping corporations, I now have a chance to help people in a way that can change their lives even if it is in a small way. Also the items that are cleared away will be sold and their proceeds donated to worthwhile charities, or if they are not sellable items, provided to clothes banks for recyclable use. I am still undecided on which main charities to assist. I would like to help a woman’s charity in the UAE and a charity in Kenya (where my family are originally from). I have been in touch with Dar Al Ber Woman Affairs Dept and hope to liaise with them for Decluttr Me and also to volunteer as well. If you have contacts with worthwhile charities in both countries please let me know.
Starting this week as a full time business owner, I have been working in my apartment in my home office, which I formed over the last few weeks (see the picture with kitty included, the kitty does not want to leave my office…ever).
I had been warned by friends, who are freelancers, of the perils of working alone and they weren’t wrong. The issues I have faced so far include:
– Munching on chocolates, cookies (from Ben’s cookies – bloody tempting), salt n’ vinegar crisps;
– Making lots of cups of tea (not normal for me) and a big cooked lunch;
– My two lovely cats sitting on my chair, desk, keyboard, blocking the screen and generally getting in the way;
– No one to talk to except the cats
– Distractions of new TV to watch – I had to start this home office the week of new TV coming out. The Ultimate Airport Dubai was very good by the way.
– The balcony is a few feet away to have various breaks;
– Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook easily distract me, but to be fair they are mainly accessed for Decluttr purposes (honest!).
Working at home you have to be strict with yourself. I am continuing to wake up at 7am every morning, however I will start dressing up as if I am going out to work, as wearing my slob clothes doesn’t inspire the work juices. I also have to stop the snack food and breaks. My friend wisely advised that you need a break and not to work 7 days a week. I hope to follow that advise and also not work in the evening as well. I do need a distraction from myself every so often so my social media viewings will be allowed.
I also think that it is a good idea to get out even if it’s to a coffee shop to work for a bit. There are places I have read where freelancers and entrepreneurs hang out during the day. I have been to one or two places and the clientele have annoyed me with their superiority complexes. The corporate side of me is not a fan of bs chat and behavior so it will be hard for me to summon the willpower to go to these “hubs”. I should try them out as they might not be that bad now…
One or two places I will be trying include the Archive in Safe Park, which was expensive but had great coffee and atmosphere, Bastakiya (as it is my favourite place in Dubai) and the coffee shops in Motor City (as MC is near me). I will be giving my review of these places and business hubs so that other newbie freelancers and entrepreneurs have an idea of where to go when they want to work outside home.
For now, I have to take a break from working and watch TV.