Gideon Bright, founder of North Devon based business dryrobe, who specialise in providing the world’s most advanced change robes, provides insight on motivation and finding spaces to work from home…
My business started out at home, and my working hours were governed by my kids, initially at least. I’d start work after walking them to school and finish when they finished. I liked to stop work, play, and just hang out with them. I’d then read them to sleep before getting back to work.
Starting a business from home
As a surfing fanatic, I was rarely short of passion and commitment towards dryrobe’s trajectory in the early days, and once the appeal for our products became clear that certainly helped, but looking back, I have developed a wider appreciation for how important a strong ‘work’ set-up is from a motivation standpoint.
At first, trying to work in the house simply wasn’t working. I’d never really leave ‘work’ and the laptop was always around in the evenings meaning I’d get tempted back to the ‘urgent’ emails and tasks.
It was hard to switch off from it all and I think there’s a lot to be said in that. Ultimately, no matter how passionate you are about something you have to want to do it, and I needed to find a way to switch off to stop me from falling out of love with the business.
That’s when the garden office, well shed, came into its own. I poured the concrete base, built, insulated and lined it myself. Once the power was hooked up and it was finished, it looked pretty smart and ultimately it allowed me to settle into a routine.
The beauty of quiet
Having a dedicated quiet space that I could organise and manage was transformational, not just for me but for the whole family. I could, for the first time, mentally leave work in the shed and be away from it at home. Home life was better and the business took off. I felt pretty content – I had a strong work-life balance.
The house started filling up with products and parcels and the kids helped to fill postbags, ready for them to be sent out. They really did see the business start to grow around us and after just over a year, I needed more space and some help. My new bookkeeper was happy coming into the shed to work but the 10’ x 8’ space just wasn’t big enough, so eventually, I moved into a serviced office.
When your business grows
My business is all about changing and my life has definitely seen some changes along the way. Fast forward ten years and the business is thriving with the offices now spread across two large interconnected units with twenty staff. I am now being the best dad and partner I could be, working smart, exercising, learning, improving and just trying to live a good life.
When I reflect on my time in the shed, I was reading a lot and the Tim Ferris book, ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ was influential. The work had mirrored the workspace, it was, minimal and focused because it had to be.
That shed provided me with the right physical and mental space that I needed in order to be able to discover the path of taking pride in the process of doing things right. I finally began to understand what my dad was always trying to teach me.
The shed is now where the bikes and mower are stored, but the mindset lives on. When things feel hectic or people get stressed out in the buzzing new office environment, my go-to dad joke is, ‘take me back to the shed, I was happy there.’
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