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Making the Big Move - from the Spare Room to a Shared Studio

First published on 11/6/2017

My studio/spare room at home
Moving out of my house into a shared studio was one of the best things I did – for my sanity and my business.  It shifted my work-life balance and made everything work much better for me.
Until I gave up my day job it made perfect sense to work from home.  It was cost-efficient and saved me time in commuting.
However once I’d taken the plunge and was doing this thing full-time it became apparent that there were a few massive down-sides to this arrangement.
Firstly, I was lonely as hell.  I live on my own, and I was going for days without seeing anyone.  The lady in the post office really doesn’t count (although by the end of my first month working from home, she knew all about me).  When I did see people I’d do this crazy jabbering thing, talking about a million miles an hour.  It’d take people a good half an hour to get a word in edgeways.  One of my main reasons for keeping the day job for so long was because I know I’d miss having human company!
Secondly, I wasn’t getting any exercise.  At all.  It’s easy to forget about the kind of incidental exercise you get simply by walking around an office, or from your car to your desk, in a day job.  I was literally opening my bedroom door and walking ten steps to my desk.  I’d have a trip to the Post Office most days, but I found a Post Office with parking right outside – those sacks are heavy, and I didn’t fancy lugging them down the street.  I put on so much weight in those first few months.
Thirdly, I was working ALL THE TIME.  Like from 7 or 8am until 10pm every night.  There was no cut off.  And if I did decide to finish at 6pm, it was only too easy to nip back into the studio to look at something, and realise three hours later that I’d accidentally started working again.
Finally, I didn’t have an actual spare room as it was full of my work stuff (the bed had been moved out of there a few years previously to make more space for shelves).  All my immediate family live at least a 2.5 hour drive away, so if they were going to come and see me they’d normally stay over, and I could only offer them the sofa.  Which is less than ideal, really.
It became apparent after about six weeks that my situation wasn’t working, and something had to change.
I’m often asked “when do you know it’s the right time to get a studio?” - I think that anyone asking that question is close to knowing it’s the right time!  If you’ve thought about it, you’ve maybe done a bit of research, and you’re weighing up the pros and cons, then you’re ready to move.

My first little studio space outside of the house
Once I’d made the decision it was pretty straightforward, and I was lucky enough to find a nearby shared studio that was reasonably-priced - I’ve written more about finding the studio space that's right for you here.
Whether it’s to give you extra space, to create separation from work, give yourself a routine, or simply to have some human company, it is a big decision.  But – in my opinion – it’s absolutely worth the hassle of moving everything, coupled with the extra expense of renting another space.  It made me so much more productive.  No more doing the washing up in the middle of the morning, no more friends popping round for an unannounced cup of tea, and absolutely HAVING to get dressed every day!

Are you struggling with knowing when to make the move?  Or have you recently taken the plunge?  I'd love to hear your experiences!