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Working from home has great benefits — flexibility in working hours, more time with family, no stressful commute amongst other things; but it also has its challenges and many writers underestimate the adjustment needed in order to have a happy and healthy work-from-home life. In today's interview, I discuss the pros and cons with Amanda Brown, The Homepreneur, and we both give some tips from years of our own experience.
In the intro, The HotSheet reports on cashflow issues with some traditional publishers and the IBPA notes that publishers should be diversifying their sales channels, echoing my soapbox of multiple streams of income 🙂 The ALLi blog shares data from The FutureBook conference including, “There are big differences between the UK and US markets. US price points are higher. Book sales sustain over a longer period in the UK. And the big 5 have only half the market share in the US they do in the UK.' Plus, James Daunt says Barnes & Noble must “rip out the boring.” [Publishing Perspectives].
In my personal update, I give an update on Audio for Authors: Audiobooks, Podcasting and Voice Technologies, now available for pre-order, coming 10 Feb 2020.
Today's podcast sponsor is Findaway Voices, which gives you access to the world's largest network of audiobook sellers and everything you need to create and sell professional audiobooks. Take back your freedom. Choose your price, choose how you sell, choose how you distribute audio. Check it out at FindawayVoices.com.
Amanda Brown is the author of Homepreneur: How to Overcome the Challenges of Running a Home-Based Business for Optimal Work-Life Balance. She has worked from home for over 20 years as a small business strategist, having previously worked in accountancy and banking.
You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript below.
- Advantages and disadvantages of working from home
- Tips for finding community on and off line
- Creating a healthy working space at home
- Making exercise a priority to stay healthy working from home
- Tips on accounting software and practices
You can find Amanda Brown at Homepreneur.co and on Twitter @Amanda_Brown
Transcript of Interview with Amanda Brown
Joanna Penn: Amanda Brown is the author of Homepreneur: How to Overcome the Challenges of Running a Home-Based Business for Optimal Work-Life Balance. She has worked from home for over 20 years as a small business strategist, having previously worked in accountancy and banking.
Amanda Brown: Hi Joanna. Thank you so much for inviting me on your wonderful show. It's a real honor to be here.
Joanna Penn: We've got a lot to learn from you.
Let's just start out by telling us a bit more about your background and how you got into being a homepreneur.
Amanda Brown: Well, as you so rightly said, I had like you had, a corporate career.
I spent 14 years in the city of London in the finance field, and I really enjoyed it. I had a great time. It was very sociable. I learned an awful lot. I put the knowledge that I’d acquired from my degrees into practice, and I was one of the first women investment managers in the city of London. So you can tell it was quite a long time ago, which it was great.
And actually, I know this is slightly off-topic, but, in fact, I was treated really well. Lots of women hit that glass ceiling, but I don't think they’d invented the glass ceiling back then. So, I really enjoyed my time there.
But I decided in my mid-thirties, quite late then, to have children, to start a family. And in those days when you were in a corporate career, particularly in the city, it was very hard to find childcare. There wasn't the availability of nursery. Certainly there were no workplace nurseries and childminding was in its early infancy.
So, because I'd worked for quite a long time, I was really intentional about having these children, and I was in a position where I wanted to stay at home and look after them.
Leaving my corporate career was a really difficult decision because I wasn't giving it up because I didn't enjoy it. I was giving it up because as somebody told me the other week, you can have everything, but you can't always have everything all the time. And I took that on board and I thought, actually, that's really good advice because I really wanted to spend time with my children.
Unfortunately, later on, while I was working from home, I became a single parent and that was another issue. So it was quite a change being at home. But then I decided that I wanted to do some work. And in the last 10 years, I have been a business consultant to many businesses, mainly looking at strategy, in particular, online marketing strategy.
I do lots of training, I do lots of consultancy, and I manage people's social media accounts and write their website copy for them. And the longest standing client I have is nine and a half years. It’s been a long time, which is great.
The development of the Homepreneur brand came about as a result of my love for writing. Like so many of your listeners, either fiction or nonfiction writers, I joined a writing group, I suppose about five or six years ago, and really enjoyed it because I wanted to start a blog. My corporate writing was obviously quite formal, and I needed to find a style that was much more conversational, was much more engaging.
I went to a writing evening class, which folded and five of us decided we'd write together. So we have been meeting up for the last five years, every two weeks in each other's homes to write fiction. We love that. It's great.
Homepreneur is a blog with advice and tips and tricks on how to run a home-based business. 18 months ago I decided to write a book and that came out back in July, and I'm in the process of writing another book, The Homepreneur Marketing Guide.
Joanna Penn: So what's interesting, I think is, I had exactly the same thing, a similar sort of corporate thing. When I started blogging, my voice was, as you were saying, businessy. It didn't have any conversational tone. Blogging is fantastic for getting into a less formal way of writing, of course. So I totally agree with you on that.
Let's talk about the pros and cons of working from home, because I know many people listening might already work from home. But working from home is often something that people want to do because it gives you more choices, for example, childcare.
I am happily child-free. I just get to go to my yoga classes or go for a walk and working when you are ready to work as opposed to being stuck on someone else's schedule.
What are some of the benefits that you have seen from working from home?
Obviously, you could've gone back because your children I presume are now older.
Amanda Brown: I think because when I became a single parent, my children were only ten and eight. And so actually working from home was really important for me because it meant for the next ten years while they were still in education, I could drop them off at school, pick them up afterward.
They were old enough that if I needed to do work when they were at home, they understood, Mummy has to go off and do an hour of work. They were quite happy to play with one another. So actually it worked out really well.
I think being in a couple is obviously much easier when you can share those childcare responsibilities. But I think the main benefits of working from home are about really choosing the profitable work that you love. It's about being in control. It's about being intentional and positive about the level of control that you have, being confident about it.
You can design your working day and you can design your environment. And I know from having done a survey that people think that they need to have loads of space to work from home when actually most of us are working behind a computer on a laptop. We can pick that up and go and work anywhere in our home.
It means you can have a dedicated corner of your sitting room or your bedroom. I don't advise working in bed very bad for you that.
Joanna Penn: I know a lot of writers who do work in bed though.
Amanda Brown: Do they? Beds are for sleeping and for other things, and not for work. It's much better if you work at your kitchen table. Loads of people in my survey wanted to build a shed. The economics of building a shed. I think the thing was more about, you know, nesting in a shed.
Joanna Penn: I have to mention there travel writer Alastair Humphreys, who's been on the show a number of times, has a shed in his garden, which is his writing shed.
And there's the shed porn website, which I know many writers enjoy.
[Note from Joanna: It's actually Cabin Porn!]
Amanda Brown: Sheds are a big thing, aren't they? I have to stop myself doing things like that. I just work out the economics of it and I decide that actually, I'm very fortunate. I do have a nice office down here with a view of the countryside outside.
So the one thing is about deciding how to connect and how to control your working day as well.
A writer is very much on their own schedule, unless they've got a deadline to hit. But for a lot of people who work from home, they are working office hours because their clients are working office hours.
If you're thinking that working from home is going to allow you to maybe work in the evenings, I have a feeling that a lot of people stick to the office hour day and there's sense in that really, because actually the rhythm of the day is very important to the way our minds and our bodies work.
Joanna Penn: I definitely agree with the rhythm of a day. And I think we all have a rhythm. We're both in the UK but for those with clients in America they might, in the morning, that may be where they go to the gym or do other things, and then they start work when America is up. A lot of people who work from home might be location independent.
I think in this global world, you can have clients at different time zones.
Amanda Brown: Absolutely. Yes, definitely.
But play to your chronotype, that time of day when you work best. Most people are typically bears; they like to get up when the sun rises. Well, probably after the sun rises in the middle of summer in the Northern hemisphere and are usually better in the morning. And then you get these people who are a true night owls, but they make up a very small percentage of the population, and that do work to the time that you feel best. And that is one of the advantages of working from home.
Joanna Penn: Definitely.
What are some of the drawbacks? Because it's not all roses, is it?
Amanda Brown: Definitely not. I think the first thing to consider, and I've pulled out five things here, but the first one is the fact that you are head of all departments when you work from home.
Now, writing is a quite a simple business model, but if you're doing something else where maybe you've developed an online course or you're doing consulting, or you're combining your writing, maybe with some tutoring, you're going to have to do some marketing. You have to do the finances, you're maybe going to have to get to grips with technology.
You have to wear lots of different hats. I think that is one of the shocks. When I first left the corporate world, I was really surprised at how many different things I had to learn. It wasn't just being a business consultant. I also had to learn an awful lot of other things. And learning can be seductive, but it can also be terrifying.
Some people will avoid learning things and employ other people to do that difficult task. And then other people, a bit like me, get seduced by learning everything and spending far too much time learning and not enough time getting on with things. So learning is a double edge sword. That would be number one is having to be all heads of all departments.
There are solutions to that. The other thing is about decision making. I think decision making is very difficult when you work from home. As human beings, we have to make something an enormous number, something like 35,000, decisions a day. We're choosing all the time. Are we hot, are we cold? Are we hungry? Are we thirsty? So all these things are going on.
Joanna Penn: This is actually much harder for fiction writers. I get very tired when I write fiction, because you have to make decisions for your characters and you might be making decisions for lots of characters, so people listening, if you get tired writing fiction, this is part of it.
The best thing there is to have systems around your working from home. I just wanted to point out that doing it for characters just compounds the whole thing.
These decisions take up part of your brain, don't they?
Amanda Brown: It is amazing how tiring writing is, and any type of work where you think, well, actually, what have I done? And you feel really physically tired. I think that's the thing. Not only do you feel mentally tired, but you actually feel quite drained. So decision making is very, very difficult on your own.
Because in fact that that is one thing you do leave behind is the benefit of having a team around you when you work in the corporate world.
Joanna Penn: Many of us now have virtual teams, so you can have lots of team members in your publishing team or your online business at home. It's just that they might not be physically there.
Amanda Brown: Exactly. And when I come onto the solutions, I'll talk a little bit about that. And I think you're so right, having those people around you to help you when you find it difficult to make decisions.
If you're making big decisions, again, start them early in the day. Our willpower is much better first thing in the morning. It's like a battery. It drains as the day goes on. The biggest drawback is if you are a workaholic because you will try to work all hours and life gets in the way of that.
It's one thing being a workaholic when you are in the corporate world. You physically have to go home at some point and that can be a difficulty.
And also at the other end of the scale is the procrastinator. So if you are easily seduced by the social media rabbit hole, you'll know what it's like to get onto social media and find an hour's gone by and you've spent all that time commenting on other people's Facebook posts, or you're on LinkedIn searching for people to connect with.
Procrastinators who don't get down to things will find it's worse when there's nobody there to keep you on track or no peer pressure, if you like, that you have in the corporate world.
And then finally, I'd say the fifth one is loneliness, which I think we all suffer from time to time.
Joanna Penn: I think that loneliness was something I was quite surprised about because I am an introvert and many writers are introverts. We naturally think, Oh, well, you're at home alone all day, it's going to be brilliant, but actually, it can make you quite insular and you might lose perspective.
As we talk, earlier this morning, I was at my cafe at 7:00 AM doing my writing and I didn't need to talk to anyone, but just to be surrounded by other people makes a huge difference. I've been writing in libraries and cafes since I started working from home in 2011.
Any tips for getting out of the house and dealing with loneliness, in particular?
Amanda Brown: Yes, definitely. For a lot of people, networking not only provides them with company, and that can be weekly or monthly, and it can be informal or formal.
I write a whole chapter about how to network effectively in the homepreneur book. Networking has become very, very popular. Business networking started with Business Networking International in America, and that has hundreds of thousands of members. But then there are local groups that are set up, which are relatively informal.
If you're looking for networking, just type networking plus your location into Google and up will come local groups that you can go and visit.
Now, networking's not about you being right for the group. It might be that the group is not right for you. So go to a few and see how you get on. We don't always find the right group the first-time round.
The other thing is to search on Meetup. That's the platform, meetup.com. You can find lots of events to go to, both in the day and out of the day. They might not be business-related. You might find a badminton group at 12 o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon. That might be a great way of getting out of the office and meeting people.
There's Eventbrite. That's a good search engine for finding events to go to. We have locally a great way of working as coworking called a jelly. Have you heard of a jelly?
Joanna Penn: No. But I think coworking spaces are pretty common now around the world. I go to one as well sometimes, but it can be quite expensive for many people starting out in working from home. That's why I recommend libraries and cafes for writers.
Amanda Brown: Jellies are free. They’re usually set up by local businesspersons. So we have a jelly, in fact, we've got one tomorrow at a local research institute. We meet in the canteen. It's a combination of work and networking, so that's quite good. That costs nothing at all. And on occasions we meet in the local pub and that's proved very popular.
The other thing is to work from home with someone else. I run a thing called Hoffice, which is a contraction of home and office where once a month people come and work in my kitchen and that's proved very popular. We get much more work done than when we go out because in fact, I run the Pomodoro technique where we work for 50 minutes and I'll have 10 minutes off to chat.
Joanna Penn: actually, that's a good tip because you need procrastination time, you need social media just for fun. And so I think doing the idea that to kind of, right, I need to do this. We'll do this interview and then I can check Instagram.
Amanda Brown: Absolutely. So that Hoffice has been going for about 18 months. Sometimes it might be me and one other person. Sometimes I will have a kitchen of six or seven people and we all work together.
It's a Swedish idea originally, and I was interviewed by the FT and got my picture of my kitchen in the FT. There was an article about working from home and running a Hoffice.
Joanna Penn: Fantastic. For people listening elsewhere, that's the Financial Times. It's a big newspaper in the UK. So that's fantastic.
Another issue that I found, and it's a classic one, is that, because I did work in a corridor in my old flat, I didn't even have another room. But because I was at home all the time, I ended up putting on weight and I also got RSI, repetitive strain injury, within a year of working outside an office. I didn't have the commute. I didn't have people around me.
Years on, I've got healthier physical working practices.
What are some of the ways that people can deal with the physical working space so that so they can maintain good health?
Amanda Brown: I read The Healthy Writer that you co-wrote. I thought it was a really interesting read. The one about the healthy writer.
I have actually bad legs, so I'm probably not always the best person to ask. I have given myself permission, and this is about giving yourself permission, to go to an exercise class during the day.
This is very hard if you’re trying to squeeze a whole working day into school hours. It's very hard to give yourself permission to take that hour, hour and a half off. And maybe also walking in town is not such a joyous thing. So, if like me, you live in a village and you can walk in the countryside, but it's really important to schedule that all that into your week.
Take your children swimming maybe one afternoon after school and that will help you with your fitness. But it is about being very disciplined and working from home does require discipline. I think it requires more discipline as a writer. Because there's nobody there.
There's no clients at the end of the phone or there's no deadline necessarily to meet and it's difficult to be disciplined both with your work and your personal life. So I commiserate.
I like the idea that you mentioned once, which is to drink lots of water, because then you have to get up and stretch and visit the bathroom.
Joanna Penn: That is a good one. And also, I wear an Apple watch now, and it's great because it buzzes. If you've been sitting down, you have to get up and walk around at least once an hour. When you first start wearing it you think I won't ever buzz because I'll obviously be getting up and down, but goodness me sometimes I'm just in the zone and I'm like, what? It's just buzzed again! And it's really, really good.
I agree with you. You have to have schedule exercise. I now use two hours almost every day for physical exercise because it's a huge priority for me. And most of that is in the morning, as you say.
I go and write for a couple of hours and then I go to the gym or yoga or something like that, or go for a walk. It's super important. Otherwise you're just going to burn out.
Amanda Brown: I think burning out is a real issue. I garden because I need sometimes low-level exercise. I need some vitamin D. Obviously in the winter that's a bit of a challenge, but actually you just have to put your coat on your boots on and go and do it. The tendency is to say I'll just do another bit, but sticking to that schedule, write down your schedule.
Write it down on a piece of paper where you can see it. Sometimes putting everything digital, doesn't quite work because you don't have your phone with your schedule on it right in front of you.
Joanna Penn: Funny, this is a generational thing. I think I have my phone with me all times. Plus the Apple watch has my schedule on.
You can be as techy as you like, or you can be as analog as you like. It doesn't matter. We're both saying the same thing, right?
Amanda Brown: Well, it's that, and I'm pretty techie but I've gone back to, for my daily routine, I write it out the night before. I write it out first thing in the morning, and I do have a pretty strict morning routine. I think if you can do that, it sets you up for the rest of the day. So if you flag because you're tired in the afternoon, then at least your morning has been productive.
We don't all get it right all the time, that's for sure.
Joanna Penn: Oh, no, absolutely. But this is also one of the benefits of working from home, I think, is that I often don't know what day is again, because we don't have children and we just never remember what day is what or when the school holidays are or whatever.
But sometimes I might not work on a Tuesday because I want to go do something else, or it's a lovely day and you want to go for a walk. But then I'll end up working on a Sunday, for example.
Or maybe you get sick and, in the past, you might have just forced yourself to go to work because it's not that bad. But now it's like, okay, do you know what? I'm just going to sleep today or rest or read or whatever. So definitely one of the benefits is managing your schedule, but as you say, you have to manage your schedule.
Amanda Brown: Definitely. And I know that procrastination – I don't struggle with it, but I do know a lot of the people who are in my business focus academy, that is what they struggle with. Even if something's going to take five minutes, they will put that particular task off.
Joanna Penn: Definitely. Well, then there's another thing I think around boundaries and this boundaries kind of goes into the same thing.
When I started working from home, my husband was going to a day job. He was leaving the house and commuting so I started doing all the shopping, all the cleaning, all the washing. All the household chores because I was the one at home.
It took a while until I was like, do you know what? I'm also working, why am I doing all of these things? So we got a cleaner and that kind of thing. And I know that people working from home, maybe especially women, that might be too gendered, but there are issues there around boundaries.
How do we deal with boundaries with loved ones if they’re going out to work and we are at home and set expectations around this type of thing?
Amanda Brown: I think that's a very, very difficult one. And I think that definitely I'm feeling guilty about getting a cleaner. It's a false economy not to have somebody to help you around the house because actually you're making the world go around by sharing your income with somebody else.
So I would definitely, particularly if you are not used to having a cleaner, just give yourself permission once again to get somebody to do those chores because it really takes the pressure off. You're not worrying about the fact that the house looks untidy or maybe needs a Hoover or maybe needs a dust.
So that would be number one. And it saves you so much time cause they're going to do it. They do it for a job, they do it quickly.
The other thing is to do online food shopping.
Joanna Penn: Yes!
Amanda Brown: If you're not doing it at the weekend when you might have children in tow. It means that when you do cook, you double up and use the freezer. So do online shopping. That can save you another couple of hours a week.
These things definitely add up. And I think that having that difficult conversation with your partner is really important. Whether it's the man or the woman taking on, the roles, I think.
My children, who are in their late twenties, if they are in permanent relationships, they definitely wouldn't let their partner get away with not pulling their weight when it came to either the household duties or even when they have children, the childcare.
I think this is evolving, Joanna, and I think that the future looks rosy for women who maybe have taken on too many domestic duties and maybe were acting more like their mothers. So these things take a long time to change.
Joanna Penn: We have many listeners in a same-sex relationship, and this isn't just about male and female gender roles. This is also about who leaves the house. To me, that's what it was. It was about the person leaving the house assumes that the person staying in the house is the one that gets to do all of that stuff. And the conversation is more about, look, just because I'm in the house I'm still working.
And also, I know in the early stages, that person in the house, as you say, feels guilty because they might not be earning a lot. But the point is you will continue not to earn a lot if you don't get your work done.
You have to set boundaries before you get successful.
Amanda Brown: You do. And I think this is even harder with writing, because there may be quite a long lead time before that gets finished. Whereas if you're in my field, you can maybe do something slightly different to boost your income and that that's important that you maybe earn your 10 pounds or $10 an hour, that you then give to somebody else to go and do some of those chores.
I think also with being at home is that if you've been on your own all day when your partner comes in, you're going to want to share your day, what's happened in your story or where you've got to in your nonfiction writing. You're going to want to gabble away to a person who's probably just done an hour’s commute or spent all day in meetings, has been bombarded with emails.
And they actually don't really want to listen to what you've got to say. They want to go and sit in a dark room with a gin and tonic or a cup of tea and just zone out. So maybe picking your time when you talk about any issues you might have around how you divide up these chores, is a good idea.
Pick your time wisely when they are definitely chilled out.
Joanna Penn: Absolutely. And also, I say this is another really important reason to have a network of friends and yes, it takes time, but that chatting away is important. Oh my goodness, I just want to talk to a human. You need to do that with someone else generally, during the day. So definitely well-worth trying to build that network.
You did mention money there and you obviously come from a background in finance. And one of the other problems for about working from home is cashflow.
I often feel like one of the reasons why many businesses fall apart is cashflow. Most people listening do not have a full-time business as an author, but they might be in the early stages of thinking about it, or maybe transitioning.
What are your thoughts around money management?
Amanda Brown: I think that there's a lot of advice out there which suggests that you need to have a cushion. And the advice sort of says you need three month's worth of expenses. I think that is over-optimistic. I think that if you're considering transitioning away from the corporate world or leaving a job, you really do need to think about maybe having six months put away somewhere.
Planning the transition from full-time work, maybe to part-time work and then to full-time writing or working from home in some other creative field. It does take consideration unless of course, you can rely on maybe your partner's income.
And actually one thing I heard, one piece of advice I rather liked, was to go around your house or your flat or look for all the things you no longer use. Are there things in your cupboards that you could possibly sell either online or maybe offline or put it up on a Facebook marketplace? Maybe try and go through your precious belongings and build up a fund that way. And I thought that was quite a good piece of advice. I've got a violin sitting here in the corner that I could actually make a few pounds out of if I went to the trouble of getting rid of it. A lot of us have got a lot of stuff that we could maybe offload.
The other thing is to be frugal. Obviously not making your life miserable, but just thinking about what you spend your money on. How many pairs of black trousers does a girl need?
Joanna Penn: I always recommend that people have a different bank account, even if they haven't set up a business as such, having a different bank account for the writing or whatever it is that’s important to you.
I now use Xero.com for my accounting software.
What do you recommend for accounting software?
Amanda Brown: I use Xero too and I love it. I think that is worth every penny. I also use, because I have lots of expenditure as well, I use a piece of software called receipt bank, which you can find, just search receipt bank.
And what receipt bank does is it saves you all that time of finding and extracting all your receipts and then uploading them or sending them to your bookkeeper or your accountant. It automatically takes the contents of an attachment, which has an invoice on it or a receipt on it and it talks to Xero.
Joanna Penn: You can just email receipts to zero. That's all I do. If you just email PDFs into zero.
Amanda Brown: This extracts photographs and all sorts of other things. It's just a little bit more, because sometimes people will have paper receipts, so it does the whole bang shooting match. So that's how that works, and it is very good.
You can put things like your petrol and all those sorts of things. Your fuel on there as well. So there's, I think Xero or QuickBooks or there's all sorts. FreshBooks. There's lots of different apps. There are lots of different options.
If people are getting paid in multiple currencies and they're all sorts of bank accounts, which are not real bank accounts. They're like their bank account like that can take receipts in multiple currencies without it charging you lots of money. So those so many different financial solutions to your problems nowadays.
Joanna Penn: In fact, that was one of the reasons I moved to Xero because I have multiple currency PayPal accounts, and I can just deal with all of those in Xero. I highly recommend that.
Just on the other thing that I think a lot of people, transitioning from full-time employment to kind of self-employed is tax.
When you get paid, you have to put money aside for tax.
Amanda Brown: Definitely. And the other thing that you should also think about our insurances and pensions, and I would say that this is a very worrying situation, particularly, I don't know about the evidence in the US but certainly in the UK there is an organization called Ipse, which is, for independent professionals and self-employed.
There's a very, very good website if you want financial information, financial guidance. And they have done research to show that of the 4.3 million people [in the UK] who are self-employed — and they will be mainly working from home — do not have adequate, pension provision.
So when you give up your corporate life where you may have had pension contributions taken out of your salary at source and also topped up by your employer, that's something you should consider when you obviously have an income from your homepreneur exploits.
Joanna Penn: I'm so glad you mentioned that, and it's so funny because I hesitate in talking about stuff like this because I know people are at different levels, and when I left my job in 2011 of course I had some pension accounts, pension pots in the various past, but between 2011 and 2015, I did not pay into a pension because I just didn't feel like I was making enough money.
And then, my husband, when he left his job to join the business, the first thing he asked was why do you not have pension accounts? We need to do this. And I think you often feel like, well, I can't do that because I don't have enough money to live on. But even if you open an account and just start putting 10 pounds in, or $10 at least you have it open and then you put a percentage in over time.
Now we put in a lot because I'm aware that I missed a few years and I want to make that up, which is obviously harder. So definitely something to really think about.
Of course everyone listening, it might be in a different country, so we can't say what you should put that in, but every country has some kind of self-managed pension options.
Amanda Brown: Definitely. Most of the websites, like the HMRC website or the websites in the US and also the banks will give you lots of information about where you can find out the most tax-efficient way of saving money.
I'm not a financial advisor. I come from a finance background, but there’s a lot of information out there and it is worthwhile spending a bit of time not burying your head in the sand about it, because it's not going to go away. That's one thing for sure.
Joanna Penn: Unless you die, so you don't want that.
Amanda Brown: And then, then there are other issues that actually it's really important to just tackle it upfront. Saving is just like spending. It's a habit. And if you can put that habit into practice, and as you so rightly say, Joanna at the beginning, start with a small amount. You do not need a financial advisor, although you may wish to get one in order to be able to do this.
There are ways, certainly, in the UK, I guess it's the same in the US where you can do this in a safe way just by doing some research yourself.
Joanna Penn: Absolutely. This has been fantastic.
Where can people find you and everything you do online?
Amanda Brown: You can find the website with lots of advice and tips and tricks. www.homepreneur.co.
You can find the Homepreneur book on Amazon.
You can find me on Twitter, @Amanda_Brown.
Joanna Penn: Indeed, everything in the show notes. Well, thanks so much for your time, Amanda. That was great.
Amanda Brown: Thank you. Lovely to speak to you, Joanna.
PATRICK ODONNELL says
I believe they are very similar.
It takes a lot of discipline to stick to any workout routine, including bodybuilding. The same holds true for writing.
A personal example would be me yesterday. I got up at 5:30 am and was at work in a very high-stress job by 6:45 am. I worked until about 4:10 pm and was stuck in traffic for almost an hour before I made it home.
I got home and packed up my gym bag that was waiting for me at the top of the stairs. I arrived at the gym at about 6:00 pm. I was so tired, I started dozing off in my car, but I kicked myself in the ass and worked out for about 60 minutes.
I was home by about 7:45 pm and had dinner and chatted with my wife. Around 9:00 pm I started writing / editing and finished up around 10:15 pm. After all of that, it was time for bed.
I believe writers who juggle all that is in their lives go through the same types of challenges. Discipline is the only thing that will keep you going when it seems too tough to accomplish what you need to do.
PATRICK O'Donnell says
This comment was supposed to be for the previous article, Writing Tips: What Writers Can Learn From Bodybuilders
I apologize for any inconvenience.
I just love the idea of treating your books as employees 🙂
I’d just like to thank Joanna for all that I’ve gleaned from her so far,and share something.
In September 2016 I published my first non-fiction book (for various reasons I say this was by accident). Shortly afterwards I discovered the Creative Penn.
I’m not an Amazon bestseller but I’ve sold an average of 100-150 paperback copies a month (of that first book) for the last three years and I have also published another five non-fiction books since.
Even though I have had a small steady income from that book for 3 years I have rarely thought of myself as an author.
I have just published my first novel and even then imposter syndrome was lurking.
The point where I decided I was definitely an author was in November.
Just over three months ago I went in for a minor biopsy and ended up needing a catheter. Originally it was only meant to be for two weeks but it ended up being 3 ½ months.
As a hyper child who never grew up I’ve found it a bit restrictive but developed techniques to live with it.
Just over a week ago I had another prostate operation and (although, Thanks to Joanna’s advice, I’m normally never far from one of my sony mp3 recorders) I didn’t think dictation was the best option in a room full of people waiting for serious operations.
As the anesthetist was injecting my spine she apologized for the delay and I said it was fine as I had written over two thousand words in the waiting room.
She asked me what I was writing about and I told her that it was a book on tips for men with catheters to make life more bearable.
That’s the moment I decided I’m an author.
When you feel compelled to use every experience to write books for entertainment and education, that has to be the moment to admit it 🙂
Joanna Penn says
I’m so sorry about the health issues, Ged, but I’m thrilled to hear that you now consider yourself an author!
It is these very human things that resonate with others and that book sound super useful 🙂