Running a creative business can be tricky when you're new to working from home. Staying productive and meeting deadlines seems easy at first, but the reality is that it's not.

How to run a successful creative business from home

Since going full-time as a freelance writer back in June 2012, I've enjoyed the luxury of not having to put make-up on daily, dress in boring corporate wear or think of ways to style my hair that didn't offend those in the office.

And yes, that really was a daily occurrence! #corporatelife

While it might be appealing to most to not have to worry about someone checking up on you or having to deal with late bus schedules or public transportation in general, the lack of some of these things are what can be challenging when you work from home. 

These sorts of things force productivity.

If you're accountable to someone on a day to day basis, you have no choice but to get stuff done.

Flip that over to freelancing, running your own business, and working from home — now you're only accountable to you.

Yes, you have clients but they are not going to be following up with you daily or looking over your shoulder.

And this is where the danger lies — particularly if you're a procrastinator or find it difficult to self motivate. 

So, how do you get stuff done and be productive when you don’t have the regulations and discipline that a ‘normal’ job provides? Like this…

7 Productivity Tips For Creative Business Owners

#1: Have a routine

This is pretty obvious but so many people don’t do it. This means that you need to have some sort of form to your day. For me, I schedule chunks of time for specific things into my calendar.

This not only helps with creating a routine, but it also provides me with an idea of what I need to achieve in a day. If you’re not a huge planner, that’s fine, but you still need to get up at the same time every day, eat breakfast or whatever it is you do to start the day.

The beauty of working from home and being a freelancer is that your day can look however you want it to – so create it.

#2: Take a break

This is still something that I struggle with on a daily basis, particularly when I’ve got a large project on the go. I tend to get so caught up that I forget to take a break.

Natalie Sisson, the Suitcase Entrepreneur is a huge advocator of taking regular breaks — breaks away from your actual work area, such as taking a walk outside, maybe going to get your nails done or having a haircut.

Whatever works for you, just make sure you take a large break at some point during your day.

Not only will it help in your productivity, but it will also help in your business – remember, inspiration happens in the most unlikely places and at the most unlikely times.

Take the time out that you need – schedule it in if you have to.

#3: Unplug

When you're finished your work for the day (remember, you need a routine!), walk away from your home office. Shut the door and don’t step back in there again until the next day.Relax to stay productive at home

This also includes making sure that you don’t work all weekend too. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you need to be working 24/7.

Limit yourself to the amount of work you do. Turn your notifications off, don’t answer phone calls after a certain time, that sort of thing.

Give yourself the break you need and spend time with those you love instead. They deserve your undivided attention too.

#4: Aim for minimalism

Create an office space that is minimal in distractions but functions the way you need it to.

If you have too much going on in your office, it can become overwhelming and more difficult to work than it should be.

Keep your work space minimalistic and you’ll see an increase in your overall productivity.

#5: Utilize technology

Are you using the tech around you to the best of its ability?

Did you know that your iPad or tablet can double as another screen? I use mine all the time when I’m writing.

I use my iPad to load up all the research links and then write on my Macbook Air. It works so well and stops me flipping between screens, which can be super annoying to work with on a continuous basis.

Make sure that the tech around you is being used to it’s best advantage. You might also find that you’ve doubled up and can actually get rid of some items as well.

#6: Create systems

Once you’ve got a routine going, you’ll probably notice that you’re doing some things over and over again.Create systems to run a successful creative business from home

Is there a process you can create to help with this?

Create systems to make your work day run smoother.

For me, I utilize programs like Evernote to keep track of all my ideas, projects and client work.

I also use Freshbooks for all my accounting needs and IFTTT to take care of some of the more mundane parts of what I do, like create spreadsheets based on parameters I set, or keeping track of the items in Pocket and Feedly that I ‘star’ as these are obviously important.

#7: Create a content schedule

As a creative business owner, you will find that a large portion of what you do is around creating content – whether that’s for your clients or for yourself.

The best way to manage this and ensure that its going to get done when it needs to be done, is to create a content schedule.

If you use WordPress, I recommend using CoSchedule. You can create a schedule that not only posts blog posts for you, but also manages social media posting, all from the one place.

It’s a great way to quickly see what your month ahead looks like. That way you can plan ahead in terms of writing.

Were these tips helpful? Is productivity an issue for you at home? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


How to run a creative business from home7 strategies for running a successful creative business from home

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Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

    6 replies to "How to Successfully Run a Creative Business From Home"

    • Natalie Sisson

      Thanks Lise for including my tip in there and yes you’re right it’s VERY important. You just have to treat it as a calendar appointment like anything else.

      • Lise Cartwright

        Thanks for all of your tips Natalie! This one really struck a cord for me, which is why I included it here 🙂

    • Chris

      Thanks for these tips Lise, i have another one to add. I have been using, it does what co-schedule does and so much more, for instance i love that i can write and and publish to wordpress right from the app.

      • Lise Cartwright

        Thanks for that Chris, how long have you been using scriblers? Interested to hear more about your experience!


    • Taylor

      My biggest problem at first was implementing set “office hours,” because I’m also a stay-at-home mom. My office is my favorite corner of the couch, and my breaks are spent running errands, changing diapers, stifling pre-naptime meltdowns, etc.

      On the whole, I keep regular hours nowadays–but they’re definitely not the typical 9-to-5 of my friends. I usually work three hours in the morning, two during my kids’ naptime, and two to three before bed (if I’m not exhausted after dinner, haha). I really like your point about making your day the way you need/want it to be. When I first started freelancing, I thought “making my own hours” meant I could literally write whenever I wanted, or not at all, and I quickly realized this just wouldn’t work.

      Of course, I still get non-freelancers assuming I’ve just got tons of time on my hands (till I explain I’ve got the same time as them, just more flexible). And now and then, my husband has to remind me to put the computer away and chill out. Overall, though, I really love freelancing. It’s the best of both worlds–getting to stay home with my kids, while doing what I love and contributing to our income–but it does present challenges I never expected when starting out.

      Also, I think CoSchedule will help me a lot–I have a hard time pacing my work. I never miss deadlines, but that’s because I tend to “binge write” and finish an entire project long before it’s due–which sounds great in theory, but wears me out mentally.

      Thank you for this article! I’ve improved my productivity a lot lately, but it still needs some work.

      • Lise Cartwright

        Hi Taylor, thanks so much for your comment! I can totally relate about non-freelancers assuming that you’ve got lots of time on your hands … just because you choose to do what you love or take a different path, doesn’t mean that you’re not working! In my ‘normal’ job, I was done with my work by midday… but had to stay at work, now I can be done with my freelancing work at midday and then do what I want!

        CoSchedule is awesome! I love how it integrates so well with WordPress, let me know how you go!

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