By September 8, 2014 Read More →

5 things I can’t work without – business support

5 things I cant work without - Sarah Thornton, Back Room SAMThis is proving to be popular series, with readers getting in touch and offering to share their home working essentials.

We’ve heard about the things a VA and an editor can’t work without, including music and the occasional cup of cold coffee!

Today Sarah Thornton of Back Room SAM (Support, Admin & Marketing) tells us about her 5 essentials, and why her fluffy slippers are always in her bag:

5 things I can’t work without:

1. My Filofax
Despite having an iPhone and various other gadgets, I can’t work without my trusty paper-and-pen method when it comes to my schedule and working through my weekly To Do list. I find it easier to edit than tapping around on a touch screen and it still fits in my handbag. Plus nothing beats the joy and reward of literally ticking a job off when it’s complete!

2. People
When I began running my own business, I knew enough about myself to know I am at my best when I am around other people. A lot of my work is face-to-face with clients whether training or advising, but there is also a good amount of remote work to complete on my own.

So although I have a home office as a base, I regularly work in other places to be around people. Some days I might work in a coffee shop in town, other days I might be on a friend’s dining room table. I also know a few other local business folk who work from home, so sometimes we get together to work.

Something else I like to do is to schedule social meetings with friends and family into my working week. I am (gradually) learning not to feel guilty about doing this, but instead I remember that these are vital times for rejuvenation and refreshment; my motivation and creativity levels are boosted and this helps me be the best I can be for my business and for my clients.

5 things I can't work without - Sarah Thornton in slippers3. Slippers
I’m a bit of a granny in this respect – I just feel so much more comfortable when I’ve got my slippers on. Having cold feet surely can’t be good for anyone’s focus, so even if I’m not at home and I’m going to be working somewhere else for a few hours I take my slippers with me – I live in The North after all!

Some clients can be a bit surprised when they first see me pulling on my fluffy footwear, but usually agree it’s a great idea!

4. Backpack
While running my business I find that I can be out and about a lot. A typical week will involve meeting clients, networking and often packing up my home office to go to work in other places. So this summer I decided to invest in a decent backpack.

It has a special compartment for my laptop and charger and plenty of space for client folders and a large notebook (and, of course, space for my slippers). It looks smart and professional and is even waterproof, which if you’ve ever been to Lancaster you will know is a must!

5. Satnav

I don’t spend hours travelling for work because most of my clients and business contacts are based in the local area, but a satnav still frequently proves invaluable.

Many of those I work with are small businesses, operating from home or maybe a small office outside of the city, so the satnav can be very useful for seeking out clients and arriving at meetings on time and fluster-free.

Like many small businesses it’s common for me to have a several clients on the go at the same time, so my satnav also helpfully lets me save addresses directly onto the device. This makes it much easier to remember where I’m supposed to be going, and frees up time and headspace for more creative things – always a good thing I say!

work from home secrets

Sarah is the owner of Back Room SAM, and provides small businesses in Lancashire with a wide range of practical and effective support. Sarah specialises in marketing and design and also enjoys training.

4 Comments on "5 things I can’t work without – business support"

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  1. Liz says:

    I can definitely relate to the satnav! I wouldn’t have been nearly as adventurous in taking on far-afield clients without it. That and a nearby train station.

    • I’m happy with my road atlas for local destinations, but it’s got to be the train for further afield. I find lots of ideas bubbling up when I’m captive in the Quiet Carriage, and was so pleased when Becky Walsh explained why that I wrote this post – Where to get ideas

  2. Alan says:

    Now I can relate to the backpack, carrying your office everywhere with you, even though I’d probably leave my slippers at home. Then again what do I know, I’m the guy who carries dog biscuits in his!

    • I love how working from home allows us to be as quirky as we want, and it’s great how Sarah is taking this out with her to her clients. And I’m looking forward to hearing more from Alan soon, as there’s a new addition to his family who will be interested in those dog biscuits…