Here is our second episode of the Side Hustle Success Podcast where me and my co-host Kevin Taylor talk about working environments. Should you work from home, an office or anywhere else?
If you like the show, then please to leave a rating on iTunes of YouTube and please subscribe. This show will be released every two weeks on a Thursday.
In this episode Steve and Kevin talk about working environments, work from home, coworking, digital nomads, and hiring offices.
Stephen’s Courses at Pluralsight
Stephens Books on Amazon
Steves Recommendation : Documentary called Minimalism
The Minimalists blog and podcast
Kevin’s Recommendation: The Four Hour Work Week
Tim Ferriss Blog – Author of 4 hour workweek
4 Hour Work Week on Amazon.co.uk
4 Hour Work Week on Amazon.com
If you want to read the show transcript as opposed to listen, then the full transcript is below.
Stephen Haunts: I used to find that with working from home, it’s a real chore to even get dressed some days.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Thankfully, we are recording this in an office and fully clothed, or so we’re telling you.
Stephen Haunts: In this episode, we’ll be talking about working environments for anyone who has taken the big step to work for themselves already. So Kevin, how’s it been since we last recorded our episode?
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I’ve been busy on the new version of the Steel Beam Calculator, which I discussed in the last episode. I’m having a few customer issue teething problems. For example, when people have passwords with their SaaS products, obviously because we’ve launched a new version, people quite often have a password they had from like five years ago saved in their browsers. So had a few issues there with people’s passwords not working. We’re sort of gradually getting through that. Also, [Manos 00:01:17], who does our email support, is holiday this week. He’s been doing some bits, but obviously it’s been a bit limited, so I’ve been doing more email support. Also, because we’ve been busy on the new product, I haven’t done as much consultancy work as I would’ve liked. I’m doing a little bit more of that this week, catching up. What have you been up to, Steve?
Stephen Haunts: I’ve been quite busy recently. I’m currently about halfway through building a new course for Pluralsights, which is going really well. I’ve just got another module submitted this week before I’ll go on holiday, which is great. But I’m also working on a book for a fairly large publisher called Apress. It’s a company that builds textbooks for software developers and computer programmers. I’ve been working on that book since October last year. I seem to have now got to their magic trigger points with completeness, because they seem to have assigned a team to the book now.
Kevin Taylor: Wow. A whole team?
Stephen Haunts: So there’s lots of stuff happening behind the scenes. So that’s going really good. Got another chapter for that sent off this week as a first draft. It’s all going really well.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, that’s good.
Stephen Haunts: Before we move on to the next bit, you mentioned in your section, you were saying about how Manos is on holidays. You have to do a lot more email support. It’s quite an interesting thing because when you do run your own business, you sometimes do have to take on other jobs which you wouldn’t ordinarily do.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, yeah. I think it’s just the nature of [inaudible 00:02:36] a small business. I don’t mind if it’s just for one week. For example, he took his phone so he can do some bits, but like some of the final management stuff, so like taking stuff from email and putting it into Dropbox, he can’t really do. You’re a bit limited in terms … Also, I want him to enjoy his holiday a little bit. I don’t want him to do as much stuff as he would normally. There’s a bit of that as well. Also, I’d like to think that he’d cover for me when I go on holiday. I’m sure it’ll work the other way around, hopefully.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I’m going on holiday next week. I intend to do absolutely nothing except listen to podcasts and read some books. Although knowing me, they’ll all be work-related books and podcasts anyway.
Kevin Taylor: I don’t think you never rest, do you, when [inaudible 00:03:17] own business.
Stephen Haunts: No. But I’ve been explicitly banned by my wife from taking a laptop.
Kevin Taylor: Oh, fantastic. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: But I am allowed an iPad. The iPad does have a keyboard.
Kevin Taylor: Cheating.
Stephen Haunts: Okay. For audience questions this week, we got a couple of good questions that have been sent in, both from Twitter. The first one is from a guy called Simon. When he sent me this question, he made me smile a bit. I thought, “I’m going to have to include this because it’s a really good question.” He says, “Is the Side Hustle Success Podcast another side hustle?”
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, I guess it is. I mean, to be fair, I’m just doing this because I like doing it. If we made money out of it, that would be great. But that’s not the reason why I’m doing that. I always think that … [inaudible 00:03:59] there’s scientific proof that money isn’t a motivator. I can’t remember where it came from. I’ll have to see if we can find a link to the quote, but quite often, I think people do things because they wanted to have purpose or meaning in what they do. That’s why I’m doing this, because I want to educate people. It’s not about the money. But I mean, if it did make money, that would be great. But I’m not bothered if it doesn’t. I do it just because I enjoy doing it. Is that how you feel about it, Steve? Or …
Stephen Haunts: Yeah, I’ll say so. I mean, when I originally had the idea of doing a podcast, it was when I quit my job, which is just over a year ago, so just past the anniversary of me [crosstalk 00:04:33].
Kevin Taylor: Congratulations.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah, thank you. At the time when I quit and I had this whole sort of big brain full of ideas of things I wanted to do, one of them was a podcast. But in the time, it wasn’t really practical. I always thought to myself, “If I did a podcast, I’d actually want to do it in person with a co-host,” like what we’re doing now. A lot of podcasts do record remotely, which is fine, but I always liked the idea of actually having two people in a room.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, this is quite nice. We do actually sit in one room. We’re not remote. We are in one room together. We do actually meet in person. Which I think’s nice. I think that’s nicer than being remote to a certain extent.
Stephen Haunts: Yes. I mean, at the time. I was working from home at the time. That wasn’t really going to work that well, you know, having someone come to your house and doing it. It just didn’t feel right.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. It feels a bit intrusive, doesn’t it?
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. But then I moved to a co-working space in Cromford in Derbyshire. Absolutely beautiful part of the country, if anyone’s visiting this area.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. It is lovely.
Stephen Haunts: But at the time, I was kind of getting a bit sick of working from home day in, day out, so I thought to myself, “I’ll hire a desk at a co-working space, which means I can just have somewhere to go out to.” So I did that. That’s where I met you, Kevin.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I work at Cromford occasionally, amongst other places. But yeah, it’s one of the places that I do work from.
Stephen Haunts: I actually remember on the first day there, I went to go view the place for an afternoon, because they let you use the place for half a day just to see … For free … see whether it is what you like. I remember you were sitting there. One of the first things I noticed, is you had a copy of The 4-Hour Workweek on the desk, which-
Kevin Taylor: The bible. The good book.
Stephen Haunts: … which got us having a discussion, which is quite good. Over the next, what, four or five months, we just had general chats about working for ourselves, freelancing. It was at point that I kind of think to myself, “Actually, I want to ask Kevin if he wants to do a podcast.”
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I mean, I’ve always been a fan of podcasts. It’s what I tend to listen to when I’m working, is I listen to podcasts. I probably listen to podcasts [inaudible 00:06:29] two hours every day, something like that. Crazy. I’ve always been a massive fan of podcasts, but never actually been on one. So this is really nice, to finally be on the other end of the microphone.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I mean, it must be about, what, four weeks prior to us recording this episode that I mentioned it to you. We had several conversations about it and discussions, and here we are now, which is pretty cool.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. We set up some Google Docs and Slack to manage the process. It’s going well, I think.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. It’s very exciting. Going back to the question about is it another side hustle. I mean, at the moment, we’ve only just launched. Are we making money out of the podcast? No. I mean, as you rightly said, we’re doing it because it’s fun.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s just something that’s nice to do. It’d be nice if it did make money, but if it doesn’t, if it never makes any money, I’m not [crosstalk 00:07:15].
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. In the future, maybe if we get big enough, to a certain size, we might eventually take sponsors who can help sort of fund doing some of the show. I mean, if that happens, that’d be absolutely fantastic. But I’m not expecting that to happen anytime soon. But I mean, from my own personal selfish points of view, one of the reasons why I’m doing it, besides it being fun, is I create courses for Pluralsight. I write books. I blog. I do videos on YouTube. This is kind of another outlet, an avenue in which I can let people know about I’m doing.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. It sounds like it’s an extension of the things that you already enjoy doing, isn’t it, which is nice.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. Is it a side hustle? Yes. Are we expecting it to make any money in the short-term? No. But there’s extra value that you get out of doing these things. It’s interesting. We get to discuss lots of topics.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I mean, the other thing that we’re hoping to do eventually, is talk to some of our heroes, I suppose, interview people. I hope we do that at some point in the future. I think that would be really nice, to people we look up to, if we could get those sort of people on this show, that would be great.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. We do have a nice big, long list that we’re putting together of people that we want to interview. I’m hoping that we’ll get to start on some of that soon. I mean, some of it will people that are local to the area where we are now, and some of those interviews will be remote. I’ve got some people in Australia which I’m quite keen to interview.
Kevin Taylor: The other thing that I think might be quite useful is it’s almost like public accountability. It’s like another mastermind meeting. We can talk about business and then that might help us to work through our problems and progress what we’re doing as well.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. That kind of sums it up. It’s a little bit of the history of why we’re sitting here chatting. If it makes money in the future, that’d be awesome. But if it doesn’t, I’m not going to be too bothered. It’s not the main part of my business. But it is fun. Gives us some interesting topics to talk about. Yeah. That was a good question. When I first saw that, it just put a smile on my face because [crosstalk 00:09:11] is the Side Hustle Success Podcast a side hustle? I thought that was genius.
Kevin Taylor: I think the answer’s yes.
Stephen Haunts: Yes. Next question we’ve got is from Sarah, also from Twitter. Soon as I saw this question, it kind of made me think, “Actually, yeah, this is something you have to be really, really careful of.”” The question is, “Can your employer lay claim to your side hustle?”
Kevin Taylor: It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
Stephen Haunts: I’ve got a little bit of experience. I’ve never been caught out by it, but I mean, certainly in some companies that I’ve worked it, when you initially look at your employment contract. I mean, I’m talking from a UK standpoint here, so I’m not quite sure how contract works in the U.S. or other parts of Europe or indeed any other country in the world. But I have seen clauses in the contracts that state that if you do work on anything on your own time, then the company can claim to own it.
Kevin Taylor: Claim to own. Yeah. I’ve heard a few horror stories. I mean, it’s a tricky one because I used to work for Derby City Council, but I don’t think they’re going to claim what I’m doing now. Well, not that I ever did it during work’s time or used work’s equipment or anything like that. But there’s no motivation. It depends, is there motivation for the employer to actually lay claim? I mean, say, for example, you had a side hustle became a very successful project, you wouldn’t want that risk, would you, that a previous employer could lay claim to your business. I mean, what’s your experiences of this been, Steve?
Stephen Haunts: Well, I mean, I’ve worked for some very large multinationals, you know, companies that are 200,000 employees plus. There’s been several variations on the contracts that I’ve seen before, which you kind of have to argue to get removed if you can when you’re negotiating your contract.
Kevin Taylor: [crosstalk 00:10:48] contract. Yeah. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: One of them I saw, which was literally anything you work on in your own time, the company’s going to say they own …
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. It seems crazy, doesn’t it? Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: … which is a blank. Yeah. I completely disagree with that. Some other companies I work for …
Kevin Taylor: You would’ve thought would’ve been against [inaudible 00:11:07] European law or something, wouldn’t you?
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. It feels dodgy.
Kevin Taylor: It’s like own you when you don’t work for them, almost. It seems wrong, doesn’t it?
Stephen Haunts: There’s another instance I’ve seen where you can’t work on any products which is to compete with the company you’re working for.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, I kind of get that. I get that. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: Which I can understand. They don’t want you to compete with them. Personally, I think that’s fair enough. I think that’s …
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, I think that’s fair. I mean, if you’re doing something that’s completely different, I don’t … I mean, could you negotiate … For example, you decide to start a side project … could you negotiate an exemption in your contract, or could you get permission? There must be …
Stephen Haunts: I don’t see why not. I mean, I guess every company’s going to be different. I mean, the thing I’m trying to say here is, always check your employment contract to see if there’s anything in there that’s going to come back and bit you later on.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: The other thing as well, which you should be very, very careful of, is if you’re working on a side hustle, say it’s a software product or a software service, the biggest bit of advice I can give you is, never use a company laptop to work on it. Don’t use their electricity. Don’t do it on company time. Don’t use their network. Don’t use anything that belongs to your employer. If you’re going to work on anything yourself, make sure you do it at home or coffee shops or wherever you want to work. Just anywhere apart from your place of work-
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, not at work. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: … using your own kits, your own software licenses. I mean, that’s a very easy one to fall into a trap of. If you’re a software developer, for example, and you have a license for Visual Studio Enterprise, which is a popular Microsoft development tool, it’s a very expensive product if you got the full thing. It can be very tempting just to, “Well, I’ll just use that to work on my own thing.” Personally, I wouldn’t do that. This reminds me of a … There’s a TV show called Silicon Valley. I don’t know if you’ve seen it.
Kevin Taylor: I’ve not seen it. No. It’s on my to-do list of things to watch.
Stephen Haunts: It’s very, very funny. It’s about a group of guys who work with an incubator in San Francisco. They’re building a software product called Pied Piper. This program, it’s so, so funny. It’s written by the people who wrote Beavis and Butt-Head, I think it is. It’s all modeled on the Silicon Valley startups, entrepreneur thing. It’s like the big, evil corporation which is called Hooli, but I think they’ve modeled it on a cross between Apple and Google. It’s a kind of big corporation that’s, you know.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, a big conglomerate. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: One of their products, for example, was a HooliPad and a HooliPad Pro.
Kevin Taylor: Oh, yeah. [inaudible 00:13:32] Apple. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: The main entrepreneur who starts up Pied Piper in this show used to work for Hooli. There’s one particular episode, or it’s a bit over a couple of episodes. … I forget which season it’s in … where Hooli tries to say that they own Pied Piper because they’ve got some evidence that some work was done on a company machine on the company network. [inaudible 00:13:54] span over a few episodes, where it’s basically them going to court trying to defend what they’ve done.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. To be honest, I think this probably more applies to software products in particular than perhaps other industries or other products or services. That’s my impression.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I mean, it could be something other than software. I mean, if you’re working for, I don’t know, a publishing house and then you go and write a book in your own time, could they say, “Well, you’ve written the book while working for us. We have the rights to publish the book.” As an example. I don’t know. But I think the key thing, just to circle back and answer Sarah’s question, is when you’re starting at a company or if you’re already working at a company, check your employment contract just to make sure there’s nothing in there that’s going to come back and bite you later on.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I think it’s important perhaps to negotiate clauses in the contract that favor your position.
Stephen Haunts: If you’re already working for a company and you suddenly have an idea for a side hustle, I think it’s worth having a chat with your HR people there, not necessarily telling them what the idea is, but you’re saying you got this product that you’re working on. It doesn’t compete with your company. Can you have a written endorsement to say that …
Kevin Taylor: I think, yeah, perhaps you could have an exemption or try and negotiate with them. I mean, it’s tricky … Say, for example, they say no. What do you do then? Is it worth looking at another job, potentially? Are you in a position where you have the power to negotiate with them? Or …
Stephen Haunts: If it was me … Obviously, I can’t speak for what everyone else would want to do … but if it was me and I was in that situation and I really believed in the idea that I had, I probably would leave and find another job.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. It’s something you might have to consider as a worst-case scenario [crosstalk 00:15:31].
Stephen Haunts: That was a great question. I like that one.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, no, it’s a good one. [crosstalk 00:15:34].
Stephen Haunts: It’s something that everyone should be very, very careful of.
Kevin Taylor: For sure, yeah.
Stephen Haunts: Okay. For today’s topic, I want to talk about when you’re working for yourself, you’ve finally taken that plunge to quit your job, should you work from home or should you rent an office, or should you go backpacking around Thailand with your laptop? Where’s a good place to work, and what are the different options and scenarios around there? I thought what’d be cool first, I mean, we’ll start with you, Kevin.
Kevin Taylor: Okay. Yeah. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: How do you run your business? How do you do it? Where do you work?
Kevin Taylor: I’ve invented a new term called local digital nomad. Because I like the idea of being location independent, but I’m not really into traveling that much to other countries and et cetera. I like to work from different places. I can work from coffee shops or co-working spaces, or a variety of different co-working spaces that I work from. But what [inaudible 00:16:27] I tend to find, at least temporarily, one location where I’m most productive. At the moment, I work from a place called Haarlem Artspace in Wirksworth which is aimed more at artists. It’s like a community of artists, rather bizarrely. I’ve kind of managed to whittle my way into their organization, even though I’m not an artist, which is a bit bizarre. I don’t really fit in. But it’s just such a nice … Because it’s set up for artists, artist studios tend to be very light, you know, big windows, white walls. They’re very good at lighting. It’s nice and bright and airy. It’s actually a really good working environment. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to an art studio.
Stephen Haunts: No, I haven’t, but it sounds intriguing.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, no, it is. I’ll have to take you around sometime. It’s a nice building. Because it’s aimed at artists, it’s very cost-effective as well. That’s mostly where I work from. The other thing is, I like to always [inaudible 00:17:23] spend a lot of money … And probably people will probably disagree with this … but I always like to go to a nice café for lunch. Sometimes, I’ll take my laptop with me or my Kindle or whatever, you know, perhaps do a bit of work or read a book. I always enjoy doing that. It costs an absolute fortune. I spend a couple of grand a year on cafés, but in my opinion, I think it’s worth it.
Kevin Taylor: The other place I work from, is I work from a place in Nottingham University at Jubilee Campus. It’s called the Ingenuity Centre. That’s a nice working environment. The only problem is the traffic can be a little bit bad. I like working in Wirksworth or Cromford, where we are at the moment, because they have more rural settings, so it’s an easier commute. It’s less stressful because there’s not as much traffic. So a bit of a mixture, really. But I tend to find I work wherever I’m most productive, and at the moment, that tends to be Haarlem.
Kevin Taylor: Prior to working from co-working spaces, I did work from home. But prior to that, I did actually rent an office for five years, like in my own office. But I tended to find that I’m a bit of an extrovert, so I didn’t really enjoy being on my own in an office. I did it for five years. Towards the end, I got a bit fed up with it. It was really productive because I can sit and crank and get work done, but I did find it quite lonely and kind of a bit boring, really.
Stephen Haunts: That’s interesting, that you say you’re an extrovert, because I very much class myself as an introvert.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. That’s more common, perhaps, in developer backgrounds, isn’t it?
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I mean, where we’re recording now, it is my office that I rent. I love coming in here and sitting by myself.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. It depends on your personality. I like to be in co-working spaces and start talking to the artists or I’ll go to Ingenuity and talk to entrepreneurs or if I work from Cromford, I talk to the other … tend to be freelancers, mostly, which is nice. It’s a good mixture, but I like to get out and talk to people and stuff, get new ideas and work things through. I enjoy that kind of interaction. So I don’t think I’d really want to be on my own. I like to be on my own a day a week. Occasionally, I will work from home. But I’ve got children at home so it’s a little bit noisy, so I like to go other places and get into work mode and be more productive and less stressed. I think it’s a matter of finding somewhere where you’re the least stressed and you can be the most productive. I don’t know what you think, Steve. Is that your experience of different work environments?
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I mean, I like to work in lots of different places. I guess we talked about Haarlem and then the place at Nottingham Uni. I mean, I guess there’s costs involved in using those places.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the Haarlem one’s, it’s really cheap. It’s like £40 a month.
Stephen Haunts: Wow. Really?
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. What’s that, $60 or something like that, isn’t it? The Ingenuity Centre’s a bit more. It’s about £120 a month. It’s not crazy money. I think actually here at Cromford, I think it works [inaudible 00:20:12] about £10 a day, because I pay by the day when I come to Cromford.
Stephen Haunts: You’re renting a fixed desk there, [inaudible 00:20:18]?
Kevin Taylor: I just come in and just rent whatever desk they have. I don’t have a fixed desk. It’s just [crosstalk 00:20:22].
Stephen Haunts: Oh, so it’s hot-desking.
Kevin Taylor: The other thing is, I’m always … I just bring everything I need in a laptop … Sorry in a backpack, sorry. I just have a backpack with my laptop in it and all the kit that I need for that day, and then I just take it home with me at the end of the day. I don’t leave anything in the office. That’s why I call myself a local digital nomad. I can be nomadic with the equipment that I have.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I mean, I’m fairly similar. I quit my job a year ago and started working from home. But my wife, she also works from home. She’s been working from home for probably about 14, 15 years now. Because her company, she did have an office in Nottingham, but her company closed her home office down, so her closest offices are now Birmingham and Bridgend in Wales. She has to go to Wales quite often because that’s where the rest of her team is. She managed to arrange it so she works from home. That means that the shared office we had upstairs, which we both have a desk in, she’s in during the day. So I figured, as much as I love my wife and all that, I don’t want to work in the same room together, like the same day in, day out, and then kind of have to live together afterwards.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. That is important, yeah.
Stephen Haunts: That’d be fine for a couple of weeks.
Kevin Taylor: I think you need that separation. I mean, my wife, she’s quite an introvert. If I’m there all the time, it kind of bugs her. She really doesn’t like it. I think it’s healthy to the relationship to be … I know some people do actually work together with their husband/partner/significant other, they work with them all the time. Personally, I think it would be … I want that separation. If you’re with somebody all the time, you kind of take them for … I’m trying to think how … There’s a book called … What’s it called … Mating in Captivity. Have you ever read it?
Stephen Haunts: No. [crosstalk 00:22:10].
Kevin Taylor: By Esther somebody. I can’t remember. I’ll have to put a link in the show notes. It’s sort of like saying that if you’re with somebody all the time, [inaudible 00:22:17] each other. I think you need that separation for some relationships to work. I don’t think if I was there all the time at home, I don’t think [crosstalk 00:22:23].
Stephen Haunts: It’s like that term, isn’t it, living in each other’s pocket. Is that the term?
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. It’s a bit much. That’s why I like to work not from home, although I don’t mind it [inaudible 00:22:35] one day a week’s okay, but any more than that, I think [crosstalk 00:22:37].
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. What I did temporarily, is I kind of rearranged the dining room downstairs. I pushed the dining table back towards the wall, which is … Actually, I really liked it because we’ve got double doors opens into the lounge. Had lots of light flowing through. I had a big, nice window looking into the garden. That was really nice. My wife was happy with me doing that because then I wasn’t disturbing her and she wasn’t disturbing me. That worked really well. It was a really, really nice setup. But the thing I found, is that after about six, seven months of doing this, you kind of struggle with that sort of boundary between home life and work life. Even though I’ve got complete flexibility to just have an afternoon off if I want to, I’m not wired that way. I kind of feel like I have to keep working. If my stuff’s all there for work, I kind of keep on chipping away at things even when I should be just having some downtime.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I think you need that rest time, don’t you? That peaceful time when you’re not working. I’m terrible at that. But yeah, I know what you mean. It’s odd because we all want to escape from the 9:00 to 5:00, but then we all kind of gravitate back towards it to a certain extent.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. This is exactly it. Whilst I don’t want to work for anyone else again, I do kind of like the routine of getting up, you know, having a shower, getting dressed, and going out to work. Earlier this year, I started looking around for some co-working spaces. It was a mutual friend of ours, Dan, who I met at a user group that I run. He mentioned Cromford, Cromford Mills. I phoned them up the next day. They said they had a co-working space.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I think I actually mentioned it to Dan. Originally, it was me who mentioned Cromford to Dan, I’m guessing. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: It’s a small world.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: I came along. I went through the costs with them. I decided to take a fixed desk, which means I could have my own monitor and stuff all set up how I like it, but it was my desk. But it was in like a … I think those rooms have, what, six people in them potentially.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. There’s six spaces. I think we’ve got another behind as well that’s got another six spaces in it. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:24:38].
Stephen Haunts: I did that for about three or four months, I think. It was really good. They put me on a waiting list for a private office because I’ve always liked the idea of having my own office potentially that I could go to. I was really happy working in the co-working space. You kind of had the officer banter with the people that were there, but none of the politics.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I found that the good thing about co-working spaces is you get to interact with other people, but then you’re not competing with them. It’s not like you’re both going for the same job or the same promotion. [inaudible 00:25:09] politics, is there, that you get.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. Absolutely.
Kevin Taylor: People are just nice.
Stephen Haunts: In the room, I mean, there was you [inaudible 00:25:15] Steel Beam Calculator. There was another guy who’s a digital marketing consultant.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Robin. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: There was another girl who works for a publishing company, I believe it is.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:25:24]. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: There’s lots of people doing different things, but you still had that kind of office banter, which is really good because that’s kind of the bit from working in an office I missed.
Kevin Taylor: That’s one of the problems when you work for yourself, is the loneliness. I find it’s actually quite hard. I think people don’t ever mention that, like starting your own thing is really lonely, or it can be, especially with somebody like me who is kind of semi-extroverted. [inaudible 00:25:43] ambivert, somewhere probably between the two. But I think I do need that interaction with other human beings.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I consider myself to be an introvert. Just to clarify the difference between the two, because I actually had someone mention this to me at a conference once that I was speaking at. I happen to mention to them that I’m an introvert and they were like, “How can you be an introvert? You’re standing on a stage talking to 500 people.”
Kevin Taylor: I’ve heard this. Yeah. I know this is quite common. I’m an extrovert, but not a very good one.
Stephen Haunts: You can be an introvert and be shy, but you can be an introvert and not be shy. The difference between the two is if you’re an introvert, that means that if you need to recharge your own mental energy, you do that by being alone, sitting in a quiet room.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, I’ve heard this. It’s more where you get your energy from. I get my energy by being with other people, whereas introverts, it drains them, and vice versa. I think that’s the definition. Have you ever done one of those Myers–Briggs personality tests thingies?
Stephen Haunts: Yes, years ago. I can’t remember which one that is. Is that a personality type one?
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, like an ENFJ or an ENTP or an INTJ or whatever.
Stephen Haunts: I have done, but I cannot remember [crosstalk 00:26:44] results were.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. Mine keeps changing, but I am on the extrovert spectrum. That’s just me. But I’ve seen other people are different, so it all varies.
Stephen Haunts: I mean, I said to this guy who mentioned to me at a conference, “I’m introverted. I like to be by myself to recharge, but I can quite happily stand on stage and address a room of 500 people.”
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Although I’m an extrovert, I’ve never done any public speaking.
Stephen Haunts: As soon as I finished our talk and I’ve done the hallway track where you just chat to people afterwards, I go straight back to the hotel for an hour-
Kevin Taylor: You really need to recharge, do you? Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: … and just like I read a book for an hour.
Kevin Taylor: You find it draining then, personally.
Stephen Haunts: For me, I mean … I’m trying to remember where I was. I was talking about the co-working space. I rented a desk there, and then an option came up for an office, which is the one we’re sitting in here. I kind of jumped at the chance because a lot of what I do is recording video, recording screencasts, doing webinars, lots of stuff that’s noisy.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, so you need your own noise-free space [crosstalk 00:27:42].
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. It was getting very hard to do this at home, because if I was doing a webcast … I’ve done several webcasts for Pluralsight, for example. A lot of the time it’s an American or an Asia-Pacific audience, which means they’re doing the webcast at like 9:00 or 10:00 AM their time, so it’s going to be quite late in the afternoon. To do that at home when the kids are there, I was having to kind of go upstairs into the office, and my wife’s having to try and keep the kids really quiet.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. It’s probably a bit unfair on your family, isn’t it, to expect them to do that.
Stephen Haunts: Oh, absolutely. Now, I can just do all that from this room. But all the people at the co-working space and all the staff at Cromford are really great. I’m really enjoying that [inaudible 00:28:21]. That’s kind of where I am now. I’ve gone from working from home, finding that I kind of missed the routine of going out to work, which I still do.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. Strange, isn’t it? Strange, isn’t it? Because that’s what we’re trying to get away from [crosstalk 00:28:34].
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. Generally, I work four days a week in this office. I tend to do one day a week at home, generally on a Wednesday.
Kevin Taylor: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So you have a routine, then.
Stephen Haunts: But also, you talked about the local digital nomad. I love doing that as well. Like this morning before came into the office, I actually spent a couple of hours in Costa Coffee in the local town where I work. I didn’t need to come in particularly early here, so I’ve just had a few things get done, so I just did it in the coffee shop, which is nice. I do that all the time, I go to different coffee shops.
Kevin Taylor: I tend to find if this is how you are, but I tend to find that if you work in different environments … Say if you want to work on, say, coming up with a new idea, I might go to a coffee shop just to give me that kind of creative edge or that different kind of environment to chill out a little bit and perhaps think differently. Sometimes you need that, don’t you?
Stephen Haunts: Absolutely. I love the whole idea of digital nomad. [inaudible 00:29:28] talk about in the next episode in more detail.
Kevin Taylor: Oh, definitely. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: But I mean, I do travel a lot to conferences. This year so far, I’ve been to Norway twice, Poland, Belgium. Where else have I been? I’ve been to the U.S. once this year.
Kevin Taylor: Wow. I’m quite envious. Not been anywhere. Been to Norwich.
Stephen Haunts: I think there’s a few more, but I can’t remember. But I mean, whenever I go to these places, I always spend a bit of extra time there. I like the airport experience. I’m really sad.
Kevin Taylor: No, and I do. Yeah. It’s nice. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: Or to clarify, I like the airport experience when I haven’t got the kids with me.
Kevin Taylor: When you’re on your own, yeah.
Stephen Haunts: Because then it becomes really stressful.
Kevin Taylor: Actually, [crosstalk 00:30:03] probably great. Yeah. You can just sit and enjoy the relaxation, can’t you, and go somewhere quiet [crosstalk 00:30:10].
Stephen Haunts: But literally, I mean, all I need for my job is a laptop. So what I tend to do, is if I’m working on course for Pluralsight, is I’ll do a massive batch of recording the week before I go away. And then while I’m away, I’ll do all the video editing because it’s something that I can just work on from literally anywhere. I don’t need to think too much, it’s just work I can get on with.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. Certain aspects of my consultancy work, so if I’m doing CAD work and you can just sit and relax. So I can just go to coffee shops, spend a couple of hours and just do a bit of CAD work. And then I listen to podcasts when I’m doing CAD work because it’s not that mentally draining work. It’s not having to really think about something, you know? Yeah. It’s always nice doing it somewhere else, you know?
Stephen Haunts: It’s quite interesting, actually, that you talk about listening to podcasts. I actually had this debate with my wife not so long ago because I’ve been trying to get fit, a bit fitter because …
Kevin Taylor: Oh, God. Yeah. Yeah. Me too. Me too. I’ll tell you a story about that in a minute, but yeah.
Stephen Haunts: It’s very easy to put weight on when you’re working by yourself, so I like to go out walking. I live in a small town in Derbyshire called Belper.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I used to live there, so I know it.
Stephen Haunts: It’s very, very hilly, which is great. From my house, I’ve got several walking routes that I’ll do around Belper. One is like a mile. I’ve got one that’s two miles. I’ve got a five-mile and I’ve got a seven-mile route which I’ll do.
Kevin Taylor: Wow. Seven miles.
Stephen Haunts: Especially recently, we’ve been having all this really nice weather. In the evening, while my wife’s watching her programs on TV, I’ll just put my headphones on and go for a nice little walk. But when I do that walk, I’m listening to podcasts. I was kind of joking around with my wife, because I consider that walk … If I’ve got podcasts on, I consider that work.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, no, fair enough. It is. Yeah. I think it is. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: Whereas my wife’s like, “No, no, you’re just out listening to music or podcasts. That’s not work.” I say, “Well, actually, it is.”
Kevin Taylor: It probably is because it’s probably material for our podcast, isn’t it, and et cetera.
Stephen Haunts: Well, yeah, you’re kind of getting inspired. I mean, I listen to all sorts of podcasts. I’ve got some very technical software development ones I listen to. There’s some business-y ones I listen to. There’s some that are very Apple news focused because I’m into my Apple equipment.
Kevin Taylor: I think sometimes, because I do a mastermind group, and quite often I come up with ideas from things that I’ve heard in podcasts [inaudible 00:32:03] realize. It goes in there subconsciously and then it just flows out of you. It’s really useful information that you can feed into what you’re doing.
Stephen Haunts: Cool. I think to summarize up what we’ve been saying then, is that when you’re running a lifestyle business … I still like that term, lifestyle business, that you mentioned the other week.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. Me too.
Stephen Haunts: But when you’re doing that, I think variety is very, very good. Not just working from home all the time, not just working from an office all the time, but you know, mixing it up a bit. Work from home sometimes, using a co-working space, using coffee shops or anywhere like that. I think that kind of keeps it interesting.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I think because we have the option to do that, it’s why not do it, you know? It’s a great thing.
Stephen Haunts: I think there must be some kind of science behind this. But I think I’ve read somewhere that getting up, you know, getting into a routine, you know, get up have a shower, having breakfast, and going out the house, it kind of sets you up for the day. It kind of sets you up for success. I’m trying to remember where … I think it might’ve been Tim Ferriss, actually. It might have been on some video he done on YouTube saying that even just getting up but making your bed immediately …
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, I have a routine.
Stephen Haunts: … you’re completing a task straight away. It kind of sets you up for the rest of day. I kind of feel like that by coming to work, you sort of get up, you’ve got your definite routine of going out.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I have a different routine, definitely, I mean, even to the point now where I have the same breakfast every day and the same lunch. And then I’ll have something different for my evening meal. That’s kind of extreme. At least I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat. I just eat the same things every day. Yeah. I think it’s good to have a routine. I think otherwise you kind of get lost a bit, don’t you?
Stephen Haunts: There was a few days. It didn’t happen that often. But if … Say my wife is away working from one of the sites she has to go to, I’ll drop the kids off at school in the morning. I’d go back and sit on the sofa with a laptop and then before you know it, you’ve watched two episodes of Homes Under the Hammer and not really achieved anything.
Kevin Taylor: Just watch daytime telly. You’ve got to be careful, I think. I think that’s why it’s good to go somewhere else, to give you more discipline, I think.
Stephen Haunts: Cool. Okay. In this section of the show, this is where we both recommend something to our listeners. It could be a documentary, a book, a piece of fiction, anything that kind of helps inspire you personally.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Sure.
Stephen Haunts: It may not even be necessarily related to businesses. It could just be something interesting that you think our listeners would like. Do you want to go first?
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, yeah. I mean, obviously this is probably going to follow on to the next podcast that we’re going to do, but there’s a book … I think we mentioned it previously … The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. That’ll follow on nicely to what we’re going to talk about in the next podcast. But I think it’s been a really instrumental book in my career in terms of thinking about making a business work for you. Sometimes, we end up doing all the work the business, and we kind of lose track of why we’re doing the business. I think it’s all about doing more with less. I don’t want to mention too much because I think we’re going to mention it in the next podcast, but I think what I’d recommend, is that everybody should read this book, especially if you want to own an online business. I think it’s just critical reading.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I’ve read the Kindle version once. I’ve also got the audiobook version as well, which I listen to.
Kevin Taylor: I’ve got the audio, but I’ve bought the paper copy many, many times because I tend to give it away as a gift to people, or I’ll just leave it somewhere just so somebody finds it and reads it. I like to do that, leave books places. I took it to the Ingenuity Centre and the receptionist borrowed it and read it. I used to work at another co-working space in Derby, and the receptionist took it [inaudible 00:35:39]. It’s fine. Also, I’ve got on Kindle as well. I’ve read it about three or four times now [crosstalk 00:35:46].
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I’ve talked about this book with several people. It seems to be quite a polarizing book, kind of the opinions you get back. Some people are kind of very much into it and think, “The concepts that Tim’s talking about are brilliant,” where some people think, “It’s just complete poppycock.”
Kevin Taylor: The first time that I read it, it didn’t really sink in I thought it was just kind of a bit scammy. But then I think having read it the second time and thought about it in the way the world went after the book was written, it made more sense reading it now than it … Even though it’s like 10 years old and a lot of it’s probably out of date in terms of the technology and et cetera, but I think it’s such an interesting book, or an interesting concept, is that we don’t lose sight of why we’re doing businesses and what an ideal business should be.
Stephen Haunts: Great. I mean, as we’ve said, the subject of our next podcast is going to be, how feasible is The 4-Hour Workweek? We won’t go into too much detail now. We’ll save that for our next show. But if you want to read the book before we do that show, you know, here’s your two-week notice. If you want to follow along with what we’re discussing in the next episode, then I do highly recommend reading the book.
Stephen Haunts: Okay. My recommendation is another documentary. I watch a lot of documentaries. This one, it’s called Minimalism. You can watch it on Netflix if you’re a subscriber. But I think it’s available on Google Play and iTunes and a lot of the other usual suspects. It’s a documentary about decluttering your life and becoming more minimal. It’s by two guys called Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They also have a podcast as well called Minimalists. It’s really interesting because it’s something that I’ve actually been trying to do subconsciously for a while now, which is decluttering just all of the crap that you accumulate through life, you know, things that you don’t really need.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I’ve been trying to do this gradually. I said to Linda that we want to lose 50% of what we own in a year. It’s not going to happen. We’ve got a little boy called Hector. It’s hard with children to … I know there’s extreme examples where somebody just owns 15 belongings. I think it’s possible, but it’s difficult. Yeah. I want to be more … I think you pay all this money for all this stuff that you don’t need, and then you’ve got to manage it and look after it and insure it and put it somewhere. It’s like, for example, we had a spare bedroom just full of clutter. I thought, “We’re paying a mortgage on this house for this bedroom that we’re never going to use.” Because we’re expecting another child, we’re clearing out the spare room and it’s going to be a nursery.
Kevin Taylor: But it’s like you do this, sort of crazy when you think about it, that you have all of this stuff that you don’t use. If you haven’t used it for six months, you’ll probably never use it. Just get rid of it. If you need it, just buy it again. It frees up your life, doesn’t it? I do get that.
Stephen Haunts: Yeah. I mean, we went through a big decluttering exercise a little while ago. We hired a skip. We just got rid of loads of stuff that we didn’t need that was broken and kids’ toys. We took a load of stuff to charity shops.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. We’ve done that.
Stephen Haunts: We gave stuff to the local nursery. Once we’d done that, the house looked spotless. The garage, you could actually walk into the garage, which was …
Kevin Taylor: There was actually a garage.
Stephen Haunts: … which is the first time in years that we’ve been able to do that. It felt really, really good. But I mean, I’ve found over the months after that kids don’t do minimalism. They accumulate clutter.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. It’s difficult, isn’t it?
Stephen Haunts: So I’ve kind of had to shift my focus on it a bit, whereas I’m trying to be more minimal with the stuff that I own.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I do get that. Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: I watched this documentary because I hadn’t heard of this documentary at the time when I did this. I watched the documentary recently. It was kind of like a lightbulb went off [inaudible 00:39:15], “Oh, actually, this is a thing.”
Stephen Haunts: I’ve recently taken a look at myself. I moved into this office a couple of months ago, so all the stuff I need for running my business I’ve kind of got here. Years ago, I made a decision that I don’t want to own any kind of … or too many books anymore, so I started switching things over to the Kindle.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, I’m a big Kindle user. Yeah. I’m trying to go more digital. Also, with my consultancy stuff, I’m going paperless as well now, or at least 95% or 99% paperless, which is a lot easier to managing it.
Stephen Haunts: I did a little exercise the other week where I was kind of looking around the house. I was thinking, “What have I got left in the house?” I’ve moved all the stuff I need for work into my office. “What have I got left in the house that’s actually specifically mine and just not to do with the kids or stuff that me and my wife maybe bought together?” The answer was, not a lot. I thought, “Do you know what? That actually feels quite good.” My wife did joke, she goes, “Have you moved out?”
Kevin Taylor: There’s no trace that it’s your house.
Stephen Haunts: I thought I’m ever in the doghouse and I have to sleep on the sofa or I get kicked out the front door, at least I haven’t got much to take with me. But in all seriousness, I thought it was a really interesting documentary. Apparently as you get older, it’s very easy to start getting more anxious about clutter and possessions and money and things like that. I kind of started feeling a bit like that. But since I’ve decluttered my life a bit-
Kevin Taylor: You feel better.
Stephen Haunts: … I actually feel a lot better. I mean, I’ve probably got more stuff in the office now than what I really want, looking at the big Lego models I’ve got hanging up. But what they were saying in the documentary isn’t just about getting rid of things, it’s about the things that you own should bring you joy and have purpose. There are two questions you need ask about, is this useful? Does it have a purpose? Am I getting enjoyment out of it? If you can’t answer yes to either of those, it’s like, well, do you really need it?
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Yes. It is. I know what you mean. I’m in that boat at the moment trying to declutter. But it’s hard because a lot of the things in the house aren’t my stuff, they’re either Linda’s or Hector’s stuff, so it’s not all mine. It’s hard to do when it’s … I think it’s trying to instill that kind of discipline in the house, isn’t it, that you don’t always need all of this stuff, you know?
Stephen Haunts: Cool. That’s our recommendations for this week, so the documentary, Minimalism, which is available on Netflix, iTunes, and Google Play, and the book, 4-Hour Workweek. As we said, we’re going to be talking more about The 4-Hour Workweek in our next episode. So if you want to get a bit more background information to follow along with the things we’re talking about, I highly recommend [inaudible 00:41:53] that book. I think with that, I think that’s it for this episode.
Kevin Taylor: Okay. Good bye from me.
Stephen Haunts: Before we go, quickly, our next episode will be out in a couple of weeks.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah.
Stephen Haunts: If you’re subscribing to us on iTunes, if you could click Like and leave a comment, that would be really handy. Constructive feedback is always helpful.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. We do accept five-star reviews as well. So if you’d like to do that, it would be much appreciated.
Stephen Haunts: Absolutely. That gets a big thumbs-up from us. I’m also doing video versions of the podcast, which I’m putting on YouTube as well. If you just want a direct link to the podcast and don’t necessarily want to use a podcast app, [inaudible 00:42:30] be able to listen to it on YouTube as well. With that, we’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.
Kevin Taylor: Okay. See you then, guys.
Stephen Haunts: See you. Bye.